June 25, 1950 heralded the invasion of
North Korea into the borders of South Korea after a 35 year
occupation of Japan during World War II.
That same instance,
the United Nations Council created a resolution, a
resolution that mandated the cessation of all conflict from
North Korea within the borders of its South counterpart. It
also called for allies of the UN nations to provide ample
support in the coming conflict and in stemming the spread of
Led by Australian Prime
Minister Robert Menzies, the Liberal government of
Australia, instantly answered the UN resolution by
offering and sending military assistance and
personnel into the Korean War. An estimated 17,000
Australians served in the conflict of the Korean War
that lasted 3 years from 1950 to 1953.
Australia without delay supplied the No. 77 Squadron
RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) and the 3rd
Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) in the
Korean War. Both of these regiments were stationed
in Japan under the British Commonwealth Occupation
Force (BCOF). The Royal Australian Regiment
of the 3rd Batallion (3RAR) was assigned as
Australia's contribution as a core land force
regiment to the UN allied presence in the Korean
The 3 RAR underwent an intensive training
period and reinforcement in Japan. The battalion touched down in
South Korea in late month of September 1950.
A part of the central invasion
force under the command of then UN Supreme
Commander, General Douglas MacArthur, the 3 RAR were
positioned north and was involved in its first major
war conflict near Pyongyang. During the course of
the Korean War, the UN military advance greatly
concerned the Chinese.
Chinese border of the Yalu River, the border between North
Korea and China, and broaden their campaign
well into China.
Military analyst in the West, including the
general of the UN military advance, General
Douglas MacArthur, saw the need in spreading
the war to China.
The Chinese military council was
worried that the UN military forces would not stop at the
Strategically, it would be necessary to
deploy within China as enemy supply depots
were located well within the borders in
China. To cripple the enemy, MacArthur
deemed it necessary to render those supply
With the rising tension, Chinese
military forces attacked the Kapyong Valley. The assault
pushed allied troops into a retreat. With the heavy assault,
the South Korean 6th Division broke, and the line of defense collapsed Allied ground troops retreated under protective
covering fire from Australian infantry who maintained their
section of the defense.
The Australian regiment of the
3rd Battalion and Canadian troops were ordered to
halt this Chinese advance. The mission was to block
the two approaches to Kapyong. In only a few hours,
they managed to prepare defensive positions which
was a major turning point in Australia’s involvement
in the Korean War. From 1951 to the end of the war, 3 RAR
held trenches along the UN defense. During this time,
Australia determined the need to increase military force,
the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment was sent
in as well. As the Korean War continued, several of the
other allied nations grew less willing to add more ground
troops into the war.
Australia on the other hand increased its military strength
in the Korea War.
U.S. President Eisenhower opened negotiations with Korea to
end the conflict. In line with this, the UN accepted India’s
proposal for a Korean weapons stand down or armistice. On 27
July 1953 a cease-fire was reached.
After the war ended, Australians remained in Korea for four
years as military observers. Australia gained political and
security benefits, the most important being the signing of
the ANZUS Treaty. Out of 17,000 Australians who served in
Korea War, casualties numbered more than 1,500, of whom 339