A privilege to honour our war heroes

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The dedicated service of Halifax’s Korean War veterans was recognised in a special ceremony.

The ‘Ambassador for Peace’ medal presentation ceremony awarded members of the West Yorkshire Korean Veterans Association the medal at the North Bridge Leisure Centre on Tuesday.

Halifax Korean War veterans  Bert Ackroyd, Edgar Gaukroger and Barry Maiden were presented with the 'Ambassador for Peace' medal.

Halifax Korean War veterans Bert Ackroyd, Edgar Gaukroger and Barry Maiden were presented with the 'Ambassador for Peace' medal.

The medal was only originally presented to veterans who returned to South Korea through the ‘Revisit Korea’ programme established by the Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

But the programme has now been extended to veterans unable to travel to Korea and the ceremony, attended by Mayor of Calderdale Pat Allen and David Dinmore, Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, was a fitting way to commemorate their service in the conflict.

Many of the veterans were from Halifax’s Duke of Wellington Regiment.

Speaking to the veterans, Mr Dinmore said: “It’s down to your valiant efforts that the conflict did not escalate into anything wider.

“Thank god for people like you who put yourselves in harm’s way to defend the freedom of people across the world.”

The Mayor added: “What an amazing occasion. It was a very moving ceremony and it’s just an honour and privilege to meet these gentlemen.”

Often described as “The Forgotten War”, the Korean War raged from 1950-53 and for many, the day was a sign of appreciation.

Bert Ackroyd, 80, from Southowram, said: “It’s 50 odd years too late, but somebody is showing consideration.

“I’ve never told anybody what we went through. We went through it and it doesn’t matter, but we left lads there and it did matter.

“We were like the Band of Brothers, you always looked after your mate.”

The West Yorkshire branch currently has 32 members and holds meetings in Halifax.