South Korean museum gets replica of POW's stone cross

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Media captionA replica of a stone cross made by a Korean War veteran is to be handed to a museum in South Korea.

A replica of a stone cross carved by a Korean War veteran is being donated to a new museum in South Korea.

Victoria Cross recipient, Lt Col James Power Carne, the commanding officer of the Gloucestershire Regiment, made the cross during his captivity after the Battle of Imjin River.

Stonemasons at Gloucester Cathedral, where the original is on display, have created a replica for the museum.

The cross will be given on the 65th anniversary of the battle.

'Dying breed'

One of the veterans on the trip will be Tom Clough from Gloucester, a lance bombardier with the Royal Artillery who supported the Glosters at Imjin.

He said: "The trouble is - it's hard to say it - but we are a dying breed.

"I'm 85 now and in the past three months I've been to three funerals of ex PoWs."

The original stone cross was made from a piece of volcanic rock and it is believed a nail was used to carve out the shape.

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum director Chris Chatterton said: "I think this is symbolic of everything that's good about Lt Col Carne's character.

"In adversity he focuses on something that's a sign of his faith."

Huge onslaught

Col Carne was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1953 for his leadership during the Battle of Imjin.

Part of the citation for this medal read: "He inspired his officers and men to fight beyond the normal limits of human endurance, in spite of overwhelming odds and ever-increasing casualties, shortage of ammunition and of water."

Over four days in April 1951, The Glosters defended a huge onslaught from the Chinese army on what has now become known as Gloster Hill in South Korea.

The regiment had started the Battle of Imjin River with 700 men, but few avoided imprisonment or death.

Some 600 men were taken prisoner, 59 were killed and 34 died in captivity.

Prisoners remained in POW camps for more than two years until after the armistice was declared in July 1953.

The cross and other artefacts, and replicas of Col Carne's medals - including the Victoria Cross, will be donated on 23 April to the United Nations Museum of South Korea in Busan.

Image copyright Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Image caption Lt Col James Power Carne was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and leadership
Image caption The replica will be handed over to the new museum in South Korea on the 65th anniversary of the battle
Image copyright Pathe
Image caption The original stone cross was handed to Gloucester Cathedral in 1953, with Col Carne looking on

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