Korean War Legacy Project

John Moller

Bio

John Moller graduated high school in 1947 and wanted to join the Australian Navy.  His parents told him to wait a month before they would sign the paperwork since he was only seventeen years old.  Once he was trained, John Moller was sent to Korea stationed on the HMS Sydney with 1,200 other sailors.  As a member of the supply branch, he was given a hot shower daily and he was sent out for two weeks to the east coast of Korea.  Three squadrons of planes were sent off his aircraft carrier to the Korean mainland to bomb and strife the land.  Since John Moller joined the reserves after returning home from the Korean War in 1952, he was then sent to the Vietnam War in a troopship.  Luckily, John Moller has returned to Korea two times and he was able to see the vast improvements made to the country throughout the years.

Video Clips

Answering the Call For the Australian Navy

John Moller enlisted in the Australian Navy in 1950. He was stationed on the HMS Sydney from 1951-1952. After returning to Korea twice after the war, John Moller was able to see first-hand the evolution of the buildings, roads, and culture.

Tags: East Sea,Basic training,Civilians,Cold winters,Front lines,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=&start=100&end=262

Can I Please Join the Australian Navy?

John Moller joined the Australian Navy when he was seventeen with his parents' permission. Aboard the HMS Sydney which was an aircraft carrier with three flight squadrons, he worked in the supply branch. He was on the aircraft carrier along with multiple spitfire planes.

Tags: East Sea,Basic training,Civilians,Front lines,Home front,Living conditions,Pride,Weapons,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=&start=266&end=441

Life on an Aircraft Carrier

John Moller was shipped out for two weeks while stationed aboard the HMS Sydney during the Korean War. He would provide supplies for the sailors on the ship while spitfires strife and bomb the Korean mainland. Luckily, John Moller was able to enjoy a hot shower daily and clean hammocks every two weeks.

Tags: East Sea,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,Pride,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=&start=442&end=628

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

R:        My name is Rex Lawrence McCall.

I:          McCall.  M

R:        M c C A L L.

I:          And what is your birthday?
R:        The Fifth of February, fifth of February, when I was born

I:          Yeah.

R:        1931.

I:          Nineteen thirty-one.  So your birthday just passed.

R:        Yeah.

I:          Ah.

R:        I am 88.

0:00:30

I:          Eighty-eight.

R:        Just passed 88.  I just passed 87.

I:          You look great.  You look great, yeah.  Tell me about your family background when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings.

R:        Um, at that time, I had come from a big family.  There was nine children altogether.

I:          Um.

R:        Uh, my father worked in, um,

0:01:00

Devonport, Tasmania.  We also had my mother’s father living with us for some time.  So it was a big household.

I:          Where were you born actually?  Your birthplace.

R:        Latrobe.

I:          Could you spell it?
R:        L A T R O B E.  Latrobe, Tasmania.

I:          And it’s, uh, yes.  And your siblings?

0:01:30

R:        Um, I was more less in the middle of the family.  Um, there was only, um, three of us still alive.  All the others are deceased.

I:          And tell me about the school  you went through.

R:        I went to, uh, primary school at Brighton in Tasmania.  Uh, when I

0:02:00

finished there, I attended, uh, Devonport High School which is, uh, close by but a bigger town.  Um, I left there, I was a young fellow, and I worked, there was plenty of work about then because this was during World War II.  And I used to, um, make some money on the way home

0:02:30

from school making, uh, boxes to put apples in.

I:          Oh.

R:        We used to have American Liberty ships they were called drop into Devonport Wharf, and we used to send a lot of fruit from Tasmania to England.

I:          So the apple is one of the good

R:        Apples was one of those, yes.  Course I became very good at, very quickly making boxes, yeah.

I:          Um.

R:        Uh, and also potatoes.

0:03:00

A lot of potatoes when it was the West Coast of Tasmania.

I:          So your were able to make money.
R:        I was able to make money.

