TRANSPORT chiefs are being urged to U-turn on a previous refusal to install motorway signs to help people find the memorial to Scotland’s “forgotten” war.
The Korean War Memorial in the Bathgate Hills consists of Korean firs and native Scottish trees along with a traditional Korean shrine listing the names of the 1,114 British troops who died in the 1950-53 conflict.
The memorial was created by the Lothians and West of Scotland branch of the now defunct British Korean Veterans Association and opened in 2000, marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the war.
But campaigners claim some veterans’ families have been unable to pay their respects because they could not find it.
And they are calling for brown tourist signs on both the M8 and M9 to tell motorists how to reach the memorial.
West Lothian Tory councillor Charles Kennedy said: “Last year, people got lost trying to get to our annual memorial service. Quite a number of Koreans, including the attache, came up from London for it but they came off the motorway at the wrong exit and it took them an hour trying to find it.”
He said one reason given for Transport Scotland’s previous refusal to install signs on the motorway was a lack of signage on the local roads.
But now West Lothian Council has put in new signs at eight locations on the routes from the M8 and M9, in addition to signs already in place in Linlithgow and Bathgate.
Transport Scotland also said the number of signs on the motorway network had to be strictly controlled because too many could cause accidents.
The location was chosen because it reminded veterans of the terrain they had fought on during the conflict.
Lothians Conservative MSP Gordon Lindhurst is also backing the call for motorway signs and hopes to use a debate in the Scottish Parliament to press the case.
He has won cross-party support for a motion remembering the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
Mr Lindhurst said: “As far as I am aware, we haven’t had the opportunity to remember in this way the fallen and those who fought in the Korean War since the Scottish Parliament was formed.
“It is important that while we remember the sacrifices made, we debate how we can continue to pay our respects.
“First and foremost, we need Transport Scotland to heed calls for motorway signage to avoid embarrassing incidents where important Korean dignitaries are getting lost because they can’t find the memorial. That is the least we can do and I hope a debate in the Scottish Parliament will help to make that point.”
Transport Scotland said previous requests for motorway signs had been rejected because the memorial did not meet the visitor number criteria set out in their tourist signing policy of 50,000 visitors a year or 10,000 in the peak month.
A spokeswoman said: “We have recently reviewed this application and will be writing to the applicant shortly.”