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Korean War Veteran Project

2190. Jack Russell

Jack Russell MBE, from Gloucestershire, is a former cricketer who created the ‘Korean War Veteran Project' to paint the portraits of some of the last surviving veterans of the Korean War.

Over 80,000 British Soldiers served in Korea, where over 1,000 died as part of the United Nations force. Often known as the forgotten war, Jack started his project in 2022, painting the last surviving veterans of the Gloucestershire Regiment who fought at the Battle of Imjin River Korea in 1951, with the hope that these portraits will help keep memories of those veterans alive.  

2023 marks 70 years after the armistice which ended the fighting in Korea. Jack has worked closely with the ‘Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum’ to highlight veterans from the Gloucestershire regiment, and with their support, has been able to locate the last surviving eight. They will be central to a book called ‘The Last Roll Call’, with the accompanying exhibition of portraits currently on display until March 2024. 

Congratulating Jack on his award, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon Johnny Mercer MP, said:

“It’s so important we remember the sacrifice of our armed forces in every conflict, both modern and historic. Jack’s work to memorialise our Korean War veterans is a testament to this. 

“I am proud to see Jack awarded with a Points of Light award today, his ambition to ensure all our veterans are remembered is highly commendable, and one we should all aspire to as we approach this weekend’s remembrance activities.”

Jack said:

“My reward is that the portraits help keep alive the commitment and sacrifice of these amazing veterans by capturing them on canvas before they leave us forever. The canvases will still be here after we are all long gone as a reminder to future generations.  I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the award but more importantly thank him for recognising our veterans contribution to our country and making sure their achievements are not forgotten.”

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