The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, said that of the more than 17,000 who served, 340 Australians lost their lives and more than 1,200 were wounded. 21 Nations provided military personnel, medical support or other assets to the United Nations effort in Korea, despite most still recovering from the impact of the Second World War.
“Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to this international endeavour, serving both during the conflict and in the post-armistice period which continued until 1957,” Mr Tehan said. “In Korea Australian service personnel earned international respect for their courage and endurance in battle. Today we pause to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and the debt of gratitude owed to them by all Australians.”
Among the many actions in which Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen were involved in Korea, two in particular, the battles of Kapyong and Maryang San, have become the focus of commemorations. At Kapyong, 32 Australians died in fierce fighting, and the Battle of Maryang San, where 20 Australians died, was described by Official Historian, Robert O’Neill as the greatest single feat of the Australian Army in Korea.
In October last year, eight Australian veterans of the Korean War returned to Korea for the 65th anniversary commemorations of the battles of Kapyong and Maryang San. Minister Tehan said, “I had the pleasure of meeting this group of men both on that mission to the Republic of Korea and at services in Canberra last March to honour their service and sacrifice.”
“Australia owes the men and women who served in Korea our ongoing thanks and gratitude”
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.