LIFE IN THE TRENCHES, KOREA 1952 AND 1953
ALLAN E. LIMBURG
Allan Limburg was born in 1929 and educated at North Sydney Boys High School and the Royal Military College (RMC), Duntroon. On graduation from RMC he was posted to 2 RAR at Puckapunyal and then as a Platoon Commander (Lieutenant) to 3 RAR in Korea.. A career ordnance officer, he later held a number of infantry appointments as Signals Officer & Adjutant of the Pacific Islands Regiment (PNG) 1954-1955, Instructor, School of Infantry, Seymour 1956-1958.. He assumed a number of senior appointments in Australia and overseas before retirement as Commander 3rd Supply Group, Victoria 1973-1974 and Colonel Supply, Headquarters Supply Division 1975-1977. In 1962 Allan was appointed the Northern Territory's Director for the Royal Visit in 1963 and was invested by Her Majesty The Queen as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO). He retired as a Colonel and lives at Wheelers Hill in Victoria.
"Keep Yer 'Ead Down"
After graduation from Duntroon in 1951, I was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) at Puckapunyal, where we underwent hard, intensive training for the Korean War which had waged relentlessly since June 1950. On 1st August 1952 I emplaned in Sydney for the flight to Iwakuni in Japan, with stop-overs at Darwin and Manila. Following further vigorous battle inoculation training at the Commonwealth Division Battle School at Haramura in Japan, I traveled on S.S. Poyang to Pusan in Korea and entrained for the trip northwards to the battle zone. What would life be like there? How would I acquit myself on active service?
3 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) had been in action since September 1950 and had taken a leading part in many significant actions in the fluid, at times fast moving war. It had fought all the way to the Manchurian border, been driven back into South Korea after China poured troops into the fray, then attacked north again over the 38th Parallel, losing almost 300 men killed, wounded or missing before the Battle of Kapyong. In April 1951, it had distinguished itself at Kapyong, where it suffered 92 casualties, and at Maryang San in October, where its casualties in the bloody fighting were a further 109. After all the months of rapid movement the war then settled down to 22 months of protracted, savage, trench warfare, along the Jamestown Line, reminiscent of Gallipoli and France in the first World War, with mud, blood, heat, ice and snow. It was characterized by the holding of high ground, deep trenches, dugouts, heavy artillery and mortar duels, thick barbed wire entanglements, minefields, patrolling into no man's land, raids onto both sides and occasional large scale battles. This story is an attempt to give some understanding of life in the trenches in Korea in 1952 and 1953.
In August 1952, it was Autumn in Korea. I had traveled forward to A Echelon (forward administrative area in front of B echelon) of 3 RAR, some miles behind the front line. The loud, steady, persistent, rumbling thunder from the artillery duels being fought went on non stop, by day and night. At A Echelon I saw my good friend, Lieutenant "Bill" Harrington, asleep under a mosquito net. What a distressing sight, death warmed up! He was gaunt, thin and completely exhausted. He had gone on patrol over a river deep into Chinese lines. It was raining heavily. On return, it was not possible to cross it. For the next three days the Chinese chased them. They finally discarded all their clothes, weapons and radio preparatory to swimming across the swollen river, but then decided to proceed further west through Chinese lines, beyond the Samichon river and the Hook, then across no man's land into the American Marines lines, who clothed, fed and returned them by jeep. They were returned by helicopter. Looking at Bill, I wondered what lay ahead of me.
Lieutenant Colonel "Ron" Hughes, my Commanding Officer, a hard taskmaster, said to me, "If France was a general's war, Korea is now a platoon commander's. Most actions are at that level. It is hard, brutal and unremitting. The lives of your men and your own will depend on your diligence and skill. I am sending you to our forward company. You'll get little sleep. Keep your head down." He also told me that two of my friends had been recently wounded while leading patrols, and one, Lieutenant "Laurie Ryan", had been killed.
