The Imjin and Kapyong Battles, Korea, 1951 (Twentieth-Century Battles)

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Sheds new light on fighting "the forgotten war". Check your local Dymocks store for stock. Enter your postcode: Please enter a valid postcode. Please note that prices may vary between www.

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They were outstanding, as always. I also want to thank the young men from 3RAR who were there. As I said in my speech last week, they told me that they were there for their good looks, but I do wonder how they got a gig! But they were there and they were incredibly respectful, and they had a number of little commemorative services around each of those graves at Busan. It was wonderful to travel with them. In my speech last week on the Korean War, I mentioned two very moving stories. I want to mention just one more today. Vince volunteered and, once he had signed up, his letters to the family trickled to very little contact.

His sudden death in uncertain circumstances on a frozen battlefield in plunged his mother into a deep depression. But Thelma Healy was determined to say farewell to her son. She vowed that, before she died, she would find her son's grave and say goodbye. This began a year odyssey that eventually took Thelma, on her own, on a 15,kilometre journey halfway around the world to war-torn Busan in Korea in , through a variety of transport mechanisms. Being a woman of no means, and with nine other children to feed and clothe, Thelma had to scrimp and save, sew and slave, to raise the money needed for her epic voyage.

But she got there in the end to bid farewell to her much-loved son. She was an extraordinary woman. There are so many stories like this around the Korean War. Lest we forget. Rick Wilson O'Connor, Liberal Party Share this Link to this Hansard source Before the member for Canning leaves, I would like to mention what a great privilege it is to follow him, a decorated former member of the Australian Defence Force , in this address. Considering the context of the matter we are discussing here today, I would also like to mention the member for Canning's service in Afghanistan.

We are so blessed in this country that young men and women are prepared to volunteer their services to protect our values. I thank the member for Canning for that. The motion before the House today is one of great importance, particularly in , the 65th year since the two major battles of the Korean War. As the member for Canning mentioned, the Korean War is often referred to as the 'forgotten war'.

Australians fought and died in Korea, yet the veterans of this conflict have not always received the recognition they deserve. But I will return to this thought in a moment. Over three days in April , the combined forces held their ground against a Chinese and North Korea n offensive on Seoul. The enemy's forces numbered close to , On 23 April, the 27th Commonwealth Brigade was ordered forward to the valley of the Kapyong River, where a critical route ran south through the region. Faced with a requirement to cover a seven-kilometre front, the commander of the 27th Brigade accepted it would be impossible to establish a continuous defensive line.

Instead, he set about creating strong points to block and contain any enemy offensive.

The Imjin and Kapyong Battles, Korea, 1951

One of the first battalions deployed, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment , was sent to hold the high ground to the east of the river. The men of 3 RAR halted the Chinese advance in their sector, and no further attempts were made to break through on the eastern flank of the British brigade. But the battle cost the Australians dearly: 32 men were killed, 59 were wounded and three were captured as they withstood a continuous attack by a far more numerous Chinese force for more than 24 hours.

Six months later, the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment was again involved in one of the most momentous Australian actions of the Korean War. The attack was named after hill , the largest of those hills, also known as Maryang San. The capture of hill was particularly significant because it allowed UN forces to push the Chinese troops back several kilometres. But it came at a price: 20 Australians died in this conflict and a further 89 were wounded. These two battles speak of the resounding courage and resilience of the Australian troops who fought in the Korean War.

Our soldiers fought to defend democracy and the values that we treasure in Australia. Those values are now upheld in South Korea , which I consider to be one of the great success stories of the 20th century. Yet the veterans of this conflict do not always receive our gratitude to the extent that they deserve.

I would like to share, if I may, the story of Richard Woodhams , better known to his friends and family as Dick. Dick Woodhams enlisted in the Australian Army in at the age of A member of the 6th platoon, 3rd battalion, he fought in the Battle of Maryang San 65 years ago. Now 85, he resides in Albany, the same town where I live with my family in the electorate of O'Connor. In regard to the notion of the forgotten war, he had this to say:.

The conflict in Korea may not be recognised as one of great significance for Australians, but for veterans like Dick the memories of this war still linger on. He still remembers the cries of the Chinese troops as the 3rd battalion sprayed machine gun fire across the hills near Imjin. These men deserve our respect and our gratitude. Of the 17, Australians that fought in the Korean War, were killed and another 1, were wounded.

The Korean conflict might be known as the 'forgotten war', but today we have a chance to recognise the Australians who fought for that democracy. I offer my gratitude and respect for every soldier who served in Korea, and I am sure everyone in this chamber would join me in honouring their contribution. Luke Gosling Solomon, Australian Labor Party Share this Link to this Hansard source I am proud to be speaking to this motion regarding recent commemorations in Korea and I particularly want to acknowledge those who fought at the Battles of Kapyong and Maryan San in It is 65 years since those battles, as we have just heard.