I:          On your way

R:        After school.

I:          from school to home.

R:        Yeah, not, not a lot but a little bit.

I:          Yeah.  That’s good.

R:        Um, I did various jobs as a teenager, sometimes working in apple orchards, um, and when I was very young, I went to Melbourne.  I worked in Melbourne

0:03:30

for a  while, and I, um, then I was old enough to join the Victoria Police Force which I did. I was a member of the Victoria Police Force when I saw a two-year enlistment in the Army.

I:          When was it?

R:        Uh, would be about ’51 or ’52, ’52 probably.  So I joined the Australian Army K Force

0:04:00

for a two-year enlistment.  I was probably a young lad with a sense of adventure or something.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And, um, I was trained in, um, Australia and then flown to Japan and much further training in Japan at a place called Haramura up in the mountains.

I:          Hm.

R:        A hard days’ march from Hiro.

0:04:30

Um, from there, I completed that training in the British, uh, Commonwealth, uh, training area called a [battle] school.  When I was there, there was a company of, uh, Canadians going through, company British and an Australian company.

I:          Wow.

R:        And when completion with that, I went with a

0:05:00

group of reinforcements to Korea.

I:          When was it?

R:        Um, be ’53, ’53.

I:          What month was it?  Can you remember?  Was it summer?

R:        I think it was around about the middle of the year.  I think it was around about

I:          Was it before

0:05:30

R:        March, March

I:          March.

R:        Around about there.  I forget.

I:          And where did you arrive?  Where did you arrive in Korea?

R:        Um, at that time, I arrived in Korea, I think Pusan.  And from there, the details are very hazy now, but I ended up, um, going to an Australian Army battalion, Two Battalion

I:          Two

R:        an Australian regiment.  I became

0:06:00

a member of B Company, 6th Platoon B Company.

I:          Um hm.

R:        I was a young fellow and, um, when you’re young, you soon mix with your like age people, um, well received in the platoon.

I:          What was your, um, specialty?

R:        I was, uh, a rifleman.

0:06:30

I:          And tell me about the daily routine.  What did you do there?  Was it in the, did you participate in the last battle of Hook?

R:        Yeah.

I:          Were you in the Hook?

R:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.
R:        Initially, I joined the battalion on a hill, I think it might have been 159 feature, um,

I:          Hill 159?

R:        Yes.  It would have been to the West of 355 which was a prominent hill.

I:          Um.

R:        I was there for some time, um.

0:07:00

There was the odd sporadic, um, artillery and mortar fire from the Chinese, uh.  I, um, I went on,um, some nighttime patrols for the route perimeter, um.  I was there probably two or three weeks.  And then my battalion, uh,

0:07:30

was sent to relieve a British battalion on the Hook.

I:          On the Hook.

R:        And that was a nighttime relieve in place, the Army termination, um, in the darkness, um.  We took over the defenses on the Hook.  My company was the Forward Company on the Hook which was a long reach, about 1.5 kilometers in length, and it had a

0:08:00

steep [INAUDIBLE] running down.  And the next high ground, the Chinese people were on, uh.  B Company was the Forward Company

I:          So

R;        And we

I:          What do you, what do you mean by Forward Company?

R:        We, we were the most forward because of the shape of the land,

I:          Um hm

R:        the ridge, it was rather narrow.

I:          Yeah.

R:        and we were

0:08:30

at the very Northwest end.

I:          Um hm.

R:        Very Northwest end.

I:          Yeah.

R:        of the Hook.

I:          And what was your routine?  Tell me the detail.  How did, how did it work in there?

