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Edward Willis

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Perth's new Korean War Memorial (https://pkwm.org.au) was officially opened yesterday (27 July 2023) - exactly 70 years since the armistice agreement which ended the Korean War was signed.  Often referred to as the “Forgotten War”, the conflict ebbed and flowed on the Korean peninsula between 1950 and 1953.  Australia played a crucial role in defending South Korea and was just the second country, after the US, to send military forces as part of a United Nations' response to North Korean and Chinese aggression.


2/2 Commando Association President Noel Strickland and committee members Ed Willis and John Burridge attended the opening.

It is of interest to note that at least six 2/2 Commando Squadron veterans served in the Korean War: Ray Parry (WX12415), John (Jack) Stafford (later Steen) (VX18894), Alf Peters (WX16414), Frank Cahill (WX17861), Harris Brown (WX13194) and George Paterson (NX127251).  The names of the WA men are inscribed on panels on the reverse of the main memorial.

Ray Parry’s service is particularly noted on the Memorial website under the heading “Inspiring Leadership”: “Corporal Ray Parry of South Perth was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for the courage he displayed on the night of 23 April 1951, during the battle of Kapyong.  Parry and four of his mates held an outpost at the rear of the ridge occupied by B Company.  When the Chinese tried to outflank the company position, they ran into the outpost.  Despite repeated attacks Parry and his men held out till dawn”.  (https://pkwm.org.au/2022/07/25/inspiring-leadership/)


Korea. 1951-04-26. Lance Corporal M. R. Neyland (left) and 5/400049 Corporal R. N. Parry, both members of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), keep an eye out for the enemy on Hill Sardine. (https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C275185)

Jack Stafford is one of a small group of Australian servicemen awarded the Silver Star – the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded by the US.  The citation states: “Pte Stafford a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, distinguished himself by gallantry in action against the enemy north of the Chong-Chon River in Korea on the 29th October 1950. … Throughout the entire campaign Pte Stafford has shown outstanding courage and has been an inspiration to all members of his unit.  His masterful use of the Bren gun and his complete disregard for his own safety have repeatedly been the deciding factor in carrying his unit to success over numerically superior enemy forces”.  (https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/vx/john-henry-stafford-r636/)

George Paterson re-enlisted in the Army on 29 October 1950 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), landing at Pusan South, Korea.
“The Chinese launched their first offensive on 1 Nov 1950 causing a withdrawal of the UN force, including 3 RAR.  3 RAR blocked the enemy attack on the 4-5 Nov 1950 at the Chongchon river where George was killed.  He was 29 years old.
George Paterson’s body, along with the bodies of seven British soldiers, were handed over by the North Koreans.  They were re-buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery at Pusan South Korea”.  (https://gloucesterrslsub.com.au/news-reminisce/21-paterson-a-soldier-who-saw-action-in-ww-2-and-korea.html)


Grave of 2400018* Private (Pte) George Angus Paterson, of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), who was killed in action on 5 November 1950. Pte Paterson's body, along with the bodies of seven British soldiers also killed in North Korea in 1950, was recently handed over by the Communists (North Koreans), for reburial in the United Nations Military Cemetery at Pusan, Korea. A wreath was laid at the grave of Pte Paterson after the burial service, which was conducted by Australian Presbyterian padre, Senior Chaplain R M Park.  * NOTE: Korean War service no.

A feature of the ceremony was a formation fly pass by three Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainer aircraft of No. 2 Flying Training School RAAF, Pearce to recognise the contribution of the RAAF during the Korean War.  An early casualty in the conflict was Wing Commander Lou Spence, DFC and Bar, brother of the first Commanding Officer of the 2/2, Major (later Lt. Col.) Alex Spence, DSO.  Just a week into the Korean War, airmen of 77 Squadron under Spence’s command, who had been stationed in Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupying Force (BCOF), were flying ground-attack missions and bomber escorts from Iwakuni, Japan.  On 9 September 1950 he led four Mustangs in an attack on storage facilities at An'gang-ni, South Korea, which had recently been captured by the communists.  While he was operating at low level because of poor visibility, his aircraft failed to pull out of a steep dive and he was killed when it crashed into the centre of the town.


Raymond Norman PARRY WX12415


John Henry STAFFORD VX18894



Alfred George Philip PETERS WX16414


Francis Ernest CAHILL WX17861


Harris John BROWN WX13194


George Angus PATERSON NX127251


Edited by Edward Willis
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