By Kang Gahui and Kim Young Shin
The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs on Jan. 3 said it will honor the wish of the late William Speakman-Pitt, a British hero of the Korean War also known as Bill Speakman, to have his ashes scattered over Korean soil.
The ministry said his remains will be buried next month at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan. He will be the seventh Korean War veteran from the U.N. allied forces to be buried there.
Speakman, who died on June 20 last year, was dispatched to Korea attached to the 1st Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers. During the Second Battle of Maryangsan near Imjingang River on Nov. 4, 1951, he displayed bravery and courage that earned him fame. He and six comrades held off advancing Chinese forces by throwing grenades, stones and even beer bottles for more than four hours until British troops could withdraw safely.
During the battle, his leg was severely injured that he had to return to the U.K. but he volunteered to fight again in Korea in January of the following year.
For his bravery, Speakman received the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award in the British honors system. A building and a bridge in his hometown of Manchester were also named after him.
During a 2015 visit to Korea, he donated 10 of his medals including a replica of his Victoria Cross.
According to presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom, President Moon Jae-in specifically requested the ministry to carefully prepare for Speakman’s burial ceremony and the attendance of his relatives.