Battle Honour IMJIN

Event
Wednesday, 25 April, 1951
Imjin map

The Battle Honour IMJIN is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

At 0215 hours on 24 April, during the Battle of the Imjin River, the Chinese had mounted a heavy attack against A Company's forward platoon on Hill 398. Although the Riflemen, with the aid of artillery, had beaten off the attack, the Chinese attacked again at dawn. The Company Commander counted no less than sixteen daylight attacks throughout the day as the enemy tried to take the Battalion's position on Hill 398. At 0130 hours on 25 April 1951, A Company, using quantities of grenades and their bazooka, threw back another Chinese attack that continued until first light.

BH IMJINOwing to the perilous state of 29 Brigade's left flank, it was in danger of being surrounded. Therefore, on 25 April, the 1st Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles received orders to withdraw. Having vacated its position, the Battalion prepared to move via Route 11 to the southwest and then withdraw with the Brigade down the Main Supply Route (MSR) on Route 33.

Soon after it moved off, it came under heavy fire from the Chinese positioned on hillsides to the west of the road where they had outflanked 1 RUR. As the Battalion moved further along the route the Chinese closed in on the withdrawing men and armour. Many Riflemen jumped aboard tanks and casualties were inflicted by Chinese fire directed at the tanks. This included 'suicide' attacks by Chinese armed with mines attached to the end of poles (pole charges) with which they attempted to destroy the tanks. Thus, after a very hazardous withdrawal, 1 RUR's part in the Battle of the Imjin ended.

Second Lieutenant G L Potts, finally in the F Echelon, and commissioned less than one year, now found himself in command of his company. His own platoon had lost three killed in action, two missing presumed dead, four wounded and two taken as POWs. Out of an original platoon total of 28 he now had 11 remaining. This casualty rate was worse across other sub-units of 1 RUR where the final number at the Battalion's muster was 14 officers and 240 other ranks.

The London Times published an account of the fighting shortly after the battle which included the following:

'...and the 'Irish Giants,' with Harp and Crown, have histories that they, would exchange with no one. As pride, sobered by mourning for fallen, observes how well these young men have acquitted themselves in remotest Asia, the parts taken by the regiments may be seen as a whole. The motto of the Royal Ulster Rifles may have the last word Quis Separabit.'

For 1 RUR's actions during the Battle of the Imjin River, from 22-25 April 1951, The Royal Ulster Rifles was awarded the Battle Honour IMJIN.