The historically important and exceptionally well documented 1969 Order of the British Empire, Second World War, Palestine Jewish Revolt, Korean War and Malay Peninsular operations long service group awarded to Major P. Westrope, Royal Artillery, who commanded the gun that fired the first 25 pdr round of the Korean War, and fought with ‘C’ Sub, ‘C’ Troop of 116th Field Battery, 45th Field Regiment in support of the Glosters at Imjin River in April 1951, a period documented in written and photographic form by Westrope, he went on to become one of the founding members of the British Korean War Veteran’s Association in 1981.
Group of 9: The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Member, M.B.E., 2nd type, Military Division; Defence Medal, privately engraved naming; (14451617 GNR. P. WESTROPE R.A.); War Medal 1939-1945, privately engraved naming; (14451617 GNR. P. WESTROPE R.A.); General Service Medal 1918-1962, GVI 1st type bust, 1 Clasp: Palestine 1945-48; (14451617 BDR. P. WESTROPE. R.A.); Queen’s Korea Medal 1950-1953, 1st type obverse; (14451617 SJT. P. WESTROPE. R.A.); United Nations Medal for Korea, British issue, privately engraved naming; (14451617 SGT. P. WESTROPE R.A.); Campaign Service Medal 1962, 1 Clasp: Malay Peninsula; (14451617 W.O.CL.1. P. WESTROPE. RA.); Coronation Medal 1953, privately engraved naming; (14451617 SGT. P. WESTROPE R.A.); Regular Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, EIIR Dei.Grat. bust; (14451617 W.O.CL.2. P. WESTROPE. RA.), mounted court style for wear.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Together with the following exceptionally large archive of items, photographs, documentation and ephemera:
Awards, promotions and award documents:
Queen Elizabeth II Warrant Appointed Warrant Officer 1st Class Peter Westrope, Royal Regiment of Artillery, to be an Ordinary Member of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire, dated 1st January 1969, bearing facsimile signatures of Elizabeth and Philip; including Statutes book,
Coronation Medal 1953 Award Document, issued to: Sergt P Westrope RA, 45 Field Regiment RA.
Warrant appointed Peter Westrope a Warrant Officer in the Regular Forces, dated 7th May 1959.
Promotion Warrant appointed Peter Westrope M.B.E to be Captain and Quartermaster in the Land Forces, dated 16th September 1969.
United States of America: Presidential Unit Citation Device.
Belgium: Medal of Merit of Recognition for Korea.
Belgium: Foreign Operational Theatres Commemorative Medal with Clasp: Coree-Korea, with box of issue.
Belgium United Nations Command Korea 1950-1955 Presentation Plaque, with engraved name plate to: Sgt Peter Westrope 45th Field Regiment Oct 1950- 1951 Nov.’, this housed in its presentation case.
The Korean Veteran’s Association Commemorative Medal, with case..
International Federation of Korean War Veterans Association 40th Anniversary Medal 1950-1990.
Recipient’s handwritten diary detailing his time in Korea, approximately 50 pages, together with a personal account of his services, and a neatly re-written version of his time in Korea.
Recipient’s personal type account of his life in the services this being a build up to his intended autobiography – ‘A Career in the Royal Artillery’, typed pages which have been inserted in brown envelopes representing each section: titled – Life in the Ranks – 9 pages; Korea – 29 pages (one missing); Story of career of other rank 1944-1969 and Extracts from a diary of a Sergeant 1950-1951; Career in the army 1944-1982; Notes on the Battle of Imjin Painting; an unfinished rough typed draft of ‘A Career in the Royal Artillery’.
Certified Copy of Attestation Document, dated 28th July 1944.
Regular Army Certificate of Service Red Book.
45th Field Regiment Roll of Officers 1950 to 1960, listing every officer and dates served, including retirement dates and final rank, listed in order of their position in the regiment. A useful hand done reference.
History of the 45th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, unpublished account as believed written by the recipient, 75 typed pages.
Junior Leaders Regiment 1968 to 1969 postings documentation and list of those in attendance.
Correspondence regarding the Royal Artillery Museum and Association.
Various pamphlets and programmes relating to events and visits by various people including royalty.
Badges and insignia and miscellaneous:
116th Field Battery pennant, this believed to be from the time of the Korean War, and retained by the recipient as a keep sake.
170th Mortar Battery pennant, as carried post Korea and bearing the battle honour ‘Imjin’.
Battle of Solma-Ri (Battle of Imjin River) Pennant.
Various Royal Artillery medal and cloth insignia, including Warrant Officer’s sleeve badge.
Sergeant’s Mess Rule Book.
Army Prayer Book.
National Insurance Certificate.
