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SGT Dave Morley
SEVEN Korean War veterans, and the son of an
Australian Army MIA soldier, recently returned from
six days in South Korea where they attended com-
memorations marking the 60th anniversary of major
engagements of the war.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs-sponsored
party visited key battle sites to pay tribute to fallen
mates and loved ones, and participated in several
The party included a former RAAF officer, a for-
mer RAN officer, four former soldiers, and an Army
nurse whose brother died of wounds there.
Former GPCAPT Milton Cottee, who joined the
RAAF at 18 straight out of school in 1944, said it
was his second visit to Korea since the war.
November 24, 2011
More than 17,000 Australians
served in the Korean War (June
25, 1950-July 27, 1953).
41 RAAF members were killed
and seven captured.
22 Mustangs and 44 Meteors
77SQN flew 18,872 sorties,
claiming the destruction of 3700
buildings, 1408 vehicles, 16
bridges, 98 railway carriages
and an unknown number of
3 MiG-15s were confirmed
destroyed, and two others prob-
340 Australians were killed and
more than 1200 wounded.
33,000 US personnel were
Four million Korean and Chinese
soldiers and civilians were
-- Sourced from the Australian War Memorial
Korean War file
NOW AND THEN: Left, former GPCAPT
Milton Cottee examines the Australian
Honour Roll in the hall of remembrance
at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul
during commemorations for the 60th
anniversary of major engagements of
the Korean War. Above, a young Milton
Cottee just after joining the RAAF in
1944. Main photo: CPL Christopher Dickson
' They kept calling us
heroes everywhere we
went, but we were only
doing the job we were
sent over to do.
back there as
a guest of the
in June 2010
for the 60th
anniversary of the start of the war," he said. "That
time I was the only Australian representative among
16 people from 11 countries."
GPCAPT Cottee said he had mixed feelings on
"There were sad occasions at the memorial ser-
vices, but then reasons to congratulate the South
Koreans on what they've made out of their country,"
he said. "When we left it during the war there was
such devastation everywhere but the rebuilding has
"But it really came home to me that both sides
[of Korea] are still on the verge of conflict."
He said the South Koreans treated him and his
party so well it was almost embarrassing at times.
"They kept calling us heroes everywhere we
went, but we were only doing the job we were sent
over to do," he said.
GPCAPT Cottee earned his pilots wings in
August 1949, flying Tiger Moths, Wirraways and
He flew on 77SQN's first operational mission in
Korea, in Mustangs, on July 2, 1950, escorting US
Air Force transport planes evacuating Americans
from Korea. "I'd never flown Mustangs at night
before this," he said.
He was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded
the US Air Medal for his Korean War service.
GPCAPT Cottee was awarded the Air Force
Cross in 1957 for exceptional performance dur-
ing a two-year posting to the RAF's Aeroplane and
Armament Experimental Establishment.
His last RAAF posting was as commander of
RAAF Base Darwin in 1976.
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