On the 22nd June 1950 the North Korean Army struck south over the 38th Parallel without warning into the heart of South Korea - sweeping aside units of the United States army and the Republic of Korea Forces.
At this tine, several Royal Navy ships were exercising and cruising in the China Sea.
Onboard these ships were men from various units of the British army of the Far East. HM Ships Alacrity, Hart, Jamaica and the Black Swan were soon placed on a war footing.
HMS Jamaica under- the command at Captain JSC Salter, RN accompanied by Black Swan was detached from exercises with Belfast, Triumph and the Cossack were ordered to proceed to the east coast of Korea through the Shimonosiki Straits where they joined up with the US ships Juneau and Collett, commanded by Rear Admiral Higgins, USN.
From the 6th to the 8th at July, Jamaica was ordered to engage traffic coming south along the coast road. On the 8th the ship steamed slowly close to shore and bombarded the coast road with the main armament. A mobile battery of the North Korean army replied and the Jamaica turned seaward away from the coast to increase the range but one of the shells from ashore hit the mainmast and exploded. The soldiers were assisting the gun crews and whilst the shell did little damage to the structure of the ship it had the effect of killing 2 men and injuring 10 others, 4 of whom died later!
They were: -
Able Seaman J.D. MAWDSLEY 19 Royal Navy HMS Jamaica 08 July
Sergeant B. FINCH 25 1 Middlesex HMS Jamaica 08 July 1950
Corporal S.G. LONG 20 1 Middlesex HMS Jamaica 08 July 1950
Gunner R.J. BARWICK 25 Royal Artillery HMS Jamaica 08 July 1950
Gunner K. JEPSON 21 Royal Artillery HMS Jamaica 08 July 1950
Sergeant F.T. MERSH 27 Royal Artillery HMS Jamaica 08 July 1950
Due to the hot weather at that time and the little likelihood of reaching port these men were buried at sea.
The burial service was conducted by the Chaplain of Jamaica, the Reverend Raymond Lowe, RN, with Commander IWT Below RN (later Vice Admiral Sir, KBE, CB, DSC, Royal Navy, and Captain JSG Salter, DSO, later Vice Admiral Sir CB, DSO, OBE, Royal Navy.
These men must have been the first British servicemen in Korea.
On 17th September 1950 whilst operating off the west coast, Jamaica was attacked by an aircraft with cannon fire resulting in 1 man being killed and 2 wounded.
Died of wounds, Ord. Seaman Ron AJ Godsall 18, Royal Navy HMS Jamaica 23 September 1950.
The Jamaica went into refit in Singapore during October 1950 later joining the Mediterranean Fleet and was present in the Suez Operation.
She was paid off into extended reserve on September 5th, 1957 thus ending 15 years of distinguished service and gaining 5 battle honours the last of which was 'Korea 1950'.