Harry Gordon is an award-winning journalist, editor, author and historian. At the age of twenty-four he was a war correspondent in Korea, accompanying the Royal Australian Regiment through the advance to the Yalu River and the retreat, which followed the Chinese Army's entry into the war. In 1960 he covered the Algerian
civil war. He held senior posts in newspapers, as editor of the Melbourne Sun, and later
as editor-in-chief of two major groups, The Herald and Weekly Times and Queensland
Newspapers, and chairman of Australian Associated Press. He has written thirteen books, and is a winner of the National Book Council's first prize for Australian literature. He is official historian for the Australian Olympic Committee, and has been awarded the International Olympic Committee's highest individual distinction: the Olympic Order.
We are proud to have him associated with this publication.
The full story of the war correspondents in Korea has yet to be told. Harry Gordon was one of the first to accompany Australian troops and the youngest of the group. The other early newspaper correspondents with the Regiment in Korea during that first harsh winter were all seasoned veterans of war. They were: Ronald Monson, who had covered conflicts in Abyssinia, Spain and China before World War II; the former
commando officer Alan Dower; and Lawson Glassop, author of We Were the Rats. Des
Telfer, who had been a pilot in World War II, represented the ABC. Correspondents who served later with the Regiment in Korea included Ian McCrone, Ian Reid, Mike Ramsden, Charles Madden, Hal Richardson, Norman MacSwan and John Ulm.
Harry and his comrades all served with distinction in dangerous and difficult times. They were classified as non-combatants, but their attachment to an infantry battalion ensured that they saw plenty of action. In an era before television and satellite communications, these men were the eyes and ears of the Australian public. It is sobering to recall that among the first Australians killed in action was the
correspondent Derek Pearcy, formerly of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, then representing
Reuters news agency.
I often think about Mike Ramsden, then representing the Sydney Telegraph (and
later a television news director with Channel Seven), bringing up a few bottles of beer, as he'd join me in my hutchi for the day. Charles Madden, as I recall, had a rare collection of vulgar but very appropriate rugby songs. These cheered our days in reserve. I reflected even then, as I do now, that I had to be up there at the sharp end ...those fellows didn't.