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'22546434 Gunner Michael Banbury died in Korea, in 1952.'

Michael Banbury was born on the 26th of February in 1930 in Blaby, in Leicestershire.

On the 7th of December in 1950, he elected to be a regular soldier with the Royal Artillery, on a five-year engagement with seven years in the reserve. 22546434 Gunner Michael Banbury served in Korea with the 61st Light Regiment, 120 Battery, in 'E' Troop.

The 61st Light Regiment which was equipped with the 4.2 inch mortar was originally designed to be an infantry weapon to give greater firepower and range than the standard 2 or 3 inch mortars. It was a much more sophisticated weapon than the other mortars, firing a 20lb bomb out to a maximum range of 4,200 yards, proved to be unsuitable for the infantry and was given to the Royal Artillery. It was a particularly effective weapon in hilly or mountainous environments and was therefore well suited to the conditions in Korea. The 61st Light Regiment was a Divisional Regiment and was formed in Korea when the Commonwealth Division was formed. It had three light mortar batteries ie 42 Battery, 120 Battery and the 248 Battery and one locating/anti aircraft battery, 15 Battery. The mortar could be operated in one of two ways, the normal method was using a wheeled base plate on which it was mounted and the alternative method was using a 'static' base plate to which the tripod, sight and barrel was fitted. The base plate weighed about 120lbs and could be man packed into forward positions.

On the 13th of August in 1952, the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment began active patrols which were designed to capture Chinese prisoners.

The following is taken from the book, 'From the Imjin to the Hook,' by James Jacobs. ''''Early in August, 42 and 120 Batteries changed positions, with 'D' Troop moving to the north-east of Hill 187N and 'E' Troop to the south-east of Hill 210. By mid-August, 'E' Troop occupied a position in support of an operation of 28 Britcom Brigade with the tanks of 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards [5RIDG] deploying to the tops of the ridges in close proximity to 'E' Troop mortars.This was much too close as far as 'E' Troop were concerned, as immediately a tank poked its gun and turret above the skyline the Chinese would start to shell it. One tank sitting on top of Hill 210 was particularly singled out but most of the shells were ranging just over the tank, landing among 'E' Troop gun pits, killing Gunner Banbury which did not go down at all well with his mates who made a few choice comments about tanks being so close at hand. Also wounded were Gunners Allen and McCricket and Pak Jai-sok, one of 'E' Troop's loyal porters. Such are the hazards of war,''''

Actually Gunner Michael Banbury was severely wounded on the 27th of August in 1952 by a penetrating shell splinter wound to the abdomen and was evacuated to 8055 MASH [Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] but died the next day on the 28th of August in 1952. Gunner Michael Banbury was buried Plot 31, Row 9,  Grave 7, at Pusan Cemetery, on the 2nd of September in 1952 at 13.40hrs by the Rev. J F Lyall.

Gunner Michael Banbury was only 22 years old, five feet seven inches tall, weighed 170lbs and had red hair when he died.

Awarded the British and United Nations Korean medals.

An interesting point to the story is that Doctor Richard Hornberger was serving at 8055 MASH, in Korea, at the same time as Gunner Michael Banbury was taken to this Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Doctor Richard Hornberger wrote the book which resulted in the film and hit T.V. series 'M.A.S.H.' The last episode of this famous comedy T.V. series, about a Field Hospital in Korea, was on the 28th of February in 1983 and was watched by a record breaking 121 million viewers in America.  


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Even in 1952 the British Army was very careful and professional when dealing with those who had died. Gunner Michael Banbury's body came directly from the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital but the British Army personnel were extremely careful when identifying the body and the recording process was fully documented. 

Here are some parts of the forms used when they dealt with the body of Gunner Michael Banbury.

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Most emotive presentation honoring a gallant individual.  8055 MASH [Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] was a U.S. unit thus explaining DD Form 511 for non-U.S. citizens as indicated by Report of Interment overstamps. 

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Many thanks for the update, I did not even realise this was an America form and it make sense that the 8055 MASH would have completed the documentation. It was the story of ''Gunner Michael Banbury'' I just could not resist because military medals are not really in my collecting area. Although I have one or two examples in my collection.


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