Army Certificate of Education 1st Class, dated 23rd October 1953.
Statement of Service Certificate.
SOXMIS Soviet Military Mission – BAOR Vehicle Identity Card.
Fine studio photograph in later life of recipient in uniform wearing all his awards.
Photograph of the recipient in uniform taken with all his campaign awards up to and including the Coronation Medal 1953.
Photograph of the recipient in uniform as a Warrant Officer 1st Class wearing the ribbons of all his awards except the MBE and CSM.
23 photographs personally relating to recipient and his career, taken at various stages and now displayed in a put together album, together with some of his documentation and ephemera.
Recipient’s personal photograph album from circa 1945 to 1950, 101 photographs mostly annotated, documenting his time in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt etc.
Recipient’s personal photograph album relating to his time during the Korean War, the lead up to it and the immediate aftermath, the whole contained in a typical album of the period picked up in Korea, in lacquered cover with the map of Korea depicting the 38th Parallel – approximately 300 photographs and images: 138 photographs relating directly to his time in the Korean War, including departure from Colchester, voyage out and then on operations in Korea, many fantastic photographs of the conflict, mostly annotated, with some useful named images of men of 45 Field Battery on operations; the album then moves on to his time in Hong Kong, 163 photographs, of a similar theme to those for Korea, depicts period of r&r and also of manning the frontier with mainland China, including images of the 1953 Coronation Parade in Hong Kong, once again many of the men are mentioned by name. This is without a doubt the finest photograph album of the Korean War and Far East service the cataloguer has seen, and is an extremely useful and unique reference, specifically relating to identifying men serving with 45 Field Battery.
A separate album of ephemera and photographs relating to the Korean War – 114 photographs relating to the Korean War, many personal, and also a quantity of press photographs; a selection of Korean War period postcards 32 in total; 45 Field Regiment Royal Artillery Imjin Day Celebrations Regimental Athletics Meeting 1956 Programme; and Re-Union Newsletter 1995 with photograph of the recipient taken at the re-union wearing his medals; a Republic of Korea “Ambassador for Peace” Official Proclamation Certificate in the name of Major Peter Westrope RA., dated 3rd October 1983; and a fine period map showing the Imjin River and the surrounding area, this as published in January 1951, and presumably carried by Westrope when on service at Imjin River.
Recipient’s personal photograph album: 83 original photographs and photo cards, starts with Hong Kong and then proceeds to time spent with the BAOR in Germany – circa 1950’s to 1960’s.
A superb archive of just over 800 individual loose photographs spanning the recipient entire service career and operational history.
An annotated group photograph for 45th Field Regiment Wos and Sgts Mess at Dortmund, Germany, February 1958.
An annotated group photograph for No.42 All Arms Quartermasters’ Course 27th May to 18th July 1969.
An annotated group photograph for 26th Field Regiment Football Club 1970-1971 Season, Westrope being then the Soccer Officer of the regiment.
Also a quantity of negatives.
Peter Westrope was born on 15th January 1927 and went on to be educated at East Howe Secondary Modern School from 1937 to 1941. He then went to work for The Right Honourable Earl and Countess Bathurst near Cirencester, where he was involved in civil defence work during the middle period of the Second World War, before enlisting into the British Army at Gloucester on 28th July 1944, being then posted to a Primary Training Centre up at Lanark in Scotland. Westrope passed out as a Private (No.14451617) with the General Service Corps, and he then volunteered for service as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery, being posted to the 4th Regiment at Larkhill, before being posted to the 117th Field Regiment on completion of his training, this unit being then on home service, he moved with it to Cromer, and it was whilst here that the war in Europe ended on 5th May 1945.
Westrope then found himself posted to No.109 Field Regiment located at Picton Castle, Haverfordwent, Wales, where he underwent training for the Far East where the war was still ongoing, but he then became ill, and hence did not see any overseas service, the Second World War officially ended on 14th August 1945. With the disbanding of his regiment in December 1945, Westrope was posted out, and Christmas 1945 was spent at 45 Reserve Holding Unit stationed in a Belgium Artillery Barracks at Maliners, and he was then temporarily attached to 25 Military Prison and Detention Barracks in Brussels, being promoted to unpaid Acting Lance Bombardier. Westrope was then posted to Germany to join 153 Leicester Yeomanry Regiment, stationed at Achen, and a part of the Guards Armoured Division, equipped with Sexton SP 25 pr guns. Westrope was then posted to 5th Field Regiment at Verdun in Germany in July 1946, serving with 73 Battery, and in September 1946 moved with the unit to Italy, but his unit was then re-designated, and he found himself then serving in 5th Field Regiment, stationed at Trieste.
