Pandemic stops any chance of remembering the Korean War, the "forgotten war"

Forgotten war: Korean youngster
Forgotten war: Korean youngster "Jimmy" plays draughts with Leading Aircraftman Lance Lee of No. 77 Squadron, RAAF, who was part of the No. 77 Squadron headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown. The photo was taken at Kimpo, South Korea om 1953. Photo: Australian War Memorial JK0797

Port Macquarie RSL sub-Branch president Greg Laird says members will be disappointed not be able to mark the signing of the Korean War armistice on Monday July 27.

Known as the "forgotten war" because it fell between the Second World War and the Vietnam conflict, 17,000 Australian soldiers entered the theatre of war.

Australia was the second of 21 nations to join the conflict.

Mr Laird OAM, said the sub-branch records indicated that there were very few Korean veterans in their ranks.

"I know of only one who is a member but there could be more out in the community," he said.

"Unfortunately our members can't acknowledge the signing of the armistice - we can't have a service because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

"We've obviously missed out on Anzac Day and we will also miss remembering our fallen friends and mates on VP Day (August 15) and Vietnam Veterans Day (August 18)."

Mr Laird said VP Day was becoming more significant to remember given the number of World War II veterans who are passing away.

"Not be able to honour these men and women does leave you with a bit of an empty feeling," he said.

"You do want to honour those comrades. But we can't do it."

You do want to honour those comrades. But we can't do it.

Greg Laird OAM

Mr Laird said the sub-Branch membership had not been able to meet for a number of months.

He said a normal monthly meeting would attract between 60 and 70 members and the sub-Branch had put a stop to any plans to host invite-only meetings.

"I couldn't say to one member you can come to the next meeting and then tell another bloke you can't come," he added.

Mr Laird said the Korean War and the Malayan conflict were often forgotten because of when they were held.

However, he added, we still had Australian troops in both theatres.

Korean Veterans Day is usually acknowledged on April 24 - and coincides with the Battle of Kapyong in 1951.

Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie said the Korean War started on June 25 1950 with Australia commiting troops, ships, aircraft and medical units in defence of South Korea.

For three years, one month and two days personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force served as part of the United Nations (UN) multinational force fighting with distinction in an unrelenting war of attrition.

More than 150 Australian nursing sisters served both in Korea and Japan, where they treated the wounded and sick. Some 1500 casualties were suffered during the war and post-Armistice period, which tragically included the deaths of more than 350 Australians.

An agreement for an Armistice was reached on July 19 1953 between the UN and communist forces and the date for the signing was set for July 271953. Australian forces remained in Korea until 1957 as part of a multi-nation peacekeeping force.

The Korean War is sometimes referred to the 'forgotten war', as it occurred between the large scale Second World War and the first war to be broadcast on television, the Vietnam War, Dr Gillespie said.

"To all of Australia's Korean War veterans, we thank you for your service," he added.

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