A remarkable story of a prodigal medals return.
21003298 Cpl Thomas William PRICE 1st Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Killed in action at Hill 317 battle of Maryang San, Korea, 4th November 1951.
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21003298 Cpl Thomas William PRICE Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Killed in Action 4th November 1951 Korea.
Thomas William PRICE was born 26th March 1926, Oswestry, Shropshire, England. Son of George Henry PRICE and Florence PRICE (nee Gledhill ).
George and Florence
One of five brothers Thomas, George, John, Ronald and Cyril. Three sisters Dorothy, Sylvia and Florence.
John – used his middle name Dennis
On the 15th July 1942 at the age of 16, Thomas entered service with the Home Guard and served faithfully until 31st December 1944.
Thomas married Edna FIRTH at Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1944 and in 1945 they had a daughter, their only child, Elaine. They lived at 17 Rock Crescent, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Due to progress the street was renamed Burton Road and the number changed to 154.
After a few years working within the mining industry Thomas took his country’s shilling and in June 1948 enlisted into the regular army as 21003298 Recruit Thomas William PRICE The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). His potential evident at an early stage when he achieved the accolade of best recruit in his intake.
Certificate Of Merit
21003298 Cpl Thomas William PRICE KOSB
Thomas, Dennis and mates
Tommy at unknown camp
In June 1949 Thomas moved to Hong Kong with the 1st Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers as part of the 28th Infantry Brigade prior to being deployed to Korea in April 1951. The unit travelled to Korea on board the troop ship Devonshire.
1st Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers Hong Kong 1949. Thomas is seated front row second from left now a Lance Corporal.
Tommy 2nd from left Tam Mi Camp, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Thomas’ gift to Edna whilst in Hong Kong 1949 1 year before arriving in Korea
Troop ship Devonshire.
Tommy and a pal on the ship.
On parade Korea
Thomas and his pals relaxing in the Korean sun in October 1951.
Tommy and friends at the bottom of an hill in Korea.
Thomas holding his gun, known as the “Bren gun” which is classed as a Light Support Weapon.
On 22nd May 1951 Tommy was wounded in fighting to take Hill 432. He sent home this crude depiction of the battle but it tells a story.
Map by Tommy May ’51 depicting a battle.
The offensive began 21th May 1951. The task allotted to the battalion was to capture point 432, it lay north-east of the village kumgong-ni some 7000 yd’s from the battalion’s present position, B Coy was to capture the village kumgong-ni and secure point 325 which was a long ridge leading to point 432. A Coy was to move with B Coy and secure the west of the village. C Coy was to move as soon as village was cleared, C Coy moved with a squadron of american tank’s. D Coy was in reserve but later they were ordered forward with B Coy.
Tommy and pals dining 17 days before he was killed in action
In April 1951, the 1st KOSB was sent from Hong Kong to join the UN forces in Korea, arriving at Inchon on 23rd April 1951. The Borderers went into action immediately on reaching the front, but almost right away began a withdrawal, along with the whole UN force. The Borderers were part of the Commonwealth Division that adopted a sector on the Imjin River, along the 38th Parallel, and firm defensive positions were immediately established. In Late September, there was a general advance by the UN and on 3rd October, the KOSB fought a battle to gain possession of Hill 355. A new line was set up and was frequently attacked for the remainder of October. On Sunday, November 4, the Chinese Communists launched 6,000 men in an all-out attack on a vital two-hill ridgeline position on the 1st Commonwealth Division’s front. The attack – named by the troops ‘Charlie Chinaman’s Gunpowder Plot’ because it came on the eve of Guy Fawke’s Day- fell furiously on three companies of the 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. The KOSB was holding a 3,000-yard front. The positions ran along ridges roughly shaped like a broad arrow. The whole position was formerly part of the Chinese winter defence line, which a month previously had been stormed and captured during a five-division Allied advance that had included the Commonwealth Division’s successful debut as a self-contained and complete Division. At one point, the line held by the KOSB was only 300 yards from the Chinese. On Sunday November 4th, increased Chinese activity in the area plus increased artillery fire, raised suspicions that the Chinese were about to attempt something. Three air strikes, plus an artillery barrage, were laid on by the Allies against the Chinese-held ridges opposite the KOSB’s line. By noon, when the Chinese began firing airburst rounds, it was clear that an attack was about to be launched, although in what strength the attack would be was uncertain. The Chinese directed air burst shells at positions, including battalion headquarters and supply points, immediately behind the front line to disorganise the support for the KOSB. At about 4pm, the heavy barrage increased in intensity. The Chinese, in one hour, poured six thousand rounds onto the KOSB’s trenches. The Chinese barrage continued even when their own infantry reached the KOSB’s lines and engaged the Borderers. In the failing light, the Chinese gained a stronghold on the hinge of the KOSB’s line, Hundreds of Chinese fell upon two platoons at this hinge in the line, which slogged it out against the Chinese. At 2am, the platoons contacted their battalion and were ordered to withdraw. The remnants fought their way out from the encircling Chinese and brought their wounded comrades with them. Armed jeeps forayed into the Chinese lines looking for any KOSB’s who may have been left behind, and it is believed that very few wounded fell into Chinese hands. During this battle Private Speakman won a VC and the enemy’s attack failed, costing the Chinese more than 1,000 dead, while the borderers had 7 killed, 87 wounded and 44 missing. ‘ BRITAINS SMALL WARS ‘
Tommy was one of the seven killed during this battle.
