Letter: Foreign aid for the British army

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The Independent Online
From Mr Dennis J. Hill

Sir: In 1952, I served in Korea as a signal platoon sergeant, 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers. Your article "Gurkhas on alert to bolster Paras' depleted infantry" (14 October) caused me to remember that the infantry battalions in the Commonwealth division were very under-strength and, in consequence, were reinforced with Koreans attached to Commonwealth units (Katcoms).

Young Republic of Korea soldiers were fully integrated into each platoon, about three to a section. They shared the dugouts, the food and the combat duties. Each Katcom was looked after by a British "buddy". They wore our regimental badge with apparent pride and such English as they acquired bore a marked cockney accent.

Surely, there are other precedents for the proposal to bolster the infantry with Nepalese. Given their long and distinguished connection, this would not appear particularly remarkable. Having seen them in action, I believe their presence would instill an extra competitive element within the units concerned, to their mutual benefit.


Dennis J. Hill

Leigh-on-Sea, Essex