Two other members of Laurie's patrol had also been killed and ten others wounded. The exposed route forward was under close observation from the Chinese, nicknamed "Charlie". Every man I passed said, "Keep yer 'ead down, mate", a cry I would often hear in the months ahead. I rapidly learned to go to ground when incoming shells were going to land close by. Very gingerly I picked my way forward down the exposed ridge line and reported to Major Ralph Sutton, my company commander, in his deep bunker or "huchi".
I was allotted, initially, to 7 Platoon. My platoon sergeant there, Jim Pashen, was an impressive, giant of a man, with a large moustache. We both lived in the same huchi. Our huchi was strongly built below ground with thick timber uprights, a solid timber roof covered with about four feet of dirt and rocks and its entrance and approach trench sandbagged. We were in range of Charlie's machine guns, mortars and artillery. The days were hot. During the day we wore only boots and a pair of underpants. A bottle of Asahi beer came up daily for each soldier with the American C7 rations which we cooked over small stoves in our huchi. I was astonished to find that 27 of my 40 men didn't drink.
The battalion had a large force of "Noggies" (Korean porters), allocated for carrying our supplies of water, rations, barb wire, mines, steel pickets, heavy timber and ammunition from A echelon into our forward positions. They did a great job under tough combat conditions. Ammunition and defence materials had been arriving since the position was first occupied 10 months ago. We now had enough ammunition and grenades to supply a small army. But it posed a problem. Stacked into fighting pits and trenches it was exposed to the elements. What with winter snow and ice, high summer humidity and heavy rains much of it was now rusting and was unfit for use. A great effort was required to clean and maintain it.
A few days later, Major Sutton said, "I'm sending you to the sharp end to take over 9 Platoon. It's pretty rough there. You'll be right under Charlie's nose. Should he attack you'll be the first to cop it. Expect him to attack at any time. You'll be bloody busy. You can expect to go on patrol every second or third night. Keep your head down and good luck." It was a dangerous trip forward. On arrival my platoon sergeant, "Nipper" Neylan, a man of few words, said, "Glad you've joined us Skipper. Charlie shoots at anything that moves. Keep yer 'ead down."
Behind Enemy Lines
9 Platoon, 3 RAR was then the most forward platoon of the battalion in the static warfare waged on the "Jamestown" Line. It was securely dug-in on a hill, overlooking a valley containing a tributary of the Samichon River. Beyond it, at some distance, lay Hill 166, an imposing feature, heavily defended by the Chinese in bunkers reputed to be up to 30 or 40 feet deep. In front of Hill 166, a long communication trench ran forward to a lesser feature, also heavily defended by the Chinese. Behind 9 Platoon, along the ridge line, stretched the remainder of C Company. A Company was positioned on Hill 187, well behind C Company. A British Centurion tank was dug-in, on Hill 187, to provide supporting fire.
To the west of 9 Platoon, there lay an undefended feature, overlooking the valley and the Samichon River. Behind it, on the ridges, was D Company. In between were concentrations of minefields and thick wire obstacles. Likewise, on the low ground, east of 9 Platoon, were further minefields and wire obstacles, separating it from the battalion on its flank. Much further east, lay the commanding heights of Hill 355 ("Little Gibraltar").
More minefields and wire were in front of and to the flanks of our position. We had call on the great weight of divisional and corps artillery fire and aircraft and tank support. We all lived in deep, well constructed bunkers (or "huchis"), with about 4 feet of overhead cover. Deep trenches connected all weapon pits, some with overhead cover. My huchi was situated just rear of the crest line. The lengthy track forward to 9 Platoon, from Hill 187 was exposed to enemy observation and fire during daylight. At night, many of the battalion patrols came down this track which split into two, just to the rear of my huchi. One track ran forward, down each side of our feature, to the minefields gaps, through which our patrols had to pass. The gaps were guarded by standing patrols. The tracks forward and through the minefields, were well worn. The Chinese knew that many of our patrols moved along these tracks with the coming of last light each night. Consequently, each evening, they regularly subjected our platoon to heavy concentrations of artillery and mortar fire.
