The skies were heavy with rain, the brooding clouds coloured black and grey, the mood sombre when, suddenly, as the marching veterans resplendent in their blazers and uniform headwear set off, the sun came through illuminating the huge array of medals on parade.
There were more than 20 old soldiers shivering in the bitter cold at the Scottish Korean War Memorial, accompanied by the Rt Hon David Mundell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, West Lothian Council’s Provost, Tom Kerr and the Army’s representative in Scotland, Colonel Rob Jefferies, Deputy Commander of the 57th Scottish Brigade.
Mr Mundell presented Major (Ret) Allan Cameron, chairman of the Lothian and West of Scotland Branch of the British Korean Veterans’ Association (BKVA), with a letter from the Prime Minister congratulating the War Memorial committee on its work erecting the memorial.
It takes the form of a traditional Korean pagoda and features specially imported carved slate roof tiles .
A peaceful woodland setting in the Bathgate hills seems an appropriate place of remembrance for those who lost their lives in the ‘forgotten war’.
Mr Mundell said: “This letter from the Prime Minister reflects the high esteem which the UK Government holds for the brave Scottish service personnel who stood together with our allies among the thousands of troops who served in Korea.
“Surrounded by Korean Firs, this memorial provides a fitting location for veterans and their families to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Colonel Jim Wilson, of Veterans Scotland, said: “Our veterans are delighted to receive acknowledgement of the huge amount of work by the BKVA members in Scotland that resulted in this moving memorial in memory of those who died during the Korean War over 60 years ago.
“They gave their lives to ensure our continuing freedom.”
Scottish troops,as part of the British contingent, joined a United Nations allied force after North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950.