In December 1946 he transferred to Downsman Troop, B Battery, 1st Regiment of Royal Horse Artillery, and he was posted to Egypt, being then based at Port Said, and Westrope arrived on service in Palestine during the Jewish Revolton 7th July 1947, being located at Isdud outside Gaza, and operating in amongst other vehicles, Comet OP tanks for certain patrols. Westrope was promoted to Acting Bombardier again on 17th September 1947, and he then found himself posted to Cyprus on a detachment to No2 Camp Staff, looking after illegal Jewish immigrants that had been interned.
Posted back to Downsman Troop, B Battery, RHA in mid 1948, he was then based at Fayid in the Canal Zone, as part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, and he then returned home on 2nd March 1949.
Westrope was then posted to join 45th Field Regiment on 29th April 1949, and joined it at Bramcote Camp in County Durham, it being the only regular unit in the 50th Northumbrian Division. Westrope who was posted to 116th Battery, was promoted to Sergeant on 12th September 1949. In January 1950 the Regiment moved to Colchester. The found themselves sharing barracks with the 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, the whole becoming a part of the 3rd British Infantry Division later that year.
Westrope embarked from Plymouth with 116 Battery aboard the Empress of Australia on 2nd October 1950, and the voyage took a month travelling through the Suez Canal, and on via Singapore to Pusan where there disembarked on 3rd November 1950.
The next three days was spent on a train covering approximately 200 miles and Westrope noted that everywhere the towns were very badly damaged, and the countryside not very inspiring, it ‘seemed to be all hills and valleys’. On 11th November 1950 the 116th Field Battery was ordered to standby for deployment, and it then deployed at Uijonbou about twenty odd miles from Seoul. Westrope was specifically serving with ‘C’ Sub, ‘C’ Troop of 116th Field Battery, and although there was no action at the time, Army Public Relations decided that there should be a record of the first round of a 25 pdr gun fired in Korea, and this lost fell to ‘C’ Sub, ‘C’ Troop, the target selected being a GPO on a hill about 2000 yards away, and the shooting was a direct shot. Westrope was at the time in command of the specific gun allotted for the task, and ‘LBdr Ted Longdon was my layer, opening range was 2500 yards, and the first round was a direct hit, therefore a photographic record was made’. A framed photograph of this shot exists within the archive. Westrope later believed that another battery deserved the credit, but nevertheless the publicity was given to ‘C’ Sub.
The first deployment ended on 23rd November. But on 28th November the unit was put on standby and the next day arrived at Sibyon-Ni, 20 miles north of Kaesong on the Main Supply Route, operating in company with the Northumberland Fusiliers. That night fighting erupted with plenty of small arms close by, and the battery engaged on direct shooting. The nights of the 30th November and 1st December once again witnessed a fire fight, but then the next night the battery was relieved and moved back to Kaesong. The battery now formed part of the 29th Brigade which by mid December was based at Pryongang in northern Korea, the capital, and the brigade then acted as rear guard for the UN Forces retreating in the face of Communist Chinese advances. The Battery which had been in reserve, rejoined the Brigade in late December, and Christmas 1950 and New Year 1951 were spent in the Brigade Area just south of Pryongang, which had still not been taken by Communist forces.
In the New Year of 1951 the North Koreans and Chinese forces attacked on a wide front, and the United Nations forces were pushed further south, the battery straddling the Main Supply Route as it retreated with the 29th Brigade. Over the next few weeks the battery was in action continuously, and towards the end of January found themselves operating in support of the ROK Division of Korean troops, and they then took up positions on the Han River, which at this time was frozen. In early March 1951 the battery was deployed near Kimpo airfield, and then operated in support of the Americans. By mid March, the battery found itself in the Seoul sector, and by mid April were in positions on the Imjin River.
Of the battle of Imjin River, not much is needed in a way of explanation here, but Westrope’s account runs to five typed pages. By the second day of the battle, 24th April 1951, the Glosters were surrounded and 116 Field Battery, were firing in direct support. He records: ‘the guns were very busy firing and from he start of the battle until today my gun had fired 470 odd rounds… time did not standstill and we were all too busy to worry about anything other than to keep the guns firing… by the end of the day we had fired a further 235 rounds… the 25th found us still very busy and the brigade still under heavy attack… again the gun had fired 200 odd rounds… the 26th we were still busy firing in support of the brigade and the situation for the Glosters was getting worse. It was reported that the enemy had been successful and had infiltrated through the brigade and behind us. The gun position did come under fire from enemy small arms fire and we moved quickly to another gun position… When the regiment moved was moving from one gun position to another, it seemed though we did a crash action and one of the shoots that we did was firing amongst the enemy who were marching down the road and it was reported from the OP that in spite of the shell falling amongst them and disregard to their casualties they just filled in their ranks and came on marching. The guns at one time did have to fire direct shooting on the hills to our left flank, beside the normal indirect shooting. There was no way that the Glosters could be relieved and we were informed that they had been ordered to break out and that communications with then had been broken off.’ By the 27th April the regiment was in action at Uijonbu, the brigade having been relieved the day before. ‘The guns were still firing. By this time we were all very tired and had little sleep and this was catching up on us as the battle slackened’. The next day the regiment moved from the 1st Cavalry area and rejoined the brigade. ‘Although my ammunition expenditure record is not accurate, I think my gun must have fired at least 1000 rounds, if one can imagine the amount of handling one had to do, it was quite some work.’
