Archives for category: Kapyong

This story will be published in the Shrine of Remembrance magazine, Remembrance, November 2013.

Before Kapyong 

Busan is a port city on the south-east coast of the Korean Peninsula. It was known as Pusan in the Korean War, and was where 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) came ashore on 28 September 1950.

Pusan was the ‘pocket’ where the initial North Korean attack was halted in August 1950.  After two months of heavy fighting UN, mainly US forces, broke out of the Pusan Perimeter and forced the North Koreans back up the peninsula. The landing at Inchon, near Seoul, on 15 September 1950 saw the defeat of the North Korean forces south of the 38th parallel, and their pursuit to the Yalu River and the border with China.

Three Australians lie side by side at Busan: Private Harold Clark from Launceston, Private Basil Dillon from St Kilda, and Lieutenant Colonel Charles Green from Grafton.

Not far away are the graves of Lance Corporal Fred Origlassi from Brisbane and Private Joseph (Paddy) Longmore from Colac.

All died between 30 October and 13 November 1950 – in the first significant engagements of 3RAR in Korea – six months before the battle of Kapyong.

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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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The UN Commemorative Service was held at the UN Memorial Cemetery at Busan on 26 April.

The veterans were greeted with enthusiasm and affection everywhere,but there was an especially boisterous reception on arrival at the Busan railway station. (Yes – they have very fast trains in South Korea.)

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The Anzac Day ceremony was held at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul and was followed by the dedication of the Memorial of the Irish Dead of the Korean War.

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At the ceremony  to dedicate the Irish Memorial, the Irish Ambassador Dr Eamonn McKee said  “It is unknown how many men of Irish birth and heritage fought and died in Korean but it is clear that the sacrifice of the Irish through their participation in the armies of the Commonwealth and USA armies was very significant.

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