Australian troops have always been noted for their aggressive patrolling in many wars. They were to put these years of expertise to great effect in Korea. While 1st Commonwealth Division became renowned in Korea for its intensive patrolling, there was no other battalion that patrolled in such numbers, or as effectively, as 3 RAR. On average, every night, 3 RAR had about two hundred men on patrols forward of its position - in 2 or 3 man listening patrols, in standing patrols, or in ambush or fighting patrols, each up to about eighteen men in strength.
For this particular patrol, I had reported back to the Battalion Command Post for a briefing. It included a detailed study of aerial photographs of the enemy positions The aim of the patrol was to get to the long communications trench snaking forward from Hill 166, observe what movement took place along it and, if possible, snatch a prisoner. To get there we had to go down the east flank of our position, through the minefield gap, across the old paddy fields, cross the tributary of the Samichon River, go uphill along the valley between the forward enemy position and its neighbour and then upwards towards Hill 166.
We knew that, like us, the Chinese each night would position standing and other patrols along the route we would take and that we may have to traverse their minefields to get to our objective. The aerial photos had revealed the remains of a deserted farmhouse and outbuildings on the route we could take behind their forward positions. While we clearly marked out minefields with 3 strand wire fences, the enemy did not. Their practice was to mark them with stones, if at all, making it extremely difficult to locate them. We knew that if we made any untoward noise, particularly after we had passed beyond their forward positions, they would doubtless send an ambush or fighting patrol to cut off our return. We thus had to move very slowly and cautiously. A new password and countersign was issued daily so that any movement could be challenged and to differentiate friend and foe. It was also used to prevent our own patrols firing on each other.
I had carefully chosen two of my best men to accompany me, Private "Bob" Weston and Private Frank Tiernan who carried and operated the radio set. We each carried our personal weapons, spare magazines and ammunition and had grenades on our belts. We favoured Owen guns for use in close quarter night fighting because of their lightness and reliability. Using the radio, we had call on very formidable artillery, tank and mortar fire. We could also maintain close contact with company headquarters. However, it was dangerous using it when in close proximity to the enemy, as it could readily betray our position. In addition, the headphones posed an added risk to Frank, as they hindered his hearing. We carried rope and cloth to tie and gag a prisoner - if we could take one. With the aid of binoculars we spent some time studying, planning and memorizing our route. Prominent landmarks, trees and the like, are very useful for maintaining direction but, while they are very obvious in daylight, they can prove difficult to locate at night. We rehearsed how we might take a prisoner.
We set off from the rear of our position, just before last light, down the track to our eastern minefield gap. After clearance through our standing patrol, we started across the old, wet, paddy fields. After wading the stream, we moved uphill towards the valley to the east of the forward enemy positions. We slowly skirted around where we thought they maintained a standing patrol at night. As we began climbing we encountered considerable thick undergrowth, which slowed our progress. We saw what we thought were stones marking a minefield and diverted past them.
By the time that we got to the site of the old farmhouse, the going was becoming more difficult, as the undergrowth became even thicker. Noise was the problem. In the dark, we stumbled into old cooking pots, fences and the like. We now had to move very slowly ........... stopping ...... and listening ...... at regular intervals. It took much longer than we had planned, to clear this area and move beyond it, up to the communication trench high on the ridge. It was some time after midnight before we reached it. There was no movement along it when we got there. To be certain that it was not used at this time of night, we stayed close to it and observed for some considerable time. We mentally rehearsed our plan for taking a prisoner and for getting him back to our lines, without alerting the enemy, a difficult feat. Finally, seeing no one we decided to return. But, on making our way back through the area of the farmhouse, despite our precautions, we made some noise. As a result, it wasn't long before we heard movement of an enemy patrol, clearly dispatched to prevent our return. We could hear it moving down the hill, from their forward position, towards where we had earlier started our climb up from the stream, blocking our return.
From time to time we could hear them talking softly to each other. We thus had, more than ever, to move with extreme caution, making no sound. This we did, but it was painfully slow.
