Order of Service
Thursday 27 July 2023
Let us remember and give thanks to those who have given their lives from all
theatres of war and who have given us the freedom and the rights we enjoy today.
My name is Tony Harris, Vice President of Gracemere & District RSL Sub Branch.
Welcome to the 3 Korean War Veterans here today, Vince Mathers, Geoff Arnold
and Bob Hay, and welcome also to RSL Central Queensland District President, Phil Luzzi, Barry Vains, RSL Advocates, fellow members,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Opening Prayer – Chap Gordon Kerkham
Address – Tony Harris, Vice President
Wreath Layers – Read by Bas Soper
The Ode – Vince Mathers
All welcome to join us now at Gracemere Hotel for lunch.
Thank you for attending Korean Veterans’ Day 2023
Lest we forget
A fantastic day was had yesterday when we celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on 27 July in 1953 (what is now) Korean Veterans’ Day at Gracemere RSL which was followed by lunch at Gracemere Hotel. We all had an excellent feed and enjoyed the camaraderie along with many stories with the 3 ex-RAR Korean War Veterans, Vince Mathers, Geoff Arnold and Bob Hay, as well as the son of another ex-3RAR Korean Veteran, Jeffrey Jones, who shares his father’s name. We were joined by RSL Central Queensland District President, Phil Luzzi (and his wife Robyn), Barry Vains, ex District President, Cockscomb President, Robert Holmes (and other members), Rockhampton RSL President, Rawdon Dundas-Taylor, and Cr Ellen Smith.
The 3-year war on the Korean Peninsular was the first open conflict of the Cold War. On 25th June 1950 North Korean troops crossed the 38th Parallel into South Korea. Two days later the United Nations’ Security Council in New York committed forces from willing nations to aid South Korea – Australia was one of 21 countries that supported them against the Communist North.
The first of the Australian forces to be sent to South Korea was 77 RAAF Squadron along with the Frigate HMAS Shoalhaven and the Destroyer HMAS Bataan, which were both stationed in Japan at the time. In September 1950, the Government sent the 3rd Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment followed by 1RAR then 2RAR.
On 19th October 1950, the Chinese forces crossed the Yalu River and entered the War. Some of the major battles that the Australians fought were Kapyong, Maryang San and Samichon.
On 19th July 1953, an agreement for the Armistice between the UN and the Communists was reached, and the Armistice Agreement was signed at 10am on 27th July 1953. The former belligerent nations each withdrew 2 kilometres in accordance with the Armistice Agreement, forming the Demilitarised Zone which still exists today.
Australian Forces remained in Korea as part of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force until 1957. More than 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War, supporting South Korea alongside 21 other allied nations in defence of freedom and peace. Tragically, some 340 Australians lost their lives (KIA), more than 1,200 were wounded (WIA), 29 were taken prisoner (POW), and more than 40 remain missing in action (MIA). However these efforts went largely unnoticed in Australia, causing added suffering for many who served in the so-called ‘forgotten war’.
Casualty figures for some of the other UN Forces – Republic of Korea KIA 415,004, United Kingdom 670, Turkey 717, New Zealand 31, Ethiopia 120, and United States 29,550, just to name a few. A huge price to pay to stop the Communist aggression!
We join together in recognising and honouring the invaluable contribution of our Korean War veterans and to ensure their service and sacrifice is never forgotten. On this Korean Veterans’ Day, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.