We had no ammunition for their American rifles. As had happened the previous day, the situation quickly deteriorated, and Moodie ordered fire into the upper valley. Once the human stampede had passed, everything became oddly quiet. The batteries heaved shells in support of the Australian infantry until 2.

The men laboured on into the night, with all spare hands guarding the roaring field pieces from nearby trenches. By daybreak on April 25 Anzac Day the storm had passed. The exhausted gunners were called on to fire at this and that target through the day, but, across their sector at least, the Chinese advance had been stopped. In 40 hours of almost continuous fighting, 16 Field Regiment had fired 10, rounds in support of the brigade.

In return, the Kiwis knew the Australian battalion in front of them would always stand fast.

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Wrecks were cleared from the lines and bridges rebuilt in incredibly short periods of time. With the conflict having disintegrated into a bruising war of attrition and tedious negotiation, public interest in Korea evaporated. New Zealanders back home let their attention wander. Returning temporarily to New Zealand to help train new recruits in Waiouru and Papakura, he took time out to meet up with his old mates in Devonport. There was to be no rousing homecoming. For the Koreans, there was never any prospect of glory. And to little purpose. Its importance lies in the fact that it has led to the rearming of America.

It makes you wonder: Was it worth it? Brian Spence was a year-old jazz drummer when he volunteered for Kayforce.

Lead Up to War

Also, joining up was a chance to see a foreign land, albeit one hardly anyone had heard of. Brian Spence, Army No. Baker Troop was stationed with the Commonwealth forces at the northern end of the valley, hard up against the Chinese line. The account begins on the evening of April 22, I slithered out of my sleeping bag, picked up my rifle and moved outside to the gunpit.

It was a beautiful night. On the part of the front line closest to us, the Chinese on the hilltop ahead had stayed quiet of recent days, so the chance of seeing action seemed slim. The whole thing started at about hours. The Chinese sprang a surprise attack, capturing the post ahead of us just after British troops had been replaced by South Koreans. A clay road ran down the valley. Our position was perilous because the enemy could assail us from the north end of this road, and by attacking the positions to the west British and east Australian , could slip down the ridges and cut off our retreat.

We were unaware of this when, down the road through our sector from the north, we noticed the odd South Korean soldier walking, sometimes running. Put out the fires! Check your rifles! The enemy are putting in a push to recapture Seoul. We had to get our guns into supporting positions further south in the valley.

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In fact, if at this moment the Chinese had chosen to utilise their mortars, we could have been devastated before movement was possible. Seeing all of this we instantly set about preparing the guns for convoy, hearts pounding. Now these men were sprinting in mob chaos towards our position, stumbling and throwing off their equipment and rifles anything that would impede their flight.

The rattle of spasmodic machine-gun fire came from a bend in the road, and bright tracer bullets danced in all directions. The enemy was upon us! I am a trained member of a proficient gun crew. The Number 4 gun moved off first into the sea of shouting men. How long it seemed to take!

In convoy, the guns cannot be deployed and we were therefore helpless, although we were prepared, in the worst case, to unlimber the guns and fire directly on the enemy at point-blank range. What a hell of a position to be in! The roadway was a seething mass of human beings, along with the odd steer, a component of the South Korean Army Service Corps. To these men the tractors, limbers and guns were a ticket to safety, so wherever a foot or hand could hold, they seized and clung on. We completed our withdrawal in the nick of time. Barely half an hour after we reached our new positions, on the morning of the 23rd, the Chinese forces had completely secured the area that had been ours.

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We immediately brought our guns into action, and commenced firing. Short, precise orders from the command post mingled with shouts from the troop and the crashing dissonance of spent charge cases spinning to the edge of the gunpit. The entire area was engulfed in a blue haze of cordite smoke. With mortar, machine gun, rifle and bayonet, the battle continued through that day and night and into the early morning with unceasing ferocity.

Australia and the Korean War - Veterans SA | Veterans SA

The front was a constantly shifting line, so the necessity of following the command-post orders accurately was paramount. One little mistake in coordinates would have resulted in us firing on our own soldiers. The Chinese had driven us back 10 miles in this initial attack but, at approximately 3 A. This time we were not in gunpits but just on the side of the narrow clay road.

We were out on a limb here, devoid of infantry support and alone except for two or three Bren guns. Consequently we were ordered to prepare our guns for destruction to stop them falling into enemy hands. This was achieved by loading a shell into the muzzle and another into the breech.