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17 Sep 2018

On Sunday, September 16, Barry Tunnicliffe (1&4 South 1951) and John Bowler MC (West 1949) unveiled a new plaque on a bench in the Chapel in memory of the Old Cranleighans who fought in the Korean War.

Barry and John then took part in the Evensong during which both read a lesson and John briefly recalled his memories of attending services in the Chapel 70 years ago.

John explained how he had left Cranleigh aged 16 to go into the family firm (Thomas and William Bowler were the inventors of the bowler hat) before being sent to Korea in 1951 while on National Service. He said he made his decision not to return to work for the company while sat alone on a hilltop in Korea drinking a dry Martini!

Barry left Cranleigh and went straight into the army for his National Service and served in Korea between 1952 and 1953 in the Royal Artillery, deferring his place at Cambridge for two years.

John won the Military Cross as a young platoon commander with the Welch regiment. He was wounded three times, serving in a tactically important area known as the Hook and on Hill 355. in the way of Chinese and North Korean forces intent on attacking Seoul. He lost half his hearing and, looking back at patrols he led in no man’s land, he reckons his men were instrumental in killing about 80 Chinese soldiers, losing three themselves.

Barry was accompanied by his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth, and his son, and John by his wife of 57 years, Gillian.

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