R:        Well, on the Hook, it was 100% stand to all night.  And, uh, we would, um, I was in a bunker with two other riflemen,

0:09:00

and we had a 30 caliber machine gun and our own personal rifles, um.  We would go slightly down the hill to a, um, larger bunker during the day and try and get some sleep while they would maintain a skeleton group to man the perimeter.  I was, uh, I got, I got a terrific shock the, uh,

0:09:30

first morning daylight when I saw where we were.  It reminded me of a scene from World War I

I:          Uh huh

R:        trench warfare.  Trenches and bunkers had been heavily bombarded for a long time.  The possession hadn’t been held by, uh, Canadian troops, by British troops, by American troops. and decimated by South Korean troops at some stage.  There had been a lot of activity there,

0:10:00

And it was shown by the, uh, condition of the trenches and bunkers they had badly damaged.  Um, when possible, uh, early in the morning, there was fog and, uh, therefore [INAUDIBLE] would be limited between us and the opponents.  And then we would, uh, try and, there were dead bodies thrown in front of the bunker, um.

0:10:30

When I was in with two other riflemen had, uh, [chimma] in the back of it, and that had shown where a machine gun had been sprayed across the back in some previous attack.  There was, uh, an arm sticking out of the ground just, just the front of it holding up [potato mash gun] hand grenade

I:          Oh.

R:        and there were a few bodies here and there.  One, obviously, a Chinese officer

0:11:00

I’d say, from his dress.  Um,

I:          Horrible.

R:        Yeah.  Um, uh, they, they were there before we were after previous contact, um.  During the, uh, very early mornings, we could move around a little bit and, uh, attempt to, uh, just to put lyme on the bodies out in front and so on.  Um, but we were very limited

0:11:30

what you could do.

I:          Because the Chinese watching you.

R:        Very close.
I:          How, how close was it?

R:        Well,

I:          100’?

R:        I’d say, um, 150 meters maybe.

I:          So you can actually see everything.

R:        Yes, yes.  And, um, the, the [INAUDIBLE] we were on ran down through a, uh, lower ground.  And then when it rose up the other side, the Chinese were on that beach

I:          Um hm.

0:12:00

R:        Well, that was part of the Hook, not on that shore, but it extended to the, more to the West, Northwest, and they owned that.  And we had the responsibility of, uh, tip of the, uh, the Hook itself, um.  We were there, like I said, we used to try and sleep during the day, but everybody had to be, uh, awake all night, uh.  When we received sporadic mortar and, uh, artillery fire,

0:12:30

after about a fortnight I think it was, B Company were relieved from their forward position by D Company 2 Battalion, uh.  My company, upon being relieved, marched further South away from the front line.  We just go there, to our destination, and we were ordered to about, uh,

0:13:00

and we went back again because a big attack was on the way, the Chinese had hit the area with a lot of mortar and artillery fire, uh.  We caught some of it on the way back, walking back, we, we [INAUDIBLE] and so on.  Um, we ended up in a bunker slightly to the rear of where we had been before.  In other words,

0:13:30

we became a Reserve Company.

I:          Um hm.

R:        Um, the attack was very, um, very noisy, a lot of artillery from our side and from the other side.  And this was sort of never ending.  There were a lot of illumination flares fired.

I:          Um.

R:        bright as day.  And, uh,

0:14:00

this attack continued on the, I’ve got an idea maybe the 23rd, 23rd

I:          July 23.

R:        July.  And it, it was, for two, two nights  it, it went, um.  On the left of where we had been originally with one of our other companies, C Company, and on their left was American

0:14:30

Marine Battalion on .111.  Um, the Chinese attacked and then, I think that must have, the attack must have been beaten off because they attacked again about midnight, and .111 was overrun at the stage.  And the Marines got it back, I think, it was daylight, uh, attack the next day.  They occupied the position.

0:15:00

It was low lying basic ground compared to where we were. We were up higher which was to our advantage probably.  We had a, un, biggest machine gun bunker right near the intersection where the British Commonwealth Division and the American Marine Division met and, uh, they were very helpful in flying across the front of our C Company and, uh,

0:15:30

the area in front of the Marines.
I:          Did you know Matthew Rennie at the time?
R:        Matthew Rennie?
I:          Yeah.

