The Korean revolution lost one of its last great original fighters on 7 November 2015, when Marshal Ri Ul Sol passed away at the age of 94, after a long battle with lung cancer.
Comrade Ri, who also held important party and state posts in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), participated in the anti-Japanese revolutionary guerrilla struggle alongside the Korean revolutionary leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.
During the Fatherland Liberation War against US imperialism and its allies (1950-53), he was personally responsible for the security of Comrade Kim Il Sung and defended him with his life.
According to an obituary published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 8 November, Comrade Ri was “born into a poor peasant family in Kim Chaek City, North Hamgyong Province on 14 September 1921.
“Ri was an anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter and veteran revolutionary loyal to the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), [who] devoted his all to winning the victory in the cause of national and class liberation and developing the Korean People’s Army (KPA) into an invincible revolutionary armed force.
“He dedicated his all to the sacred cause of liberating the country by participating in the anti-Japanese armed struggle led by President Kim Il Sung in the dark period of the Japanese imperialist rule …
“As regiment commander and vice division commander in charge of military affairs of the KPA during the Fatherland Liberation War, he made great contributions to beating back the US imperialists’ invasion and winning the victory in the war and performed distinguished feats in defending the Korean revolution as chief adjutant of Kim Il Sung.
“Holding important posts of the guard unit and the supreme command after working as commanding officer of a combined unit and large combined units of the KPA after the war, he devoted himself to firmly establishing the unitary leadership of the supreme commander over the whole army, thoroughly implementing the party’s juche-based military line and firmly guaranteeing the revolutionary cause … with matchless military muscle.”
He was awarded the title of KPA Marshal in October 1995, one of just a handful of people ever to be appointed to this rank.
The obituary said that though Ri passed away, the exploits he performed for the party, the revolution, the country and its people would shine forever with the triumphant advance of the revolution.
Comrade Ri was accorded a state funeral, during which many thousands of working people in the DPRK capital Pyongyang lined the streets to pay their last respects as his remains were carried on an armoured personnel carrier to a ceremony at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery, where the Korean leader Comrade Kim Jong Un placed earth on his coffin with his bare hands.
In a letter of condolence to Comrade Kim Jong Un, the leadership of the CPGB-ML noted: “We have been touched by the moving tributes paid to Comrade Ri Ul Sol over the recent days since he passed away by the Korean people, and especially by you personally, showing the great moral obligation that characterises the Korean revolutionary tradition.”