The death of a young Scottish soldier in the Korean War has been officially recognised by the Queen 65 years after he fell in action.
Archie Buchanan Clark was just 19 when he was called up for National Service and only 20 when he died in a firefight with the enemy. In a ceremony in Edinburgh yesterday, the Elizabeth Cross was presented to Private Clark’s family in recognition of his sacrifice.
The medal was handed to Private Clark’s brother, Roy. The 80-year-old, who was just 14 when his elder brother went off to war, said they were “overwhelmed” by the award. Mr Clark, who grew up with his brother in Armadale, West Lothian and still lives there, said Private Clark had been proud to serve his country.
But he added that his death, at Kumgong on 22 May 1951, had “destroyed” their mother.
He said: “This is a great day, we’re really proud to receive this medal. It’s overwhelming.
“Archie was older than me, he was 19 when he was called up and I was 14. At the time, he was similar to all young men, he was very proud to be going.”
He added: “My mother particularly was absolutely destroyed by his death, she grieved for five years”
Mr Clark said he went against his mother’s wishes and completed national service even though the death in action of his brother gave him automatic exemption.
“My mother was so upset, she tried to stop me completing national service,” he said.
“I could have been let off because Archie had died, but I wanted to go, I was excited.”
About 200 of the 1,000 British troops killed in the Korean War were carry out National Service, which was scrapped in 1960, and had little or no choice about going on active service.
Presenting the Elizabeth Cross on behalf of the Queen, Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant Donald Wilson said the contribution of Scottish troops to the war in Korea has often been ignored.
He said: “The Elizabeth Cross provides a lasting recognition of his National Service and the loss felt by those he left behind. The contribution of Scottish troops during the Korean War is all too often overlooked, which makes honouring soldiers like Archie even more important.”
The Elizabeth Cross is a commemorative emblem given to the next of kin of members of the British armed forces killed in action or as a result of a terrorist attack since the Second World War.