After the demilitarized zone separating the United Nations and those of
the Chinese-Korean forces was established, both sides erected observation
towers at strategically situated points.
By these means, it was possible to register all violations of the
armistice agreement, details of which were noted, collated and finally
presented to the appropriate representatives at Panmunjom.
Much to the bewilderment of my Commanding Officer, I was selected as the
first officer of our brigade to command a small force to monitor a
specific sector which, as a junior officer, was a great honour and immense
Much later, I found out that I had been specifically selected for the task
by the Divisional Commander, who happened to be aware of my linguistic
abilities (although I had no knowledge of Chinese!)
My duties included the rostering of observers and the arrangement of
reconnaissance patrols specifically formed for the purpose of
surveillance of our designated DMZ sector.
I was required to keep meticulously prepared records and charts of every
single detail observed including smoke traces , sounds and related
My soldiers had to undergo somewhat of a metamorphosis by being meticulously
dressed and turned out, in stark contrast with their more relaxed turn-
out during the combat period.
This was a requirement because we were paid constant visits by senior
officers familiarising themselves with the prevailing situation.
As a reward for my endeavours at the DMZ, I was given the most interesting
and rewarding posting to Panmunjom to observe the exchange of prisoners of
The most exciting and happy experience of that task was my being the first
Australian officer to see my mate, Lieutenant Charles Yacopetti, whom I
last saw a few months earlier during a patrol action which I attended
under his leadership, resulting in my being seriously wounded and his
capture by the enemy.
The accompanying picture portrays my inspection of one of my DMZ