Korean War Veteran attends Buckingham Palace event

Alan Katz – a resident of Jewish Care’s Vi & John Ruben’s House – was invited to Buckingham Palace to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Armistice of the Korean War.

The 92-year-old attended the event with his son Phil (pictured above).

Alan was born in Whitechapel in 1932 and conscripted into the army on 24th August 1950, where he was posted to Korea for two years. During that time, he served as the battalion barber for the Gloucestershire Army regiment in the and later went on to train as a hairdresser under the watchful eye of Adoph Cohen, who also taught Vidal Sassoon.

The Royal Reception hosted by Their Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, Anne, and The Duchess of Edinburgh was attended by over 200 Korean War Veteran. At the event, the Princess Royal delivered a speech on behalf of The King in which His Majesty thanked the veterans for their service and for ensuring the people of the Republic of Korea could continue to experience democracy and freedom. The speech also emphasised how important it was to remember what has become known as “The Forgotten War” which saw sixty thousand British men and women take part between 1950 and 1953, with 1,100 British soldiers losing their lives.

For Alan’s family, the stories from his service only came to light when his children, Phil, Caroline and Steve, discovered old photographs (including the one above) and documents in a memorabilia box dating back to 1950. Phil explained, “Everything was all just lying in a tin. There were medals and photographs from his time in Korea. We knew he went to Korea, but that was about it, he never spoke about it.”

Although Alan was unable to recall much about his service, they were able to search through official certificates and army discharge forms to understand a little more about his time spent in the army.

Naderia Mangroo, Jewish Care’s Vi & John Ruben’s House Care Manager added, “we are so delighted that Alan was invited to Buckingham Palace alongside his son, Phil, to acknowledge and pay tribute to the courage shown by those who served during the wars. We continue to be inspired by their stories and to honour them and the memory of those who sadly lost their lives.”

Speaking after they attended the reception at Buckingham Palace, Phil says, “My father has never done anything like this in his life, because he kept so quiet. It was a very special moment for Dad. It’s not every day you get invited to Buckingham Palace and I felt it was a monumental way for him to finally be acknowledged and honoured for putting his life on the line all those years ago.”



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