AUSTRALIA AND THE KOREAN WAR
The Korean War was the first occasion that members of the United Nations acted collectively to repel aggression. Australian units served in combat from 1950 to 1953 and continued in Korea from the armistice to 1957 as part of the United Nations Command to preserve the independence of the Republic of Korea.
From September 1950, and following the amphibious landing at Inchon and the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the multinational force cleared South Korea and advanced into North Korea towards the border with China. In November 1950 after the Chinese entry to the war, the UN ground forces faced Chinese offences which forced them to retreat in appalling winter conditions to positions south of the 38th parallel.
With a continuous front from sea to sea, the dramatic advances and withdrawals of the first six months came to an end. After early 1951 offensives and counter offensives the war entered a phase of contesting heavily defended emplacements along the front which eventually became the cease fire line. Despite the first initiatives in 1951 to end the war it dragged on until 27 July 1953 when an armistice was signed.
From 29 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, some 17000 Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen served in the Korean War. Australian casualties were 339 killed, 1216 wounded and 29 prisoners of war. 43 Australian servicemen are still listed as Missing In Action.
Twenty other countries contributed combat and medical units to the United Nations command in Korea.
Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen won world respect for their courage, endurance and combat skills. The service of a small group of Australians in the years 1950 to 1953, and the sacrifice of those who did not return are not forgotten.