This year marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the war in Korea (June 1950 – July 1953).
Whilst the Green Howards did not serve in Korea as a regiment, a number of individuals from the regiment went on to join other units, or were seconded to other regiments and saw action in Korea. One of those was the then Captain Richard Ralph Gower Godson Noyes OBE, whose medals are on display in our Medal Room.
The son of a Green Howard; Richard’s father, Ralph Elliot Noyes, commanded the 10th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (as the Green Howards were known at the time) during the First World War. He led the Battalion to France on 10th September 1915.
On the 25th the battalion was detailed for the British offensive taking place at Loos, where the objective was Hill 70, a low hill with bare sides, lying to the east of Loos and a heavily fortified German strong point.
By the 26th, the unit, together with others having the same objective, was already at the limits of physical endurance, but they succeeded in pushing over the top of the crest, being cut down as they tried to advance further.
The 10th Yorkshires lost their Commanding Officer and the next three senior officers, one of whom was Major Noyes, all within a few moments of each other.
Ralph Noyes has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing in Dud Corner Cemetery. Captain Noyes left behind a widow, Florence and a 2-year old son, Richard.
In his father’s footsteps
When he grew up, Richard followed his father into the regiment; commissioned as a 2nd-Lieutenant on 31 August 1931.
Promoted to Lieutenant on 31 August 1936 he transferred from the Green Howards to the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) in March the following year and served with them throughout the Second World War.
Noyes was Mentioned in Despatches in 1945 and, the same year, invested into the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services in Italy.
By the time of the Korean War, Richard Noyes had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and as a consequence of his ‘Gallant and Distinguished service’ in Korea, 1 – 23 July 1953’ he was awarded the OBE. He retired from service in March 1960 and died on 15th August 1992 in Nottinghamshire.
Noyes served with the Green Howards for five years. His army career spanned four decades. But, such is the feeling of family that soldiers have for their original regiment, Richard Noyes’ medal group, which includes his United Nations Service Medal for Korea, was given to our museum by his family in 1994. Visitors can see Richard Noyes’ medals in the Medal Room in case 38, row 1.
Richard had donated his father’s medals to the museum in 1985. They are also on display in the Medal Room (case 20, row 5).
Volunteer research helps us bring you stories like this. If you enjoyed finding out about Noyes’ story, why not support the museum with a donation. Donate here.