GLOSTER MEMORIAL, KOREA, 1957
(Aka 23179534 Pte Schwartzman,
'D' Company 1st Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment)
Arnold Schwartzman at Gloster Memorial, June 29 2007, the 50th anniversary of its unveiling
As a National Serviceman I served with the 1st. Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment in Minden, Germany and in Korea from August 1956 to 27 July 1957. Our regiment was stationed at Camp Kohima near the village of Solma-ri, just south of the Imjin River and in the shadow of Mount Kamak-san.
As we were the last British regiment to serve in Korea the duty fell upon us to erect a memorial to commemorate the historic stand of the 1st. Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment (the "Glorious Glosters") and C. Troop 170th Light (Mortar) Battery, Royal Artillery from 22nd-25th April, 1951.
Two weeks prior to the scheduled unveiling ceremony I was summoned to report to our Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. R B de F Sleeman OBE MC, who confided in me that the four incised marble memorial tablets would not arrive from Hong Kong in time for the scheduled unveiling ceremony. Acquainted with the fact that I was a graphic designer in civilian life the C.O. asked me if I was capable of producing make-shift plaques that would not be detected as such by the dignitaries attending the ceremony.
I readily agreed and requested that I be provided with smooth-surfaced material in order to paint the various emblems and inscriptions. I first painted a test on plywood, but after viewing the plaque through the Battalion's 16mm film camera, the C.O. said that he could see the grain of the wood. He sent his driver down to Inchon who returned with several sheets of rust-covered metal, which were cut to the required size at a neighbouring U.S. Army base. These were then buffed down by a platoon of men, its purpose not revealed to them.
The only tools I had to hand were my Chinese bamboo handle calligraphy brushes and black and white kit-bag stencil ink. For reference of the Gloucestershire's regimental badge I consulted our quartermaster's supply catalogue. I was also able to borrow a hat badge from a Royal Artillery gunner who happened to be visiting our camp from Inchon to play in a football match. I later traced the U.N. crest from the flag that flew outside our guardroom, and with guidance from our Korean camp barber I carefully lettered the plaque that contained the Korean inscription.
I set about stippling a marble background - when the permanent tablets finally arrived we discovered that they were in fact made of granite. Next I went to the memorial site at the precise time of day that the ceremony was to take place to study the angle of the sun as I wished to create a trompe l'oiel effect in order for my brushwork to appear incised into the tablets.
Nine days later, after little sleep, I completed my task. On the eve prior to the unveiling ceremony the four temporary plaques were furtively placed into the surrounding memorial's framework constructed by our regiment's Assault Pioneer Platoon.
(The following incident is described by John Isaac who was Platoon Commander)
"A Korean General happened to be passing at the time and wondered what was going on. He sauntered over to read the inscriptions. Suddenly he was taking a closer interest. He approached even nearer and was watching an ant walking across the inscription. The ant was not running into the carved lettering but straight across. He then tapped the plaque and discovered it was hollow and made of metal.
An explanation was given which we were not sure had been understood but apparently he was of such seniority that he arranged for the memorial ground to be given in perpetuity and a Korean stone also to be erected on the site".
The next morning, 29th June, 1957, our battalion lined the route from Camp Kohima to the Memorial, which lies at the foot of Mount Kamak-san, while I was allowed to have some well-deserved sleep. However I was soon awakened with orders from the C.O. to get into my No.1 uniform and then rushed by Jeep to the memorial where, on arrival, I was seated alongside the many dignitaries which included General Isaac D. White, Commander U.S. 8th Army in Korea, dressed in combat uniform while the British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Mr. Hubert Evans, was dressed in morning suit and silk top hat.
After several speeches and invocations given by the various military and religious representatives, followed by the playing of the Last Post and Reveille, the Ambassador climbed the 13 steps to unveil the Union Flag-draped memorial, followed by the laying of wreaths.
At the conclusion of the ceremony I, along with several members of the regiment's Assault Pioneers, was presented to the Ambassador, who being privy to the deception, on greeting me winked and whispered, "Well done"!
The somewhat heavier permanent tablets carved by the 24th Field Regiment R.E. Hong Kong were installed just prior to our Regiment's departure for Gibraltar on 29th July, 1957.
In 2007 my wife and I had the pleasure of being invited back to Korea by the British Ambassador to be present at the 50th anniversary of the Memorial's unveiling.
London born Arnold Schwartzman is an Oscar© winning documentary producer/director, a noted graphic designer and author. In 2002 he was appointed an OBE for services to the British Film Industry in the USA and in 2006 he was conferred the distinction of Royal Designer (RDI) by the Royal Society of Arts. Arnold and his wife Isolde have lived in Hollywood, California for the past 31 years.
Opening Ceremony 29 June 1957
General Isaac. D. White, Commander U.S. 8th Army, Korea and other dignitaries at the opening ceremony
General I.D. White laying a wreath during the opening ceremony
One of the temporary plaques made of sheet metal on which Arnold Schwartzman painted the lettering. Note the marble stippling and shadowed lettering. It and three others were later replaced by permanent plaques made of granite.
Front view of the Memorial
Side view of the Memorial
Republic of Korea (ROK) soldiers at the Memorial
Conception, design and construction of the Memorial
Badges of the Gloucestershire Regiment & the Royal Artillery on granite plaque which replaced the 'faux' plaque inscribed by Arnold Schwartzman, 2007
Plaque recording the Battle of Solma-ri, 22nd - 25 April 1951
ROK troops at the Memorial site, 2008
The Memorial in the spring of 2008
Gloster Bridge with the Memorial site on the right, 2008
Wreaths placed at the Memorial, 2007
ROK troops laying a wreath, 2007
Korean veteran, 2007
Article about Gloster Memorial from a Korean newspaper, 2007
Gloster Hill, North face
Gloster Hill (North face) with Mount Kamak-san in the background
[This photograph was taken from 'A' Company lines, 1st Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment]