Letter to the editor — 70 years since the Battle of Kapyong

Thursday, April 15 2021

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

Dear Editor

This year on 24 April, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong, an important battle fought during the Korean War that involved Australian, Commonwealth and other United Nations Command forces.

In April 1951, the Chinese launched an offensive with the aim to retake Seoul and after quickly overrunning South Korean forces who were defending one of the major routes, the valley of the Kapyong River, they encountered Commonwealth troops who were occupying defensive positions.

The battle began for the Australian troops on 23 April and was fought in cold conditions on difficult terrain.

The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), was repeatedly attacked through the night and into the next day, and was forced to withdraw to defensive positions established further to the rear after having slowed the momentum of the Chinese advance.

On 24/25 April 1951, the focus of the attacks shifted to the positions held by Canadian troops, but with the assistance of New Zealand artillery, they were able to halt the Chinese advance.

Australian and Canadian battalions were each awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation for their part in the battle.

On behalf of Australia, we remember and honour the some 18,000 Australian service personnel who were involved in the Korean War, including the Battle of Kapyong, and in particular those who died.

In the lead-up to Kapyong Day I will be visiting Townsville, the home of 3RAR, to talk with the current members of this unit and to reflect on this important milestone in our military history.

Lest we forget.

Darren Chester

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

Media contacts

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Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au