R:        I had met him years ago I think.

I:          Here.

R:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          But you didn’t know him there.

R:        No.

I:          He was there also.

R:        I think he was in 3 battalion, I think.

I:          He, yeah, yeah, yeah.

R:        Yeah.
I:          Third Battalion.

R:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          You were in 2nd Battalion.

R:        Second Battalion.

I:          So it was far from each other?

0:16:00

R:        The first Australian Battalion involved in the Korean War was 3 Battalion.
I:          Um.
R:        They had been in a British Commonwealth Occupation Courses in Japan.
I:          Got it.

R:        They went over.  The had a very difficult role because they had insufficient clothing and so on for the Korean winter.
I:          Um hm.

R:        Um, so they suffered.  Overall, they suffered most terrible.

I:          Sorry for the interruption.  You can just go ahead with, uh, the one, the story that you used to tell me now.

0:16:30

R:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  So you were there and then what, what’s happening?

R:        On the Hook?
I:          Yeah.

R:        Um, well, while we’re sitting in the rear bunker, um, we got a message they wanted, um, assistance, stretcher barer required assistance in the forward company, um.  Myself and, uh, I think it was two other soldiers,

0:17:00

left our position in the bunker, and we went forward.  We found, uh, two or three stretcher bearers

with a patient on the stretcher.  Because of the [INAUDIBLE] in the, uh, Communication trench, they couldn’t get the thing around the bend.  So I leapt on the top of the ground, bit risky but I thought, you know, we can’t do anything else.  And, ,uh, the others followed me with, when I got the stretcher up,

0:17:30

trying to be careful with it, we carried it across very exposed ground for a while until we could put, get back down in the trench.  Um, there were known wars in the area generally.  I don’t think anyone actually fired that out of the, uh, whether it was because they could see we’re carrying a stretcher or whether they had more important targets.  I’m not sure.  But we were very fortunate.

0:18:00

Um, let me see.  Um, the truce was signed, was it the 27th?

I:          Seventh.

R:        Twenty-seventh?  And everything came to a halt.  We could, uh, look at the area in front  of us, and there were heck of a lot of Chinese dead, uh, in some places and, you know, they were two deep in some places due to them having any artillery and, uh,

0:18:30

defensive fire from our machine guns, each of them.  A terrible sight and, uh, for the first time, we could stand up on top of our British and then get a better view of what was going on.  During daylight hours particularly on the hold position, you , you could not do that.

I:          Um.

R:        War of the Crabs as they say.

0:19:00

I:          So during those, um, um, last Battle of Hook, and usually you patrol at night, and it was frightening.  Were you afraid?
R:        I was a young fellow, and I don’t think I was ever really afraid. I felt I was taking a big risk, um.  I was young enough to, um, uh, not greatly worried

0:19:30

about being afraid.  It was all a big, exciting adventure.

I:          Hm.

R:        But I knew it was, uh, could have disastrous results.  I think I privately hope that if I got hit, it was, uh,

I:          Were you worried not ended, wounded?
R:        No.

I:          Not at all?
R:        Not that, nope.

I:          Wow, you’re lucky.

R:        I was lucky, yes sire.   If I got hit, I was hoping that it would be a clean one, you know, instead of losing half your belly or something like that.

0:20:00

Um, so I was lucky.  I’m very thankful for that.  Uh, we looked around and, uh, there was even a dead, uh, American.  He must have been there a long time lying just forward or so.

I:          Um hm.

R:        Um, we could see, uh, I think we sometimes just the Americans and, [we don’t know]

I:          When did you leave Korea?
R:        Uh, it’d be, I believe

0:20:30

late in 1953 I went to Japan.

I:          Um hm.

R:        My, my time was nearly up in K Force.  So I was sent to Japan, and I reengaged in, uh, the Australian Army, uh,  But Headquarters, reengaged.  We was, um, British Commonwealth fighting force B Corp.  I enlisted for six years and, uh, eventually came back to

0:21:00

Australia on a ship, can’t think of the name of it now.  And I remained in the Australian Army for, until 1974 I think it was, ’75, something like that.

I:          Um hm. Were there any Korean, uh, soldier or civilian that worked with you while, when you were there, in

R:        There was.  There was

I:          Tell me about them.

R:        There was one, uh, platoon I think,

0:21:30

and they were referred to as KABCF.

I:          Uh hm.

R:        initials standing for Korean Augmentation British Commonwealth Forces.

I:          Yes.

R:        And we were down to one per platoon.

I:          Um hm.

R:        I still remember  the name of the one we had, Han Man Sum.

I:          Um.

R:        I got a terrible memory, but for some reason I remember that name, Han Man Sum.

I:          What did they do?

R:        They did, uh, what our people did

0:22:00

but, uh, I think their primary role was to act, if required, as interpreters.    Um, but they did what our Australian fellows did.

I:          Um hm.

R:        Same thing.

I:          Did you, did you make good friends with him or what happened?

R:        Well, Han Man Sum, yes, he was a likeable son of a blank.  He got on well with everybody.  He had, uh, I remember he went on leave once and, uh, he came back,

0:22:30

and the soldiers, we usually called them diggers.  A digger used to say how’d you go, Han?  And he’d say oh, number one wife very good.  Number two wife bad temper.  Well, he, he fitted in quite well.  He, he was a young bloke, and young people usually mix quite well.

I:          Did you know anything about Korea?  Did you learn anything about Korea before you left for Korea?

0:23:00

R:        Um, I knew a little bit.  I knew it, the shape of it, projecting out from, um, uh, continent that had joined out there.  Um, I would have known a little bit but not, not a great deal, not a great deal.

I:          What was your first image/  What was your first impression of Korea when you landed in Pusan, uh, 1953?  Be honest.  Just be straight.

R:        Um, the first thing was that it was, uh,

0:23:30

in a bad state because it was obvious even to me that there had been a lot of movement on people.  There were people living in, um, shanties made from opened up beer cans and things, and because space was short, they were practically right up to the railway line, just enough room for the trains to go through.

I:          Um.

R:        And little shanties of cardboard and timber

0:24:00

and beer cans and so on.  And, um, I could see that that was very grim situation.  You, you felt very sorry for them living like that.  And, uh, I forget where that was.  I think that might have been Seoul?
I:          Tell me.  Tell me about Seoul you saw.

R:        Well, I saw very little of it, um, when I was up there in the War. I had a Revisit Trip, and I saw

I:          When?

0:24:30

R:        Um, year I can’t think of. I think it would about a good 15 or more years ago, I think.

I:          Fifteen?  So only 2000?

R:        Something like that, yeah.
I:          Yeah.  And?

R:        It impressed me than because it had grown.  Seoul had grown.  It even encompassed, um, Kimpo Airport I think which had turned in to a museum and there were still, uh, aircraft and tanks and things.  And, uh,

0:25:00

the City of Seoul had, uh, gotten right round it sort of thing. It was, um, part of the city.  When I was here now, I remember it was away from the city, outside the city.  I was impressed with the, um, the buildings and the activity going on.  I think, uh, some of the things I noticed in the odd shop were probably, uh, in front of [INAUDIBLE] in Australia.

0:25:30

You can’t past one of those lady shops, you know, with the latest, uh, um, models from France and what have you.  But they were in the shopping areas and so on.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And I thought well, I don’t see any of those back home, you know.  But, uh, very impressive, um.  They were very busy.  Everybody active.  They treated us very well.  We had a bus

0:26:00

carted us about for a bit of, uh, sightseeing.  And, um, we went up the DMZ.  We were in one of the invasion tunnels

I:          Um hm.