We were, finally, able to crawl, very slowly, past their position and surprisingly were not challenged. Why? ...... There are many strange noises in the night in these parts, including the movement of small mountain bears and other nocturnal animals. That, together with the fact that we were so far behind their lines, close to daybreak, which was unusual, must have added to their uncertainty. That, and our very slow, noiseless movement, was probably our salvation. They did not fire and we were able, finally, to get past them. However the sun would soon be up. We clearly could not undertake the return trip, through low lying, open country, without being observed and fired upon. We therefore chose an area of thick grass, near the stream, where we lay all day, without lifting our heads, without moving and without food. We knew that, as night approached, we would have to return to our own lines, not knowing what friendly patrols were coming our way and not knowing what the new password was. So, once again, we had to move slowly and carefully. But word of our plight had obviously been passed and we were able to return past our patrols and through the minefield, without incident.
Imagine our surprise, on returning to my huchi, to find that Norman Hertford, a War Correspondent Photographer from "Pix" magazine, was awaiting us there. He had been doing a feature article on 3 RAR during the day and had requested special permission to come forward, interview and photograph us, on our return that night. His story and photographs were later published in "Pix" on 13th December 1952. While we who took part, can remember, in great detail, that particular patrol, it was only a part, and a very small part, of the vigorous and heavy patrolling effort undertaken nightly by 3 RAR, a unit in which we were proud to serve. I subsequently read that, in a period of 12 months in the Jamestown Line, the two Australian battalions took only one Chinese prisoner.
While 1st Commonwealth Division became renowned for its intensive patrolling in Korea, no other battalion patrolled in such numbers, or as effectively, as 3 RAR. Every night we had about 200 men on patrols forward of our position, in 2 or 3 man listening patrols, in standing patrols, or in ambush or fighting patrols, each up to about 18 men in strength. We were ambushed on one patrol behind enemy lines, but managed to extricate ourselves unscathed.
"Charlie" (the Chinese enemy) was adept at effectively lobbing just one mortar bomb at us, right on target, a very difficult feat because of its long beaten zone. With complete air supremacy and rapid communications to our guns and planes, we could quickly respond to any enemy mortar or artillery pieces hidden in tunnels dug into the reverse sides of the hills. When they wanted to harass us they would trundle a mortar out on rails, fire one or two rounds, then rapidly retreat into the tunnel before we could reply. They became proficient at lobbing one mortar bomb on target. One day one of my lads foolishly went down the hill to a small stream, for a wash. One mortar bomb landed just a few feet from him, shredding most of his body. I was one of the first to reach him. He was a terrible mess. I gave him an injection of morphine. We got a stretcher to him. The long, exposed trip back would be a very dangerous one, between two minefields. But, there was no shortage of volunteers. It was a long haul back and over to the D Company camouflaged jeep-head, nearer than ours. We expected to be machine gunned or mortar bombed at any minute, but lucky for us, we weren't. Maybe the Chinese felt compassion for our casualty. Bill Harrington, who had rejoined us, commanded 8 Platoon, just behind our position. One day Charlie dropped just one mortar bomb on one of his huchis occupied by two of his lads. They were both killed. Three other members of his platoon were wounded from mortar fire. On another day a New Zealand artillery officer decided to come forward to visit us in daylight. Instead of keeping his head down by taking the longer, safer track below the ridge line, he took the top, very exposed track. They opened up on him with a machine gun. He was hit in both legs.
In mid August, B Company carried out a night raid onto an enemy position on Hill 75 to our left front, under covering fire from our tanks, machine guns, mortars and artillery. At least 12 Chinese were killed and one taken prisoner. We lost 1 killed, 24 wounded and 2 missing. Lieutenant John Humphrey was wounded while leading his platoon.