For their combined gallantry in action during the Battle of Imjin River, the men of the 116th Field Battery, were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by the United States of America, Westrope amongst them.
Westrope went on to see service on the Inchon Peninsula, and then on the Kansas Line through May 1951 and for a further three months. Westrope was on leave in Japan in July 1951, but had returned to the front line in August, once again located in and around Line Kansas. The 45th Field Regiment fired its last ‘Mike’ target on 8th November 1951, and one 13th November embarked at Pusan for Hong Kong, docking at Kowloon on 16th November.
The regiment remained in Hong Kong through to December 1953, performing frontier guard duty amongst other things, a period which witnessed the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in May 1953. He arrived home in January 1954. Posted with the regiment to Dortmund in Germany in August 1954, Westrope completed his duties as then Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, and took over ‘A’ Sub of ‘C’ Troop, 116th Battery. Appointed Acting Warrant Officer 2nd Class on 1st March 1957, and promoted to Warrant Officer on 7th May 1959, he left ‘C’ Troop and then joined ‘D’ Troop as Troop Sergeant Major, and on 4th September 1959 left 45th Field Regiment after over 10 years service with the unit, being then sent home and appointed Battery Sergeant Major of 235 Campbell Battery at Bramcote, serving as a part of the Junior Leaders Regiment, Royal Artillery. He remained there for the next three years.
Westrope was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major of the 12th Field Regiment in 1963, joining it at Delmonhorst in Germany on 11th March, and on 29th July 1963 he was promoted Substantive Warrant Officer 1st Class. He then formed the advance party of his regiment for Malaya on 8th August 1963, arriving in Singapore by air two days later, he then travelled up country to Tampin Negri Sembalue, with the main part of the regiment arriving between 7th to 27th September. Whilst out there he was appointed Soccer Officer, and whilst there from 19th to 29th February 1964 took part in an external leadership trip: ‘It was a trip via roads, river, jungle, hard work through the jungle and sweaty. I was interested in cine-filming, but I enjoyed the trip and got myself a blowpipe from a native’. The regimental was still on alert due to the ongoing Indonesian confrontation, and the batteries were spaced out over Malaya to maintain stability. Westrope’s Far East tour came to an end in early 1966 when he was posted back via Germany to home to become Regimental Sergeant Major of the Junior Leaders Regiment at Bramcote in March 1966.
His tour of duty with this unit came to an end in May 1969 when Westrope, who had been appointed an Ordinary Member of the Most Excellent Order of he British Empire in the New Years Honours List published in the London Gazette for 1st January 1969, was then commissioned as a Captain and Quartermaster in the Artillery in July 1969.
Westrope went on to serve on the Staff of the Quartermaster Ministry of Defence ACGS from 1975 to 1977, being responsible for the Long Term Equipment Planning and Costing, and then on the Staff of the Quartermaster HQDRA attached to the MOD ACGS from 1977 to 1981 as an Equipment Table Sponsor to all Royal Artillery units in the Regular and Territorial Army. He retired in 1982. Westrope who had become an Associate Member of the Institute of Purchase and Supply in 1981, had in the same year attended a Business Management Appreciation Course at the Polytechnic of Central London.
However despite his military service, Peter Westrope is probably most importantly remembered for his work in founding the British Korean War Veteran’s Association back in December 1981. Branch No.1 at Croxley Green in Hertfordshire was founded by Westrope, and since then has spread throughout the country, and it was for his work in promoting the veterans association, that Westrope was nominated by the Republic of Korea as an “Ambassador for Peace” being awarded the Official Proclamation Certificate in the name of Major Peter Westrope RA on 3rd October 1983.
PLEASE NOTE: This group and it's accompanying ephemera are of a significant weight, and postage costs will be higher than normal. It is available for collection from a central London locality dependent on any/all relevant COVID restrictions.