Dates of Service
DONALD P. SOMERVILLE
Major | Infantry
Only one platoon of the 1st Royal Scots saw combat action in Korea between July 9, 1953 and the armistice that came at the end of the month. The rest of the battalion patrolled, guarded objectives, and trained diligently. For a freshly commissioned Lieutenant, keeping restless men in order was a great responsibility for Somerville, but he was inclined for the job after his school days at Merchiston. In his first year he was quickly appointed second in charge of a dormitory and was not shy of reaming out other students for slacking. It was hardly a surprise when he was appointed a Senior Prefect in his last year. Despite his hard driving attitude, he was a warm and loyal friend to all, even those he reprimanded.
This experience provided him with strong skills for his two years in national service. Though combat was over, the living conditions after July 27 were just the same. The Royal Scots had taken over formidable positions vacated by the Black Watch, their Scottish brethren. They stayed busy in the coming months adapting to the lifestyle of trenches and bunkers and maintaining the quality of the lines.
Even if service before the end of hostilities was brief, Somerville was proud to earn the Queen's Korea Medal, which he wore with pride for the rest of his career that stretched into the 1970s. He remained with the Royal Scots within the Lowland Brigade and offered valuable experience from his time on line in Korea, a time and place that he carried with him for the rest of his life.
(1) The Merchistonian 2017 Club Magazine