How we insure history

How we insure history.  It is a proud moment when you remember that insuring important historical artefacts is part of a bigger picture, part of a story that touches many people’s lives, over many years, across the globe.

This story begins 51 years ago in Korea…

During the Korean War, in June 1953, the month of the Coronation, British forces were hard-pressed by the Communist forces and a Royal Artillery unit was trying to keep the enemy at bay. As a gesture to the Communists, who had been taunting the British that the King was dead, it was decided to fire shells with a mix of high explosive and red, white and blue smoke – and to have Coronation celebrations involving the British troops. Douglas Leyland, an RA soldier, added to the celebrations by providing a beautifully made, hand-painted banner.

This banner returned with the troops to the UK at the time of the Korean War ceasefire and was eventually was lost. It was not until many years later that it was spotted on eBay by a Korean person who recognised its huge significance. The people of South Korea are grateful to this day for the efforts made by UK and UN forces to keep them free after the Communist North invaded in 1950. As such, he bought the banner and asked the South Korean Government to try to return the banner to the Royal Artillery, in suitably ceremonious circumstances.

At this point, the banner was destined to be sent to the Korean Cultural Centre in London, an establishment that we provide insurance for, in preparation for handover to the Royal Artillery.

Paul Wadey, of the Korean Cultural Centre, took on the task of tracing as many people as possible who were involved in the Coronation party, and in making the banner – and found that the artist, Douglas Leyland, was still alive. When contacted, Douglas was understandably delighted to find that the banner he had painted all those years ago had survived and was to be presented to the RA with Korean and UK Government representation.

On 13th May 2014, the Coronation Banner painted by Douglas Leyland to decorate front-line Coronation Celebrations on June 2nd 1953 was returned to the UK. Many veterans, including Douglas attended the handover and we were proud to have provided the insurance for this very special piece of history.

The Insurance Experts insure the Korean Embassy and their Korean Cultural Centre in London. This includes artefacts and exhibits, which from time to time arrive in the UK to be shown as part of cultural events. If you would like to know more about insuring unusual artefacts, get in touch!