George Bullock, Digger, K Force, KIA
by Olwyn Green
George Bullock's Story -Rupert George Bullock (George) Bullock, b 24/7/1927, Murwillumbah NSW;
Service in 3 RAR 12/10/51-25/1/52 killed in action 25/1/1952
George Bullock of 3 RAR died on 25th January, 1952. He was member of 12 Platoon D Co 3 RAR which made an assault on the "pinnacle" of Hill 227 on 25-26 January 1952.
Recently, 56 years after George Bullock's death, his family in Central Queensland, through the internet, were able to seek information explaining the death of George so long ago. They emailed Alexander Bates, the Pres. of 3 RAR Corp asking for comrades of George's to come forward with information and photos of him. They wanted to resolve years of uncertainty and ease some of the pain caused by never learning what had happened to the son, the brother. The family say the only information they received was a telephone call asking for someone to go to Post Office to pick up the telegram - the announcement of his death.
From the official history this information was found:
This phase of the war is generally called the Static Phase; In most histories it dates from July 1951 when the Armistice Negotiations began. In this phase, when President Truman had decided the Korean War would be a limited war, the UN Force strategy was to be a "goad" keeping pressure on the Chinese and North Koreans to induce compromise at the Armistice negotiations. In effect it was a phase of attrition and in many ways resembled the nature of fighting in the trenches of WWI.
The objective of the assault on 227 in which George Bullock and 6 others died, was to regain Hill 227 from the Chinese. It is to be remembered that in October, 1951 in Operation Commando, 3 RAR had fought hard and brilliantly to take 317, Maryang San, at a cost of 20 killed and 89 wounded. (AWM) In November 1951 the Chinese launched a massive attack and retook Hill 317 (Maryang San) which was then occupied by another battalion of the Commonwealth Brigade, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. At the same time, the Chinese seized and held Hill 227. The strength of the Chinese counter offensive in November 51 suggests that Hill 227 in January 52 would have been strongly defended. The 7 deaths on 25/1/1952 confirms this.
Before presenting the war diary account of the patrol, it is be noted that on that bitterly cold, winter night, a search light bathed Hill 227 in a "ghostly light." (see Pear's report) The war diary's very brief report that follows contains map references. (AWM85 Australian Army unit Diaries, Korea Item No. 4/37 , 3 Bn RAR , January 1952) :-
" Place Pu-Dong area 1162168
This action in which George Bullock lost his life is typical of the constant patrolling that tested soldiers' morale. Despite the futility of what they were doing; e.g. seeking a prisoner (for intelligence purposes) and apparently never catching one, they bravely went out into the night to face all sorts of extremes: weather, land mines, difficult terrain; enemy lurking in no man's land. Despite the unrewarding nature of patrolling , the bunker life, and the shelling, soldiers' morale remained high. It is recorded that "by June, 1952 Communist guns were hurling over 6,800 shells a day at UN positions." This statistic provides only a general picture of the extent of shelling in this phase of the war and it indicates another Chinese strategy of trying to demoralize the UN troops across the front. Soldiers' experience and forbearance in this gruelling phase of the Korean War did not capture headlines. If men had fought at battles like Kapyong or Maryang San their story would be known and most likely their names would have been recorded. The Korean experience echoes that of the futile fighting of the Western Front, when men's lives were lost in numbers disproportionate to any possible achievement.
George Bullock died, and also 6 other un-named diggers, that night deep in the hills of Korea. There have been many who died similar deaths in that bloody war; and there are many who too glibly describe that war as "the forgotten war," as though nothing of consequence had happened to the world or to those who died and to those who mourned.
Those killed on 25-26/1/1952 supplied by editor (see note below)
1/1900 Pte R G Bullock
3/2638 Cpl C Clark
2/4863 Pte H C Deacon
2/4669 Cpl B A Harkness
1/1857 L/Cpl C B Henschell
1/1642 L/Cpl D Munro
3/2926 Pte J Neal
This list was put together a few years ago by Mick Servos and Chalky White following their research to find all the names of the Regiments' casualties for the tree planting at the National Memorial Walk, Enoggera, Queensland.
Note: A detailed account of the patrol of 25-26 January by Lt. Col Maurie Pears entitled "Korean Operations 3 RAR, Raid on John 227 - 25 January 1952" is published in "Australian Defence Force Journal No 157 - November/December 2002.
Olwyn Green May, 2008
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