Final gathering before changing of the guard at the Korean War Memorial

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Korean war veterans will gather at the national war memorial near Bathgate this weekend to honour their comrades in arms who died during the 1950’s conflict.

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Having been the driving force behind the creation of the memorial – an arboretum in the Bathgate Hills – the Scottish Korean Veterans Club, with falling numbers , has decided to disband.

A final service of rededication will take place on Saturday morning at 11am, when the ownership of the memorial will be formally handed over to the trustees.

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A previous service at the Scottish Korean War MemorialA previous service at the Scottish Korean War Memorial
A previous service at the Scottish Korean War Memorial

The service will also include representatives of the Korean community and Korean congregations who have supported the rededication services in the Bathgate Hills for many years and annually offer their thanks to those veterans who came to their country over 70 years ago.

Local cadets will also be in attendance as well as the trustees led by Korean veteran, Major Allan Cameron. The service is being arranged by local Korean War veteran Adam Mackenzie. Members of the public are also invited to pay their respects at the unique memorial.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Black Watch and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers fought with United Nations troops and the US forces against communists and Chinese troops on the Korean peninsula between 1950 and 1953. The war was fought to stalemate and an armistice divides the peninsula along the 38th Parallel to this day.

Major Allan Cameron with Councillor Charles KennedyMajor Allan Cameron with Councillor Charles Kennedy
Major Allan Cameron with Councillor Charles Kennedy

The memorial was created at Witchcraig Wood in the Bathgate Hills by the Lothians and West of Scotland branch of the British Korean Veterans Association in 1994, supported by the then Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell, himself a Korean War veteran, having served as a trooper in the Royal Scots.

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The arboretum consists of 1,100 native Scottish trees each representing a Scot killed in the conflict. In addition the South Korean government provided seeds of 100 Korean firs which were grown in the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh before being planted at Witchcraig. Each Korean fir represents ten Scots soldiers killed.

There are two mounds in the Yin and Yang symbolic shape from the Korean flag and a Korean style shrine which holds boards bearing the names of the fallen.

Trustees include local councillors Labour’s Tom Conn and Conservative Charles Kennedy. Others are members of the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

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