During August and September, 3 RAR and 1 RAR on our right flank were involved in several ferocious patrol actions. On the night of 22/23 August Captain "Phil" Greville was taken prisoner while leading a work party repairing minefield fences, one of his men was killed and 6 were wounded. On the night of 26/27 August Lieutenant "Jack" Skipper was wounded when his ambush patrol killed 5 Chinese.
Soldiers can be cruel. Back in the comparative safety of our jeep-head was our company clerk. Our diggers would pick on him, saying he was a "chook", never going on patrol. He took it to heart. One day, he walked all the way forward into no man's land. Charlie opened up on him. Deciding to return, our side, not knowing who he was, also opened up on him. Amazingly, he got back unscathed. He wasn't picked on after that. Every night, in addition to providing two standing patrols on the minefield gaps and other patrols, half my platoon were always awake, armed and standing-to in their pits, in case we were attacked. As if we didn't have enough to do, we also had to send large parties to the rear to dig reserve positions all day, in case we were overrun in our forward positions. It was hard, tiring work, as was the regular maintenance of our trenches and fire pits. As the enemy often attacks just before first light we all stood-to in our pits for one hour every morning.
Two battalion snipers were allocated to my platoon. They kept the enemy's heads down during the day. One day, while firing at them, they were amused to see Charlie waving a shovel from side to side, signaling a "washout", "you've missed me". A prime aim of both sides in defence is to stop the enemy getting supplies to their forward troops. Charlie could not replenish his forward positions during the day as we overlooked them. He did this at night. Instead of using the difficult route forward, in his trenches, he preferred to take the easy way, above ground. From under our camouflage-netted fire pit, using binoculars, our snipers and I often observed heavily laden parties of twenty or more Chinese moving forward just on dusk. "Why not have a go at the buggers, Skip?" they asked. To be successful all fire would have to land simultaneously before they dived into their trenches. I planned a codeword, to call all our fire down. When used over the radio the Kiwi guns opened up first. It took about 24 seconds for their shells to land. When the Centurion tank crew heard the artillery shells overhead, they commenced firing. Their shot took about 6 seconds. When we heard the shells my two 50 calibre machine guns opened up. We used it several times, to great effect.
As Charlie's machine guns could cause great havoc I asked the tank commander to come forward to our position. Together, we sketched Charlie's positions and allocated codewords to each of the machine gun positions known to us. He returned to his tank and silently registered them. Not long after, Charlie mounted an attack on to the feature on our left. All his machine guns started firing. By calling up each codeword by radio we were able to knock out each machine gun in turn. If the first 20 pounder shell didn't hit the target, I could quickly correct so that the next one did. On 2/3 September 1952, Charlie attacked a 3 RAR patrol, killing one and wounding two, six Chinese were killed and one was taken prisoner. On 4/5 September Lieutenant "Bill" Patrick's patrol ambushed forty Chinese. Bill was wounded in the chest, throat and leg. One of his men had his foot blown off by a grenade, another was killed and one was wounded. They accounted for at least 15 Chinese. On 13/14 September Lieutenant Peter Cliff's 1 RAR fighting patrol attacked 20 Chinese, killing two, wounding two and taking one prisoner. On 28/29 September Captain John Waterton laid an ambush on our left and stopped over 50 Chinese in their tracks, causing heavy casualties, three of his men were wounded. In October, Charlie launched a large scale attack onto the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment on Hill 355, to our right. They overran the forward Canadian positions. Both sides suffered heavy casualties.
The days and weeks were busy and passed quickly. I could now begin to better understand what our forefathers had experienced at Gallipoli and in France. But now we were going into reserve for a very welcome rest. My first few months in the trenches in Korea were over. Having kept my head down I was still alive. But what might lie ahead?
The Commonwealth Division remained located for most of that time in the vitally important sector astride the traditional invasion routes to the capital, Seoul, between the US Marine Division on its left and 1st Republic of Korea (1 ROK) Division on its right. It extended from the Hook, across the Samichon River and east to the massive Hill 355 ("Little Gibraltar"). Winter was now firmly upon us.
