Today in History

B-26 Invaders bomb logistics depots in Wonsan, North Korea, 1951

70 years since the start of the Korean War

On Thursday June 25 we acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War and recognise the service and sacrifice of more than 17,000 Australians who fought as part of the United Nations (UN) multinational force defending South Korea from a North Korean invasion.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel who served in the Korean War won international respect for their courage, endurance and combat skills.

“On 25 June 1950, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Army crossed the border into the Republic of Korea capturing Seoul within days – the first major action of the war,” Mr Chester said.

“The first Australian ground troops arrived in Pusan on 27 September 1950 and following three years of fighting an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953 after a long negotiation, however, Australians would remain in Korea for another four years as military observers.”

The Korean War also saw more than 150 Australian nursing sisters serve both in Korea and in a base hospital in Japan.

“Australia suffered some 1,500 casualties during the war and post-Armistice period, including more than 350 who died and 30 who were taken prisoner. Even today, some 40 Australians are listed as missing in action,” Mr Chester said.

“As we acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the start of this conflict, we will remember the dedication and sacrifice of all the Australians who served in the Korean War.”

Marilyn Monroe entertaining a group of troops in Korea – Image from – Credit Bettmann – Corbis

The major units involved in the war included the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment (RAR), HMA Ships Anzac, Arunta, Bataan, Tobruk, Warramunga, Condamine, Culgoa, Murchison, Shoalhaven and Sydney (including Royal Australian Navy 805, 808 and 817 Squadrons) and Royal Australian Air Force No. 77 Squadron.


Above Image: Men from the Royal Australian Regiment, June 1953 “Men of C Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), at Majon’ni in the trenches of left forward Company position on The Hook after relieving 1st Battalion King’s Regiment. The soldier at the back of the group has been identified as Sergeant David Candow, platoon sergeant”