I have no idea why they look so depressed, or where they are. With the tent in the background they are most assuredly not at 'the sharp end'.
The title KATCOM was applied to Korean troops who were attached to
the 1st. Commonwealth division. These soldiers were usually very young
and very 'green', in other words; barely trained.
Some of them had a slight knowledge of English, most had to learn by
experience as they went along.
These men were scattered throughout the Division, serving with the assorted
national units who made up 1 Com Div. They were deployed all the way along
the line, from Div HQ through to the infantry sections.
The majority of these soldiers settled in well, despite living in a
foreign environment trying to understand a foreign language, eating
strange food, and putting up with strange people.
Many of these lads fought alongside the Australians, quite a few were
killed; many were wounded in action. The majority conducted themselves as
worthy soldiers, in the face of adversity and discomfort.
The general conduct of the KATCOMS could not be faulted. Once they learnt
that their Australian comrades stood and fought, so did they.
This gives the distinct impression that the panic retreats, so often
encountered with early Korean divisions, had mostly to do with poor leadership
and poor training, and the destruction of the ROK core divisions north of the Han
during the initial NK surprise attacks. The quality of the men who became KATCOM
soldiers left nothing to be desired.
In later years, these veteran KATCOM soldiers were so proud of whom they had
become that they formed their own KATCOM association.
They function to this very day, and still seek out old Australian
comrades when the chance arises. The Diggers are proud to call them MATE.