Memorial to lost Spalding soldier hits home

Jack Tyrrell pictured with Gordon's medals beside his memorial at the council offices.
Jack Tyrrell pictured with Gordon's medals beside his memorial at the council offices.

A councillor spotted his wife’s maiden name as he walked through the district council foyer ... and found it was a memorial for her late uncle.

Coun Jack Tyrrell, who represents Long Sutton, says his family have often talked about Gordon Shiell, who was killed in action in Korea in 1952 when just 19-years-old.

But Jack, elected to the district council last May, had visited the council’s Priory Road offices for many years until the name suddenly leapt out at him.

He said: “I have been walking by there for years – I can’t believe I have been walking by without seeing his name before.”

It’s a matter of family pride that Gordon’s name lives on because he was missed off the war memorial in Ayscoughfee Gardens, Spalding, and his brother, Norman, pressed for him to be recognised with a proper memorial recognising the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country.

Norman lived long enough to witness Gordon’s name being added to The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment’s Roll of Honour at the council offices.

Gordon Shiell's medals awarded for service in Korea. ANL-160315-144015001

Gordon Shiell's medals awarded for service in Korea. ANL-160315-144015001

A memorial plaque was unveiled in spring 2003 by then council chairman, Fred Fretwell, with the then chairman of the Royal Lincolnshire and Royal Anglian Regimental Association, Trevor Snell, by his side. A second memorial was unveiled to another 19-year-old, Sam Warboys.

Mr Snell said then: “Both of them are Spalding boys. Two young men not out of their teens went off to war and we had to leave them in a foreign land.”

Jack and wife Lynda, who is Norman’s daughter, have a collection of poignant memorabilia from Gordon’s too short life, including two medals earned during his service in Korea, postcards he wrote home and the last-ever photograph he had taken in March 1952. Gordon was killed on July 28, 1952.

Also in the family’s collection is the heartbreaking United Nations Command letter to Gordon’s family, who then lived in Spalding’s Park Road, signed by United States Army General Mark W. Clark, who described the “untimely death of your son” as a “tragic loss”.

Jack said as Norman got older, he often spoke about Gordon.

Earlier in his life he had photographed his brother’s last resting place in Korea.