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The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

17 October 2016

Veteran mission to Republic of Korea

Australia will honour the service and sacrifice of those who served in the Korean War when a mission of eight veterans pay their respects at the battlefields of Kapyong and Maryang San next week to mark the 65th anniversaries.

The group will be joined in Korea by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan and Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel Gai Brodtmann.

More than 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War and the post armistice period, with more than 1,200 wounded. The names of 356 Australians killed in Korea are listed on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour.

The eight veterans on the mission range in age from 85 to 91 and four of them will be returning to Korea for the first time since the war.

The group will attend a series of services and visit memorials to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served in Korea.

The veterans will lay poppies on Australian graves at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, present memorabilia at the United Nations Peace Memorial Hall and attend the United Nations Day Memorial Service.

Mr Tehan will lay a wreath on behalf of the Australian people at the Commonwealth Missing In Action Memorial in Busan and the group will attend a commemorative service at the Australian and New Zealand Memorial, Kapyong.

A service to mark the Battle of Maryang San will be held on 26 October followed by a service for Kapyong on 27 October.

“This will be an important mission for Australia and our Korean War veterans because it will mark the final Government mission to Korea of a veterans’ group,” Mr Tehan said.

“For some of the veterans representing Australia this will be the first time they have returned to Korea since the end of the war and it will be a great privilege to share that journey with them.

“This mission will honour the service and sacrifice of more than 17,000 Australians who served their country during the war and post-armistice period.

“Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to the international effort and furthered our reputation as a nation willing and able to do its part.”

At the Battle of Kapyong on 23-24 April 1951, the 27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, including the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, was instrumental in stalling the Chinese advance on Seoul. In the battle, 32 Australians were killed, 59 wounded and three taken prisoner.

The Battle of Maryang San took place on 3 October when 3RAR, as part of the 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, took part in Operation Commando, which included the capture of Hill 317, where 20 Australians were killed and 89 wounded.

A list of travelling veterans is attached.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 4719

Korean War Mission – 21-28 October 2016

Navy
Name Age on Mission Unit Town & State
Mr Gordon HUGHES DSM 91 HMAS Sydney Nowra, NSW
Army
Name Age on Mission Unit Town & State
Mr Graham CONNOR 85 1RAR Ocean Grove, Vic
Mr Leslie HALL (Les) 87 1RAR Little Mountain, Qld
Mr John LANG (Jack)* 85 3RAR Coolup, WA
Mr John MURPHY 87 3RAR Wembley, WA
Lieutenant Commander Leslie POWELL RAN (Ret’d) (Les) 85 3RAR Cook, ACT
Colonel Francis Scott DSO Ret’d (Peter) 87 3RAR Glenside, SA
RAAF
Name Age on Mission Unit Town & State
Mr Spencer SEAVER (Ray) 85 77 Squadron Gordon, NSW

* Served in the Korean War under the name of Jack Olsen

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.