Korean War veteran from the Fens ‘very proud’ after receiving unexpected lockdown parcel

PUBLISHED: 16:02 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:02 05 June 2020

Derek Goodwin (left) and wife Mary received a parcel containing face masks and a letter written from the Korean embassy to help support them through the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: DAN MASON

Derek Goodwin (left) and wife Mary received a parcel containing face masks and a letter written from the Korean embassy to help support them through the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: DAN MASON

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A 90-year-old war veteran from the Fens has received an unexpected parcel to help him battle through the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek (back, third from left) pictured with members from the Ely branch of the Korea Veterans Association. Picture: DAN MASONDerek (back, third from left) pictured with members from the Ely branch of the Korea Veterans Association. Picture: DAN MASON

Derek Goodwin, from March, was sent a parcel containing face masks and a letter from the Korean embassy in London, thanking him for his service during the Korean War, as well as face masks.

The idea came when secretary of the Korean Veterans Association’s Ely branch, Victoria Coldrey, sent the names of members to the embassy who then posted the parcel to Derek’s home.

“Our secretary at the Ely branch sent our names to the Korean embassy and they got in touch, and it went from there,” he said.

“In the parcel, there is a sticker to put in the window, with six masks and not just ordinary masks, but the real McCoy.”

The medals that Derek won from the Korean War. Picture: DAN MASONThe medals that Derek won from the Korean War. Picture: DAN MASON

Derek, known as ‘Dick’ to many, fought alongside troops from the likes of Great Britain, the United States, Australia and Canada in the war between North and South Korea between 1950 and 1953.

Since he came back home at the end of the war, the former soldier has received many messages of thanks and support for what he did during his time in the Far East.

Derek and wife Mary meet up with members of the Ely branch once a month and were supposed to be attending an event at Buckingham Palace next month to mark the 70th anniversary since the start of the Korean War, but this was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Fenland hero has suffered health issues since returning home, but said he could not be happier with his latest reward.

An official proclamation that Derek previously received, written in both English and Korean. Picture: DAN MASONAn official proclamation that Derek previously received, written in both English and Korean. Picture: DAN MASON

“Since I came back home, I have had three different letters from three different presidents, thanking me for my services and got a peace medal,” Derek said.

“When we went to Korea, the winter was very cold, and it used to freeze to minus 30-40 degrees. I got frostbite in my feet; not enough to lose my toes but I have been suffering ever since.

“I went into hospital this year and they did something with my arteries. Since then, I had a blockage of my heart and had to have a pacemaker fitted.

“When I first came home, I had terrific nightmares. I still have the odd one every now and then. I try to forget it, but you can’t.

“However, I am very grateful to receive the parcel. It makes me feel very proud that they think of us.”


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