Bert Davey was just 13 when he lost his older brother in ‘the forgotten' Korean War.

Now, 70 years on from the outbreak of the conflict he is making sure it is still remembered.

June 25 marked the anniversary of when fighting began in Korea, where 1,078 UK service men were killed, 2,674 wounded and 1,060 held prisoner for two years.

Bert, secretary of the Swindon & Wiltshire Branch of the British Korean War Veterans’ Association laid a wreath in memory off all those who lost their lives in the conflict, after coronavirus restrictions forced the cancellation of many events marking the occasion.

He said: “It was rather sad not being able to go ahead with our 70th. It was such a shame when many of the veterans are now in the twilight of their lives.

“It was very sad for the veterans, because obviously the restrictions and their own vulnerability at their ages mean they were not to be able to go to the war memorial and pay their respects as they would have liked.”

Bert’s brother Tom was killed in 1951, completing his national service with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. His platoon was attacked crossing the Imjin River and Tom died the following day.

“My brother was 21 and initially he had been in Hong Kong for over a year as part of his national service,” said Bert. He was due to come home when the government added six months to national service. He should have been demobbed from the army on June 6 1951, but the added time meant that he went to South Korea and three weeks later he was killed on June 2.”

Wearing his brother’s medals which were awarded for his role in the war, Bert said: “I wear them with pride, to acknowledge the sacrifice that he made and I always feel very proud wearing them.”

Among the Swindon veterans is a man who was with one of the first UK forces to land in Korea. He has been, until the Covid-19 restrictions, a regular poppy seller in the Brunel.

“There is a special bond among Korean War veterans,” added Bert.

“They feel they were part of a forgotten war, because it was in this far off land that people had never heard of back then. But when you’ve lost nearly 1,100 of your comrades who you’ve had to leave behind to come home, and for people to not really to know where you’d been, it has been difficult for many of the veterans to come to terms with the fact that over the years it has been forgotten.”

Bert added it is consoling that the South Koreans have never forgotten and children still visit the United Nations cemetery in Busan, where Tom is buried, to place flowers on soldiers’ graves every month.

Bert added: “It doesn’t leave you when you’ve lost a close member of your family, but obviously when it comes around to remembrance occasions then it comes home to you.”

He added the veterans are looking forward to being able to restart their monthly meetings as the pandemic has prevented them getting together since February.