TOMORROW marks 66 years since the Korean War Armistice was signed, ending three years of war in Korea.
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester is encouraging all Australians to pause and remember those who served in the Korean War and the post-armistice period.
“Of the 18,000 Australian personnel who served, Australia suffered some 1,500 casualties, including more than 350 who lost their lives and 30 who were taken prisoner,” Mr Chester said.
“Of the more than 150 nurses who served in Japan nursing Korean War casualties, more than 50 also served in Korea.
“The signing of the armistice was held in 1953, however Australia maintained a presence in Korea as part of the multi-national peacekeeping force until 1957.
“Our soldiers, sailors and airmen fought long and hard for South Korea’s freedom. The conditions were hazardous and the effort of moving over mountains and valleys was exhausting.”
Within the first few days of the war, then Prime Minister Robert Menzies committed ships of the Royal Australian Navy to the Korean War. These were soon joined by units of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army.
“Despite the fact that Australia was still recovering from the Second World War, our military personnel joined the United Nations effort in Korea in a unified show of support,” Mr Chester said.
“These men and women fought to defend the Korean peninsula – many of whom never returned home.
“Today, Australia says thank you for your service.”