Slim died on 29 June 2011, aged almost 82 years.

Sgt BE Summerfield
Sgt BE Summerfield

He enlisted at Brighton on 16 January 1946 and did his initial training with 90 Primary Training Unit.

He joined The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in Lingen on 26 January 1947, joining ‘B’ Squadron. He was appointed Lance Corporal on 14 January 1947.

He moved with the Regiment to Leicester East Airfield on 19 March 1948. ‘B’ Squadron took on the role of the Demonstration Squadron at The School of Infantry at Warminster on 24 October 1949. Slim went with them. He had been promoted to Corporal on 30 June 1949.

He sailed for Korea with ‘B’ Squadron on 11 October 1950 on ‘The Empire Fowey’, arriving at Pusan on 14 November 1950.

On arrival at Pusan, ‘B’ Squadron went by train into North Korea and stopped one station short of the capital Pyongyang when the Chinese entered Korea and drove south in large numbers. This caused the UN Forces to retire and ‘B’ Squadron had to unload their Centurions from the railway wagons and join the UN movement to the south, where they suffered the appalling Korean winter.

‘B’ Squadron’s major activities started in the Spring of 1951 when they were located south of the River Imjin. They undertook many patrols over the Imjin to dominate No Man’s Land, culminating in the Lowther Force operation where the Centurions and 29 Brigade Infantry undertook a major sortie into Chinese-held territory.

On return ‘B’ Squadron moved south and was replaced by ‘C’ Squadron who faced a major attack by the Chinese which became known as the Battle of the Imjin, where ‘C’ Squadron’s actions were responsible for covering the successful withdrawal of many of 29 Brigade Infantry.

‘B’ Squadron then returned south of the Imjin and carried out further sorties as the Chinese were unable to hold the land they had occupied and returned to the north of the Imjin.

After the formation of the 1st Commonwealth Division they carried out Operation Commando to move the UN line six miles north of the Imjin and ‘B’ Squadron supported the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in their capture of three major hills.

‘B’ Squadron remained supporting the Infantry in major Chinese attempts to recapture their lost territory until they left for Pusan to return to the UK on MV Georgie. During all these activities Slim was a Centurion Tank Commander in 3 Troop commander by Lt. (later Colonel) C.D. B. Troughton CBE Mc and whose Troop Sergeant was Sgt. Ron Canaby.

He was promoted to Sergeant on 3 October 1951. He returned to England on the ‘MV Georgie’ on 15 December 1951, arriving on 14 January 1952.

After taking leave, Slim went with the Regiment to Lüneburg on 21 March 1952, spending a year there, before returning to England on release, which he took on 14 May 1953.

On return to civilian life, he joined the Merchant Navy.

On leaving this he became an electrician Stage Hand at the Victoria Palace, where he met Avril, a dancer, whom he married on 9 March 1975 at Barking, Essex. They had a daughter Samantha.

Avril was his second wife.

He then worked for Harris Paint Brushes as a Salesman, and by all accounts was a very successful one.

His final post, until shortly before his death, was on the administrative side at Romford Market.

He rejoined the Regimental Association in 1994. Slim was a loyal, active and supportive member of the Regimental Association, attending the London Dinner and Troop Dinners at Leicester and Eastbourne.

He was also a regular supporter of the annual ‘Irish Regimentals’ Parade and Service at the Cenotaph in June.

As Secretary and Treasurer of The North London Branch of The British Korean Veterans’ Association, he took great delight in furthering the ideals of the Association.

The Annual General Meeting of The South-East Area was always held at their venue at Stratford in January.

For the last year of his life, he was the Chairman of the South-East Area B.K.V.A and a very good Chairman he was.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Korea 1950-51