A letter 8 days after Thomas’ death sent from the Infantry Record Office stating that Thomas’ body can’t be repatriated to England.
A sympathy letter sent by General Ridgeway of the United States Army.
Letter to Edna from Tommy’s Commanding Officer.
2nd page of letter to Edna from Tommy’s Commanding Officer.
Thomas’ cross where he is buried. Located in Pusan, Korea.
Army death report
Army interment report
Tommy’s headstone, Pusan cemetery
Pusan military cemetery
Yorkshire Evening Press article Sept 1953
” In the afternoon the Chinese attacked us, 9000 of them screaming and blowing bugles. There were about 400 of us. They kept on coming up the hill wave after wave of them determined to take the position. Toms section was the first to open fire on them and it was a burst from his sten gun which gave others warning of the attack. The odds were overwhelming but he refused to drop back and after 2 hours of fighting his section was cut off from the battalion ” Cpl GOODAIR KOSB.
An emotive picture. Corporal GOODAIR visits Edna and Elaine.
Pensively looking at a family photo.
Letter from Bill SPEAKMAN V.C.
How Tommy’s medal came home
Tommy’s Queen’s Korea medal was sent to Edna in 1957. This fact was unknown to every other member of the family who had no knowledge of the medal or even its existence. In 2009 I made an enquiry of the MoD medal office as to the entitlement and issue of the medal and was surprised to learn the fact that it had been already issued in 1957. I then commenced a campaign of trying to locate the medal with a view of bringing it back to the family. The most positive avenue of seeking the whereabouts of the medal was the British Medal Forum and it was this forum which eventually put me on the trail of Tommy’s medal. In August 2012, I read an unconnected thread on the British Medal Forum regarding a Korean medal group to a King’s Own Scottish Borderer. Due to the author of this threads contents knowledge of the Borderer’s in Korea, I asked them if they had any research information regarding Tommy. I received a reply from this person to the effect that he had actually seen Tommy’s medal sold at Dee Atkinson and Harrison auctions in March 2012. This prompted me to enter Tommy’s details into the search function of the British Medal Forum in the hope that it was a fellow member that had purchased it. To my surprise and delight, it was but he was located in Australia. I contacted this member and introduced myself and after a short exchange of messages, I’m pleased to say that the then owner of the medal generously agreed let me bring it home. One week later, Tommy’s medal was back with his family. A 55 year journey.
Tommy’s medal group
Elaine reunited with her dads medal after 55 years.
Original medal envelope dated 18th Feb 1957
Medal transmittal slip
Queen Elizabeth Memorial Cross
Q.E.M.C. Memorial Scroll
Korean Veteran Association Award
Korean peace proclamation
Monk Bretton war memorial
Luke paying his respects
Take me out of this place called korea, Take me back where my old folks remain, Take me back to civilization And let me live once again, Now there was a hill 317 Where most of the fighting was done, Twas there that the gallant borderers They fought as second to none, Now the Austrailans they fought like devils And the kislies did well I agree, But give me the lads of the tartan trews The lads of the KOSB, Now all these young lads came from Scotland, The land where the fighting men dwell, And these were the lads that made the chinks run, And they ran like the hammers of hell.
Pte. Bill Dalziel MM army no.22377071 KOSB.
TOMMY IS MY UNCLE – CYRIL MY FATHER – ELAINE MY COUSIN
I would like to dedicate this page to Steve Danaher for making this family reunite possible.