The Fore & Afts in Korea

Chanced upon this editorial from one of the broadsheets in the wake of the Battle of Imjin.
Likely written by their Military Correspondent in the days when such folk really knew their stuff.
It makes for stirring reading;

"Fore and Aft",
All the world, -but especially old infantrymen of the line, will be stirred to read of the magnificent action fought in isolation through three days and nights by the 1st Battalion of The Gloucestershire Regiment.

The officers and men who stood and, as the grim casualty lists show, in so many cases fell have maintained a record of active service unsurpassed by any other unit in the Army List. Regimental history, in spite of the breaking down of old territorial ties, still survives to put heart into young soldiers.
A recruit to the Gloucesters would be dull indeed who did not feel, after his earliest days at the depot, that brave men had bequeathed him a list of battle honours never, even in the most desperate circumstances, to be forgotten. Nicknames have been heaped upon these west countrymen. They were the "Back Numbers,"' "The Slashers," "'The Silver-tailed Dandies," " The Old Braggs '' and the " Flowers of Toulouse," but, by their comrades in other regiments, they have been most often known as the "Fore' and Aft." That proud title, won with the Sphinx badge in Egypt in the Napoleonic wars, has been won again in Korea.

The men of Wellington's day, who, attacked by the " Invincible Legion" of Cavalry, and, without time to form square, stood back to back, earned the right to wear their badge behind as well as in front. Their heirs at Festubert in 1915, surrounded by four enemy regiments, knew what was expected of the Gloucesters. For that feat they were allowed to increase the size of the back badge.

History repeats itself gloriously in a regiment which had been scarred in the wars of more than a century when it fought at Alexandria. Ramillies and Louisburg saw the 28th Foot from which the 1st Battalion sprang. Wolfe fell at the head of the regiment in the attack on Quebec and, as they were going into action at Quatre Bras, Picton led them, saying " Remember Egypt".
It is well in these days when so much of value in military tradition has, perhaps inevitably, been discarded to recall such far-away-and living-memories. Readiness to die for his country is a hard lesson for a boy to learn and he is powerfully helped by a sense of kinship with those who have, without flinching, followed the path of duty before him. The Gloucesters, for what they have now done and for what went before it, deserve to be singled out for honourable mention, but they did not stand alone. The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, The Royal Ulster Rifles, and other Commonwealth units, each with a past to live up to, shared with the Gloucesters in this most testing of all hazards on the battlefield-attack by overwhelming numbers of enemy.
The " Fighting Fifth-" wearing St. George and the Dragon and the "Irish Giants " with the " Harp and Crown " have histories that they would exchange with no one. As pride, sobered by mourning for the fallen, observes how well these young men have, acquitted themselves in remotest Asia, the parts taken by regiments may be seen as a whole.
The motto of The Royal Ulster Rifles may have the last word-Quis Separabit ?


A precis of the battle with some data on casualties is here;
Rifles Museum

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
a few yards from me, all of the roads are named after the Gloucesters great battles
when the houses were first built, priority was given to retired soldiers

these days the names mean nothing to the younger generation
my elderly neighbour, himself one of the later Gloucesters, showed me his father in laws papers, he served at Festubert
here is the very whistle that he used to get the lads over the top
Sacred indeed, and it was an honour to hold it, Roger told me that as a young man his Father in law came to see him off at the station when they departed for Aden, an elderly man was shuffling along and RSM Finch called out a number, at which the man stood ramrod straight and saluted him, RSM Finch then chatted with him about old times, and to his dying day he knew the names and number of every one of those young men he served with


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Oh. How very disappointing. I rather hoped this thread was going to be about spitroasting.

- barbeques, you understand.

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