Memorial service planned for former Corby steelworker who served in Korean War

The memorial service will be at St Ninians Church on September 16
Alfred ThomsonAlfred Thomson
Alfred Thomson

A Korean War veteran who moved to Corby and worked at the steelworks has died aged 93.

A memorial service is being held later this month for Alfred Thomson, who was very much part of the Corby community after moving to the area and becoming a church elder, caretaker at Tresham College and playing bowls in the town.

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Alfred served in the Korean War for seven months, but did not speak much of his time there, only ever really mentioning that it was ‘so cold’ and that if it hadn’t been for the Americans, they would have frozen to death or starved.

Alfred Thomson with wife Dorothy and children Fiona, Stewart, and PaulineAlfred Thomson with wife Dorothy and children Fiona, Stewart, and Pauline
Alfred Thomson with wife Dorothy and children Fiona, Stewart, and Pauline

In 2010, Alfred received a letter from Lee Myung-bak, the president of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) at the time. The letter extended gratitude to Alfred and all Korean War veterans, honouring their ‘selfless sacrifice in fighting tyranny and aggression’, saluting their ‘courage in enduring the unimaginable horrors of war’, and paying tribute to their ‘commitment in protecting liberty and freedom’.

Alfred was born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, May 25, 1929. He was part of a family of 12, with six boys and six girls. His father died when he was eight-years-old, leaving just his mother to care for the family.

He attended the local school until he was 13, when he had to leave to earn money for the family.

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At 18, Alfred was called up for National Service and went to Fort George for training. Further training was conducted at Woolwich (South East England), where he joined the Royal Artillery.

Medals from Alfred's time served in KoreaMedals from Alfred's time served in Korea
Medals from Alfred's time served in Korea

In 1947 he had a brief stint in Germany before travelling to Andover in 1948.

In 1949 he went to Dundonald Camp in Ayrshire, signing on for a short service engagement of three years in the regular army. In August of that year his troop were sent to Hong Kong.

In September 1950 he was stationed in South Korea and stayed until March 1951, after which he returned to Hong Kong and would stay until September 1952.

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Alfred completed his three years of service in March 1953, returning to Andover where he was discharged from the army.

He returned to his home town of Ellon, working for the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board.

It was in Ellon where Alfred would meet his wife, Dorothy, at a marquee dance. The pair would soon move south to Corby where Alfred worked in the coke ovens in the steelworks.

They have three children, Fiona, 61, Stewart, 60, and Pauline, 58, and would try to get back to Ellon as much as possible.

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Alfred worked in the steelworks until its closure in 1980, after which he worked in Tresham College, Corby, as a caretaker until his retirement at 65.

He was involved with the local community and was a church elder at St Ninians Church of Scotland for 30 years. In his spare time he played bowls at the Grampian.

Wife Dorothy told the Northants Telegraph: “He was a community man and a bit of a family man too, he liked the grandchildren.

"He was good when the family were young."

Alfred has had a pure cremation but there will be a memorial service at St Ninians Church of Scotland, Beanfield Avenue, on September 16 at 11.30am.

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