1st Bn Royal Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (London) Branch of the Fusiliers Association

Buckingham Palace reception for Korean veterans

Report by Mike Mogridge BEM

March 2024


We all speculated on who would attend the reception at Buckingham Palace on 19th March knowing that his Majesty was undergoing treatment for cancer.  As it happened the reception was hosted by the Princess Royal, Princess Anne and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, and didn’t they do well.


There were 74 actual veterans but total attendance with carers/wives and families were over 200.  Champagne was the order of the day and came in unlimited quantities interspersed with a myriad of canapés.  The Royal hosts managed to talk to, or in some cases listen to, most people in the room. Our friends Ambassador Yoon Yeocheol, The Korean Ambassador, Defence Attaché Captain (Navy) Lee and Air Attaché Lt Colonel Yang also were present which added to the occasion.


The Princess Royal and Duchess of Edinburgh first met the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and representatives from the Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion in the palace's Carnarvon Room.


The Princess and Duchess then mingled and posed for photos with around 200 veterans and family members at the reception in the Bow Room.


Joe Hill telling one of his tales to Princess Anne

George Reed meeting the Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh shaking hands with Reg White with Joe Hill

Jack Durbin, Reg White (behind), Derek Randall and Len Lockmuller

Peter Galloway (2ndl left) and George Rose (far right)

Mike Mogridge with The Princess Royal

Len Lockmuller enjoying the occasion


A Private audience


Some time before the reception proper Alan Guy and myself, received letters from the RBL advising us that we had been selected to meet for a private audience with Princess Anne. This was followed by a letter from the Master of the King’s Household asking us to arrive early at 10.30am. We were two of four Veterans who had been listed by the Royal British Legion and approved by the Master of the Kings Household; the others were Brigadier Brian Parritt CBE who, as Forward Artillery Officer had been wounded on the Hook whilst attached to the Royal Fusiliers and, to represent the Navy, Ron Yardley who served on HMS Belfast.


However, on the day we were surprised and honoured by the arrival of King Charles himself before the official reception started. The selection process remains a mystery but needless to say we were all grateful to spend almost an hour with the King and to see him in a very relaxed mood when he chatted to each of us in turn. His parting wish was for us to tell the Veterans how frustrated he was that he had not been able to meet all of them at the general reception.


Mike Mogridge BEM

The King's Speech

​Princess Anne concluded the event by delivering the speech on behalf of King Charles, and told the audience: "I'm filling in “.


In his speech, the King said:


 “I am delighted that so many of you are able to attend today’s reception, a rather belated gathering, I fear, to mark seventy years having passed since the end of the Korean War. It has been a personal ambition of mine to invite you all, in some form, to Buckingham Palace to recognise this significant milestone and ensure you are all most deservingly honoured for your valiant service over seventy years ago. You might therefore imagine how particularly disappointed and frustrated I am to not be able to join you all in person... I can only hope that you are being well looked after in my absence and I am most grateful to the Princess Royal and the Duchess of Edinburgh for standing in for me. As you will know all too well, some 60,000 British and 50,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women served in the Korean War, alongside our United Nations Allies. Thanks to those of you present, and those you fought alongside, the free peoples of the Republic of Korea continue to experience democratic liberty and have proudly preserved peace ever since. This enduring legacy was further commemorated during the recent Korean State Visit, when President Yoon himself declared that Korea would not have the political freedom, economic prosperity and flourishing culture today, that has extended far beyond its borders, without your bravery all those years ago. It is our duty to remember what was once called “the Forgotten War”. Next month, like every year, your fellow veterans will meet in Solma-Ri, Gapyeong and Busan to commemorate the Battles of the Imjin and Gapyeong and to remember those who fell in the service of the United Nations Command on the Korean Peninsula. In a world where freedoms are continually being challenged and our values scrutinised, your selfless courage and steadfast pursuit of peace are guiding principles which have not been forgotten and continue to inspire generations to come. We salute all those who remain among us, and offer our most heartfelt and undying gratitude for those who have gone before. Your service and your sacrifice will echo through the ages.


1st Bn Royal Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (London) Branch of the Fusiliers Association


Ray O'Brien

5 Ashurst Drive, Worth, Crawley,

West Sussex RH10 7FS

Tel: 07988 833944

Email: rayobn1@gmail.com



Colonel M J Dudding OBE TD DL



Lieutenant Colonel K W Kiddie


George Rose

36 Maryfield Close, Bexley,
Kent DA5 2HY

Tel: 01322 550285


The White Hackle editor

Rob Crowley

2 Keswick Road,
West Wickham, Kent BR4 9AT

Tel: 07702 008446





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