A very fine and well documented Korea casualty, Cyprus EOKA emergency and British Empire Medal grouping awarded to Private T.J. Harris, Welch Regiment, later Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 T.J. Harris, Royal Regiment of Wales who served in Korea from 10th October 1951 until 28th January 1952 being wounded on 10th December 1951 during an attempted prisoner snatch on a hill sustaining gun shot wounds to his left leg and right thigh. After recuperation he would return to his unit, seeing service in Cyprus during the EOKA Emergency. He would be awarded the British Empire Medal in the London Gazette of 3rd June 1972 for playing a prominent part in the recruitment and setting up of a company of the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Wales, Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve. He would leave the Army in September 1972 with a glowing testimonial.
Group of 4: British Empire Medal, EIIR, Military Division; (22359963 ACT. W/O. II. TERENCE J. HARRIS. R.R.W.) Korea Medal 1950-1953, 1st type bust; (22359963 PTE. T.J. HARRIS. WELCH.) United Nations Medal for Korea; General Service Medal 1918-1962, EIIR, Dei.Grat bust 1 Clasp: Cyprus; (22359963 SGT. T. HARRIS. WELCH.) Court-mounted for display.
Condition: court-mounted for display, minor contact wear, Good Very Fine
Box of issue for British Empire Medal
Forwarding slip and envelope for British Empire Medal, the slip named to ‘Warrant Officer Class II Terence J. Harris, B.E.M., The Royal Regiment of Wales.
Matching miniature group
Post Office Telegram dated 10th December 1951 informing Mrs M. Harris that her son, Terence had been wounded in action on 10th December 1951.
Infantry Record Office letter dated 11th December 1951 informing Mrs. Harris her son had been wounded.
A further letter from the Infantry Record Office dated 14th December 1951 informing Mrs. Harris her son had sustained Gun Shot wounds in the left leg and right thigh.
A letter from his platoon commander regarding the circumstances of his wounding.
Commemorative Medallion for 250 Years of the Welch Regiment (1719-1969), the reverse engraved ’15 W/O II T J HARRIS’
Letter dated 2nd June 1972 from Lieutenant Colonel B.M. Pim, 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales congratulating him on the award of his British Empire Medal.
Letter dated 5th June 1972 from Major B.J. Watkins, 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales congratulating him on the award of his British Empire Medal.
Letter dated 5th June 1972 from W.O. 1 W.J. Evans, Royal Regiment of Wales, congratulating him on the award of his British Empire Medal in the Birthday Honours.
Letter dated 7th June 1972 from Lieutenant Colonel F.C. Batten, Royal Regiment of Wales, congratulating him on the award of his British Empire Medal.
The Welch Regiment cap badge.
The recipients Regular Army Certificate of Service.
Three photographs of the recipient, one of which is a single photograph of him in the field, another with two comrades on parade, and the third in civilian clothes with five others in Hong Kong.
Book – The Welch Regiment (41st and 69th Foot) 1881-1969.
Terence J. Harris enlisted at Brecon on 6th September 1950 and would serve in Korea as a Private (No. 22359963) in the Welch Regiment from 10th October 1951 until 28th January 1952 being wounded in action on 10th December 1951 sustaining gun shot wounds to his left leg and right thigh. His Platoon Commander covers the events of his wounding in more detail:
‘Dear Mrs Harris,
I am sorry to be writing to you but I thought that you would like to know how your son came to be wounded.
Before I tell you how it happened I would like you to know that I am not writing in my formal capacity as Platoon Commander but more in the nature of a friend who realises how worried you must be. I have been in contact with the Doctor and can honestly tell you that no damage has been done and that after a nice safe, lazy time in hospital convalescing, your son will be as right as rain suffering no ill effects.
The facts that were that the Company had moved onto a hill in no-mans land, that we knew the enemy patrolled at night, with the object of capturing a prisoner. They realised after a brief recce that we were quite strong and brought up strong reinforcements. During one of the many little attacks that they put in I was up with the then defending section with Pte Harris, in his capacity as my runner, a couple of yards behind me. A ‘burp’ gunner opened on us from a nearby ridge and your son was hit. All he said was quietly ‘I’ve been hit it’s in my legs’ I called up my Platoon Sergeant who got him out of danger and dressed his wounds. When the situation eased I went over to see him and he appeared to be as comfortable as possible. We got him out at the first opportunity.
I’m afraid that this must sound very cold and sad but I’m afraid that war is not a very glorious affair.
We are all very sorry that this happened for your son was very popular. As you probably know he was my batman, out here where a batman and officers live together you get to know each other pretty well and I feel that I have lost a friend for a while.
Put your mind at rest, Mrs Harris, there is nothing to worry about, it is only a fresh wound and only a question of time before your son is fit and well again.
I must apologise for the writing but I am writing this on my knee in my dugout by the light of a proverbial flickering candle.’
After recuperation he would return to his unit and would see service in Cyprus during the EOKA Emergency.
Harris would later receive a British Empire in the Birthday Honours List in the London Gazette of 3rd June 1972, the recommendation for this award as follows:
Sergeant (Acting Warrant Officer Class II) Harris has been a PSI with this Battalion since 20th June 1969. His first 21 months with the Battalion, at that time designated the Welsh Volunteers, were spent with B Company at Newport where he was the senior PSI and as such did exceptionally good work. In April 1971, however when the TAVR expanded, the Welsh Volunteers were disbanded and used to form a nucleus for two new TAVR Battalions. At this stage A/WO Harris II was transferred to Abertillery where a completely new Company was to be formed as part of the new 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales.
Throughout his Army Career A/WOII Harris has always been noted for his energy and drive. At not time, however, have these qualities been more apparent and more profitably directed that in the last ten months. As the only PSI and regular soldier in the new Company, the main burden and responsibility for recruiting men for this new sub-unit devolved on A/WO II Harris. He willingly and enthusiastically accepted the challenge. In the succeeding ten months, by his quiet determination, exceptional zeal and remarkable resourcefulness A/WO II Harris has raised over 60% of the full establishment and is still drawing in fresh recruits. In itself this is commendable effort but is not rested there. Using his forceful personality and dynamic drive he has forged this raw material into a thoroughly effective and happy company.
No man has or could have worked harder to make this new Company a success. There keenness, efficiency and cheerful ‘esprit de corps’ reflect the inspired leadership high standards and dedication of A/WOII Harris. It is typical of his unassuming character that he disclaim all credit for this. Nevertheless he alone, by his tireless effort and selfless devotion – far above the normal call of duty – and his superb personal example has accomplished this notable success.
A/WO II Harris is due to leave the Army in September 1972 and official recognition now of his many years of loyal service, and his recent magnificent contribution to the effectiveness, standing and sense of purpose of the TAVR and this Battalion would be justly deserved and warmly welcomed by his regiment.’
His Assessment of Military Conduct and Character in his red book, dated Cardiff 1st July 1971 reads:
‘Sergeant Major Harris has served in the Regular Army for 22 years during which time he has seen active serve in Korea and in the Middle East. He has proved to be an exceptional soldier who throughout his service has shown the best qualities of conscientiousness, responsibility, devotion, integrity and loyalty. Apart from having a great capacity for hard work he is also a tremendous enthusiast and inspires others by his example of personal leadership and dedication. A man of high moral principles and trustworthiness he can be recommended unreservedly to any potential employer for his ability, qualities and strong personality. He will be a great loss to the Army.