The countryside was covered in a thick mangle of ice and snow. Freezing winds howled and moaned down on us from Manchuria. It was bitterly, unbelievably cold. The daily temperatures were always below freezing point (0 degrees Centigrade [C]) and by night average , -16 degrees C. They were often much colder, made worse by the cruel wind chill.
The Chinese 47 Field Army had recently relieved their 39 Field Army on the Commonwealth and 1 ROK divisional fronts. This heralded a period of greatly increased activity. 1 RAR had relieved 1 Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (1 RCR) on Hill 355. As the Canadians had done little patrolling, the Chinese had overrun their forward positions. Defences were in great disrepair. 1 RAR had to embark on an aggressive night patrolling program to regain supremacy forward of their fighting pits. This was successful, but at a cost of over 50 Australian causalities, including several of my friends while leading fighting patrols. Lieutenant "Digger" James, who lost his left foot and was badly damaged in his right leg; Lieutenant Colin Khan, badly wounded in the chest; Lt Euan Boyd wounded and Lieutenants "Bob" Unsworth and John Seaton, killed. On the night 25/26 November the Royal Fusiliers (1RF), on the left of 1 RAR, launched an attack onto the Chinese on Hill 227. They were supported by a diversionary attack by two platoons of 1 RAR, commanded by Lieutenant Euan Boyd and Lieutenant John Sullivan and four were wounded. Sergeant "Des" Corcoran, Euan's platoon sergeant, evacuated the casualties under mortar fire. The attack by the Royal Fusiliers was a debacle. They were ambushed just as they started and lost 14 killed, 22 wounded and 8 missing.
In early December 1952, Lieutenant Colonel "Bunny" Austen, Commanding Officer of 1 RAR, ordered Major "Joe" Mann to mount a company attack onto the Chinese on the feature "Flora", close to 15 ROK (South Korea) Regiment. It was a difficult undertaking, at night, over icy snow covered ground, in freezing weather. The approach would start from a firm base, established forward of our lines by Lieutenant "Bill" Harrington, who commanded 8 Platoon, C Company, 3 RAR. It was vital that the company approach march was undetected. But, just as they departed at midnight on the night 10/11 December, a Chinese battalion attacked 15 ROK Regiment. Chinese flares and Allied star shells lit the night sky, exposing and delaying the Australians who had to go to ground. The attack resulted in 30 Chinese troops killed on Flora, but 22 Australian were wounded and three were missing (one later returned). Two of Bill Harrington's platoon were wounded. The aim of capturing a prisoner was not achieved.
On 28 December 1952 3 RAR relieved 1 RAR on Hill 355. On the night 6/7 January Lieutenant "Rus" Lloyd was twice wounded while leading a fighting patrol. Lieutenant Brian Bousefield, was severely wounded while leading a fighting patrol, which suffered four wounded and three missing. I vividly recall the night of 24/25 January when Lieutenant Geoff Smith, in command of a patrol of thirty men, was killed. His body was never recovered. I had known him well for over five years. Sergeant Morrison took over command of the patrol, killing over 80 Chinese in several successive attacks before returning to our lines, with 13 missing and 10 wounded.
In March 1953 2 RAR relieved 1 RAR. On 13 may, a patrol led by Lieutenant John Duff, clashed with forty Chinese, killing twelve and wounding eight. One of his patrol was killed, three were missing and six, including John, were wounded. On 17 May, Lieutenant "Ray" Burnard was badly wounded in the chest while checking a minefield fence. On 25 May Lieutenant "Charlie" Yacopetti, was severely wounded while leading a seventeen man patrol, which ambushed forty Chinese. He was taken prisoner. Only four of his patrol returned uninjured, two others were missing, eight were wounded and one later died of wounds.
