Sixty-eight years ago on 27th July, the Korean War Armistice was signed, marking the end of a three year conflict. Of the more than 17,000 Australians who fought, some 340 lost their lives to defend South Korea, over 1,216 were wounded and 29 became prisoners of war.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said during the war, Australian Defence Forces served as part of a multi-nation force with the United Nations Command.
“Australia was still recovering from losses suffered during the Second World War when the Korean People’s Army launched an offensive into South Korea, capturing Seoul within a week,” Minister Gee said.
“In June 1950, Prime Minister Robert Menzies committed ships of the Royal Australian Navy to a conflict that would see 21 nations join together to defend South Korea.
“Units from the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force joined shortly thereafter and our Forces fought courageously defending the freedom of South Korea, despite the harsh climatic conditions and hazardous terrain on the peninsula.
“At places like Kapyong, Maryang San and many others, Australians served with distinction and made an invaluable contribution to the UN forces’ efforts to keep South Korea free.
“Some 340 Australians lost their lives, 29 Australians were taken prisoner and 1,216 Australians were wounded.
“On Korean Veterans’ Day, we pause to remember the men and women who served and sacrificed for Australia in that conflict,” Minister Gee said.
The agreement for an Armistice was reached on 19 July 1953 between the UN Command and North Korea.
The Armistice was signed at 10am on 27 July 1953 and came into effect 12 hours later. Sporadic fighting continued throughout the day but with evening’s fall came silence.
“We should also give thanks to the Australian Defence personnel who served in Korea up until 1957 as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in the post-armistice period.”