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August 15, 2013
Air Force personnel travelled to South Korea in late July to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
LS Helen Frank reports.
MEMORIES OF KOREA
SGT Dave Morley
A FORMER 77SQN pilot recently re-
turned to Korea on a tour sponsored
by the Department of Veterans’
SGT-PLT (later AIRCDRE) Bill
Monaghan operated a Gloucester
Meteor in an interdiction role out of
Kimpo Airbase near Seoul between
May and November 1953.
AIRCDRE Monaghan (retd) said
he was south of Pyongyang flying his
12th mission, on June 13, when his
aircraft was hit by flak damaging the
“I was aware straight away the
engine was knocked out because the
plane suddenly dived away into some
cloud,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t
make it back to base so I headed to-
wards the coast and landed on a beach
on the island of Paengyong-do.
“It was low tide and I landed on the
hard sand. The beauty of the Meteor
was that it was designed to operate off
grass fields in England, so it was quite
happy to land on a beach.”
A Dakota transport flew in with a
new engine and a team of mechanics
to swap it over.
He said the most moving experi-
ence of the DVA tour was visiting the
sites of Kapyong and Maryang San.
“So many lives were lost there and
yet they achieved so much against
such tremendous odds,” he said.
Katherine Hare serves
in the catafalque
party during the
service at the UN
in South Korea. Inset,
DCAF AVM Leo
Davies lays a wreath
during the ceremony.
Photos: LS Helen Frank
HE Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
mission to Korea by 15
Korean War veterans
and 13 personnel from
Australia’s Federation Guard
(AFG) returned to Australia on
Friendships were forged and
memories shared among past and
current serving personnel as they
travelled to historical battle sites
Over seven days the veterans
and guardsmen attended five memo-
rial services and visited the sites of
the Battle of Maryang San, Battle
of Kapyong, the UN Memorial
Cemetery and the demilitarised zone
at the North Korean border.
Veterans were selected for the
trip through nominations from ex-
service organisations. They were
then selected by a thorough process
that considered their war service,
health and ability to undertake the
travel involved, as well as achieving
an appropriate veteran representa-
tion within the mission party across
the three services and the states and
Commissioner of the
Repatriation Commission and DVA,
MAJGEN Mark Kelly, said for
some of the veterans it was their
first time back to Korea in 60 years.
The response from all the veterans
involved was overwhelmingly posi-
“They expressed their gratitude
for the wonderful care provided
by the DVA mission support staff
and also having the opportunity
to spend time with the young men
and women of the AFG,” MAJGEN
The guardsmen also faced a
selection process having their drill
abilities compared with other mem-
bers of the unit to prove they were
suitable for the job.
CDF’s representative, DCAF
AVM Leo Davies, said the AFG was
an asset on the mission.
“They provided a professional
and positive face for our ceremonial
activities,” AVM Davies said.
REFLECTION: Korean War veteran AIRCDRE Bill Monaghan (retd),
left, chats with LAC Ricky Charman from Australia’s Federation Guard
at the UN Memorial Cemetery. AIRCDRE Monaghan (retd) returned to
Korea on a tour sponsored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Photo: LS Helen Frank
“What particularly impressed me
was the outstanding way in which
the members of the guard engaged
with the veterans. I could not tell
that there was any generation gap
Guardsman ACW Katherine
Hare said she was amazed to learn
more about the battles in which the
“I was awe struck to see the
places they fought and the people
they have become,” ACW Hare said.
“I felt honoured to share their
July 27 marked the 60th anni-
versary of the signing of the Korean
War Armistice that brought hostili-
ties to an end.
The Australian Government
answered the call from the UN and
committed about 18,000 troops
including airmen and sailors.
From the beginning of the war
on June 25, 1950 until the Armistice
on July 27, 1953, Australia suffered
about 1600 casualties, including 340
killed in action.
During the war, 30 personnel
were captured. Twenty-nine of these
were repatriated, and one died in
captivity. There are still 43 person-
nel registered as missing in action.
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