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The Korean War - The Story of Cpl James Ritchie Cron by Dave Williamson


James Ritchie Cron

Born: 11th June 1922 Mochrum, Wigtownshire, Scotland

Died: 3rd October 1951 Korea

James Ritchie Cron was born on the 11th June 1922 in Mochrum, Wigtownshire, Scotland to his parents James Cron (1887 – 1955) and Marion Ritchie (1890 - 1972). He had two sisters named Mary Ann Kellet Cron (1925 – 1990) and Marion Ritchie Cron (1927 – 1998).

James was Presbyterian by religion. He was a member of the Boy Scout movement for two years and as hobbies he enjoyed model making, woodwork and motor boats.

James left school at the very young age of only thirteen with a Standard Class 3 education. He did not attend high school. He went straight to work for J.Jones whom owned a Sawmill. His duties were a “Timber Loader”.

In 1946 James Ritchie Cron married Edith Selena McCracken in Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Scotland.

On the 15th November 1945 at the age of 23, James Ritchie Cron enlisted with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and in January 1956 he celebrated his Passing Out Parade into the Infantry Division. His army number was 14475537

James and his wife were stationed at the Married Quarters of both the Redford Barracks in Edinburgh then later on to Ravenswood in Berwick-On-Tweed.

On the 15th May 1949 James and Selena gave birth to their son, James Robert Cron.

On the 20th July 1949 James Ritchie Cron embarked to Farelf, Hong Kong where he was stationed until the 18th April 1951. During his deployment in Hong Kong, James sat and passed his Corporals exam and was duly promoted to Corporal on the 18th October 1950.

James commanding officer wrote that James was, “A conscientious and reliable N.C.O. who has carried out his duties very satisfactorily. Sober. In general he is quiet by nature but has personality and character”.

On the 19th April 1951 James Ritchie Cron disembarked in Korea with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers to join forces with other British and Australian troops of the 1st Commonwealth Division during the Korean Conflict (25th June 1950 – 27th July 1953).

During the 1st Battle of Maryang-San (3rd October 1951 – 8th October 1951) which is very close to the 38th Parallel, the 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers attacked and dislodged a numerically superior Chinese force outnumbering the allies by almost 10 to 1 from the tactically important Kowang-San Hill 355 in an operation codenamed “Operation Commando”. On the first day of Operation Commando on the 3rd October 1951, Corporal James Cron bravely advanced and over-ran Chinese positions elevated on Hill 355. During this offensive James was mortally wounded from a missile, probably a mortar shell and was Killed in Action. James was 29 years old and left behind a wife, two year old son and grieving parents.

James Ritchie Cron is buried at the Pusan Cemetery in South Korea – Plot 24, Row 12 Grave 1829. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour and his name sits respectively on the War Memorial in Garlieston, Wigtownshire, Scotland.