Pte Horace Madden GC & Pte Basil  Dillon –

Missing from Korean Roll of Honour

The vast War Memorial of Korea in Seoul opened in 1994, and has an extensive display on the history of the Korean War, as well as the military history of Korea before and after the ‘fratricidal war.’

The Korean War gallery’s history of the war is naturally enough from the South Korean point of view, and features some effective dioramas as well as equipment and documentary material. There is a big outdoor section with a replica B52 and patrol boat and many other aircraft, tanks and artillery pieces.

From an Australian point of view there are omissions and inaccuracies. The omission is Kapyong, and the inaccuracies concern the battle of Maryang San in the one display in the Korean War gallery.

More troubling is the omission of at least two names from the Roll of Honour in the cloisters beside the entrance.  The Korean version was copied from the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.  It differs in one significant respect. The Australian Roll of Honour names our 102,000 war dead – that is those members of the armed forces who died while in service of their country, whatever the circumstances.

The Korean Roll of Honour names those ‘killed in action.’

The Australian Roll of Honour rightly contains the names of Horace ‘Slim’ Madden GC who died while a prisoner of war, and Private Basil Dillon, who was an accidental ‘non battle’ casualty according to the AWM roll of honour entry. Newspaper reports at the time list him as being killed in action just after the battle of Pakchon in November 1950.

Both Madden and Dillon are buried at the UN Cemetery in Busan and named on the comprehensive Wall of Remembrance there. They should also be named on the Roll of Honour at the Korean War Memorial.

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Two Brothers – War Memorial of Korea

The Two Brothers statue stands outside the memorial.  It is a rather sentimental representation of reunification what is often called the ‘fratricidal war’.

A tall South Korean soldier, weapon on his back, clasps a smaller drooping, supplicating North Korean. They are brothers reunited on the battlefield, standing above a fractured hemisphere representing Korea. It is said to be a real story, but no one has the names, or any details of where the brothers met, or what happened to them.

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The statue symbolises what many Koreans – especially the thousands of families who still have relatives in the north – reunification. It could be that the reunification they want is at the family level. Many Koreans, especially the K-pop gangnam-style generation, without a family connection would be happy if North Korea just went away.

Two Brothers is adjacent to the Korean War Monument – a 31metre tall bronze sword surrounded by two monumental sculpture groups of 38 near-life-size figures representing ‘the sublime selfless spirit of the patriotic martyrs.’

Not far away is the Peace Clock Tower – featuring two sisters. One, kneeling, clasps a clock with the date 25 June 1950, the date of the North Korean invasion.  The other holds a clock, showing the current time, which plays ‘the melody of peace’ on the hour, and ‘represents the time that permanently moves toward the bright and prosperous future of the Korean people.’

(Quotes from the War Memorial of Korea catalogue, Seoul, 2012)

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