Elizabeth Cross, EIIR, in remembrance of Private G.B. Burchill, Glosters, Killed on Gloster Hill during the regiment’s epic stand at the Battle of Imjin on 25th April 1951.
A pair of full size with matching miniature badges, the full size badge hallmarked 2010, the first awards being given in late 2009, and laser engraved “CPL G B BURCHILL GLOSTER R 19030887”, in their original fitted award case with original outer card named carton & info slip.
Extremely rare award, unlike Canadian & New Zealand memorial crosses, only one set of the Elizabeth Cross would be issued to families, this is one of the first to be sold.
Gregory Brian Burchill was born on 10th February 1929 in Bristol Gloucestershire.
He joined his local regiment voluntarily before National Service came into effect, aged 18, with the Glosters he was stationed at Bulford Camp, Salisbury, he proceeded to Kingston, Jamaica on 17th August 1947 on S.S. Tilapa.
The regiment had returned to the UK during 1949, then on 3rd November 1950 following the outbreak of the Korean War the 1st Battalion arrived in Korea.
On 22nd April 1951, at nightfall, the Chinese launched their Spring Offensive launching the Battle of Imjin.
Pte Burchill was at the time of the battle a member of “D” Company, 1st Battalion.
During the first night his company was attacked, along with A company, by 07:30 A Company were outnumbered 6 to 1 and had been forced from their position on Castle Hill, an attempt to retake it failed during which Lieut Philip Curtis single-handedly destroyed an enemy machine gun position being posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross.
The 23rd April led to the now half strength A Company retiring to Hill 235, which left D Company exposed, with one of their platoons having been badly mauled in the night-time fighting, they also withdrew to Hill 235.
A & D company were relatively safe defending Hill 235 but B Company had retired to Hill 316, that night they were outnumbered 18 to 1 enduring 6 assaults, calling in artillery on their own position to break up the last of them, they were low on ammunition having fought all night and at 08:10 were forced to abandon their position, only 20 survivors made it over to Hill 235.
The relief force of the Philippine 10th Battalion Combat Team with a number of 8th Hussars Tanks were trying to protect the Glosters from being encircled, but it was found unviable and the Brigade Commander withdrew them leaving the Glosters to fend for themselves.
Abandoned and left without any support were the last remnants of the Glosters including Burchill, they bravely defended their position on Hill 235, any chance of retreat was impossible, also any airdrop supplies were unsuccesful.
They held their position throughout the night of the 24th and into the 25th April, the next morning on the 25th, the 45th Field Regiment also withdrew its artillery support.
The final decision was handed to the Glosters Commanding Officer, Lt Col Carne who “Gave the order to his company commanders to make for the British lines as best as they could.”
Only the remains of D Company under the command of Major Mike Harvey escaped successfully from the Hill and reached the safety of friendly lines after several days of travel, the rest of the battalion was taken prisoner including Lt Col Carne & on this day Private Burchill was killed in the fighting.
Hill 235 was renamed “Gloster Hill” in their memory, the battle resulted in 1091 casualties to the 29th brigade, including 34 officers & 808 other ranks missing.
Of 1091 casualties, 620 were from the Glosters, they mustered only 217 men on 27th April 1951, 522 of the soldiers had been taken as prisoners of war, but 180 were wounded and a further 34 died while in captivity. Including Pte Burchill, 59 soldiers of the Glosters were killed in action during the battle.
On the Chinese side the 63rd Army had lost around 10,000 of their 27,000 strength.
Alongside his family member’s African General Service Medal, bar Kenya, to also in it’s original named card case of issue, to 22994755 Pte C. Burchill, Glosters, with his 2 Glosters badges.
Cedric Burchill was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire during 1935.