Korean War 1950 - 1953
2nd Lieutenant JONATHAN WORMALD 415609 Royal Norfolk Regiment who died 30 May 1952. Son of John and Dorothy Wormald of Heathfield, Humbletoft, Dereham. Commemorated on the UN Wall of Remembrance, Pusan, Korea
NOTE Jonathan Wormald added to Dereham War Memorial 2011.
The following information came from Chris Sparrow, a teacher at Summer Fields in Oxford, the school attended by Jonathan. November 2020.
Lieutenant Jonathan Wormald (2043) was born in 1932 a twin. He came to Summer
Fields with his brother, Thomas, in 1940. Thomas played for the cricket XI in 1944
and the rugby XV in 1944-5, but Jonathan played for all three top teams in his final
two years. They both went on to Eton in 1945, after which Thomas went on to Christ
Church, Oxford and subsequently worked with the Forestry Department in Kenya.
Jonathan, however, joined the army and was to be killed in action in Korea on May 30th
On May 29th Wormald led a force of three officers and some 40 men through dense
Korean jungle with the express task of capturing a prisoner alive for questioning. His
party were to establish two firm bases (FBs) from which a raiding party would be sent
out with Wormald at its head to capture a Korean. The patrol set out at 2015 hours and
the first base was soon established. Half a mile or so further into the jungle the second
base (FB2) was set up with 20 men, under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Towell, and
by 2325 hours the assaulting party moved forward from it. They climbed steadily up
hill towards their objective, but nothing was heard from them at the second base.
Prearranged ‘silent’ radio signals were not transmitted and the first that the bases knew
of the assault party was shortly after midnight. The Regimental History continues the
Then, suddenly at 0015 hrs there was a roar of firing. Stens, Brens and Chinese burp
guns could be heard by FB2.
As there was still no message on the radio 2nd Lieutenant Towell assumed the
group was in contact with the enemy and all was well. He did, however, take the
precaution of calling down pre-arranged artillery fire programmes beyond the patrol’s
objective to prevent, if possible, enemy reinforcements being committed to the
As it turned out the assault group had reached a point just short of the objective
and had begun changing formation from single file to extended line ready to advance
the final few yards. The men to the left of the patrol commander were in position and
those to the right almost, when suddenly from uphill forward of them the enemy
opened up with heavy rifle and automatic fire.”
In the first burst of fire 2nd Lieutenant Wormald and four men on his left were
wounded and in the momentary confusion that followed the men on the right became
Besides possible sketchy reports of Wormald being carried off on a stretcher by the
enemy he was never seen or heard of again. This was despite the second in command,
Towell, leading two search parties, under heavy enemy fire, to look for Wormald and
other casualties. Towell won the M.C. for his efforts.
Jonathan is also commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial
at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
I would be interested in any further information about Jonathan. Also, are there other Dereham men or women that have been lost in forgotten wars such as Malaya, Aden, Indonesia, Northern Ireland, Falklands and the Gulf. If there are they should be properly commenerated as were the men of World Wars One and Two.
I am grateful to Frank Jarrett for what little information that I have.