On 9 and 10 July 1953, 28 Brigade took over the "Hook" area from the British, (who had suffered 126 casualties there), with 2 RAR on the left and 3 RAR on its right. This vital ground was the most threatened in the Commonwealth Division in the last three months of the war. In a desperate last attempt to gain more ground the Chinese army launched strong attacks, against the Australians on the Hook and against the neighbouring American Marines, in the dying days of the war. At divisional Headquarters (HQ), from aerial photographs, intelligence sources and intercepts of the enemy wireless traffic, the forthcoming battle had been accurately predicted for some time. Very detailed preparations had been made, with tremendous concentrations of all the corps and army artillery, including that of the two divisions.
On the nights 24/25 and 25/26 July 1953, the Hook battles were fought throughout those nights. During that time our artillery accounted for almost 3,000 Chinese bodies, which were left piled two or three deep in front of 2 RAR. Our divisional artillery alone fired over 23,000 rounds against the Chinese. At 10am on 27 July 1953 the armistice was signed, effective at 10pm. I paid a visit to the Hook the following day. The floor of the valley between the Hook and the Chinese positions was almost covered with dead Chinese. The broken, bloated, fly-blown, bloodied bodies were fast decaying. A terrible, cloying, overpowering smell of death and decay permeated our battered, smashed trenches. It was an unbelievable, horrific sight. Immediately after the armistice, my old friends Lieutenant Euan Boyd and Private "Des" Guilfoyle, who had both been in the thick of the 2 RAR battle, had walked, with some trepidation, across the few hundred yards separating them from the Chinese positions, and greeted the opposing Chinese soldiers, coming to meet them, as part of the Armistice
In 1989 I returned to Korea with a party of Australian Korean Veterans and their wives. We had been invited as guests of the Korean Veterans' Association. On Anzac Day we conducted a very moving service at, what is now, a very large and beautiful United Nations Cemetery, at Pusan. Afterwards, in the large Australian section, we placed a small Australian flag and a poppy on each of the many headstones there. IN 1988, over one million people, including over 80,000 from overseas, visited the cemetery. A few days later we laid wreaths at the lovely Australian Kapyong Memorial, situated on a hill, overlooking where 3 RAR made their valiant stand. We were all very touched to learn that parties of Korean school children regularly maintain both memorials.
After four years training, 32 of my class, which graduated from the Royal Military College in 1951, served in Korea as platoon commanders. Two of my Duntroon classmates of 1951 were killed in Korea, ten were wounded and one was taken Prisoner of War (POW). Five were awarded the Military Cross (MC) for bravery and three were Mentioned in Dispatches (MID). Five who served in Korea subsequently became Major Generals. "Digger" James, despite his horrific wounds, insisted on all other wounded members of his patrol being evacuated before him. He was awarded a Military Cross for bravery. Discharged, he trained as a doctor. Despite his disabilities he was accepted back into the army. He served in Vietnam and later as Director General of Medical Services. He retired from the army as Major General W B James, AO, MBE, MC, O St J. He is now National President of the RSL. Lieutenant Colonel Ron Hughes, awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO), retired as a Major General. Lieutenant Colonel "Bunny" Austen and Major "Joe" Mann were awarded DSO's. "Bunny" retired as a Brigadier. "Bill" Harrington, awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), retired as Lieutenant Colonel. "Euan" Boyd retired as Lieutenant Colonel, became Vice President of the Victorian Temporary and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Association, President TPI Club, awarded an Australian Order of Merit (AOM). John Sullivan retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, became Federal Member for Riverina, "Des" Corcoran, awarded MID, became Premier of South Australia. Colin Khan, awarded MID, retired as a Brigadier, "Digger" James, "Jack" Skipper, "Rus" Lloyd, Brian Bousefield and "Charlie" Yacopetti were all awarded the MC for bravery. "Rus" Lloyd and "Ray" Burnard retired as Brigadiers. "Charlie" Yacopetti also awarded MID for outstanding bravery as a prisoner. Sergeant Edward Morrison was awarded a DCM. "Des" Guilfoyle is now the Editor Korean Veterans Association and President of the TPI Club. "Geoff" Smith, awarded MID. Pews in memory of "Geoff" Smith and "Bob" Unsworth were later dedicated in the chapel at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
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