R:        We went down a short distance, and there was, uh, like a steel gate. I forget whether there was actually a shanty on it.  But the tell me once those used to be a North Korean on one side,

0:26:30

South Korean on the other side eyeballing each other through the gate.  I don’t know.  I didn’t, uh, I didn’t see that, but I heard of it.  I thought, I believe there were also a tunnel, there were other tunnels from Pusan.  Uh, they were a good size.  They, uh, you could have driven an Army Jeep through, wide enough for that.

I:          Yeah.

R:        Or several people now.

I:          Just big enough.

R:        Um hm.  Very impressive [INAUDIBLE] lot of work must have

0:27:00

taken place to do that.
I:          That’s been made by the North Korean so that they can penetrate and attack.

R:        Yeah.  They were called Invasion Tunnels.
I:          Yeah.
R:        from our guys, you know.

I:          So how do you link this thought?  The Korea you knew in 1950’2 and the Korea you saw 2000, only 2000.

R:        Well, um, Korea, I didn’t see a great deal of it during the War because we were in the, in

0:27:30

the field all the time or maybe just a little bit back.  Um, So I didn’t see much of any cities, passed through probably, Seoul, Pusan.  I was shipped, at one stage, I went on leave.  I think the ship landed at Pusan on the way back.  Um, rather primitive, rather, um,  not like a peasant type [INAUDIBLE] houses I saw when that, uh, [INAUDIBLE] sort of thing.

0:28:00

Uh, probably mud brick and we, on the Revisit trip, I went to a folk village, part of the tour, and I was impressed.  There wasn’t one of these old style houses, and my heating arrangement was a fire in the [INAUDIBLE] agricultural types, headed across the floor as a means of heating which was very good.

0:28:30

Uh, there was more, um, Korean National dancers and things like that at this folk village.  But I, I was impressed they were all with the way it had developed in Kurae, very modern looking city.  And no doubt the economy was going quite well.  I also remember noting, uh, on the highway in our batch of times,

0:29:00

we’d go along the highway and come to what could have been an emergency air strip.

I:          Um hm.,

R:        It looked like it block off and detour the traffic.

I:          Yeah.

R:        I will say it matters that our cable used to cross open areas like golf course or something like that, um, which was good.  I was pleased to see that they, they had this, uh, little bit of defensive stuff over the

0:29:30

operation.  Didn’t lay airfields or the highways.  The Germans had the same thing in World War II I believe.

I:          Um hm.  Have you been back to Korea since only 2000?  That was first time and last time.

R:        I only, I only had the one trip.

I:          One trip.
R:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  So what do you think about that Korea is still divided?

R:        That’s just a terrible sight.

0:30:00

Terrible sight.  A pity, um, leaders in all countries could not be mature enough to sort out differences and, um, sort out differences without resorting to warfare which happens so often.  We always had it, probably always will.  But I, I’d like to see a world when

0:30:30

country leaders are more advanced in the mind and capable of handling a situation without warfare cause it’s a horrible waste of human life, terrible waste.  But, uh, that would be an interesting experience going to Korea.  I was fortunate  and, um, um, it helped me a little bit later on,

0:31:00

um, having seen active service when I was in the Army, and I, later on I went to places like [INAUDIBLE] and Viet Nam and so on.

I:          So you left Korea, oh, at the end of 1953.

R:        I think it was.

I:          Yeah.  And do you know whether, uh, Australian History textbook covers much about the Korean War and the Korea?

0:31:30

R:        I don’t think it covers a great deal.  I’ve seen the odd book, um, were they written by ex-service people or, uh, other people who’ve some reason or other spent considerable time up there?    But, um, my, my answer is no.  I haven’t seen

I:          Why we don’t teach about  this because the country that you fought for was miserable.

0:32:00

Now it’s 11th largest economy in the world and very democratic society.

R:        Uh, that’s true.

I:          Very substantive democracy,  Uh, I think it’s, uh, kind of unprecedented phenomenon in the History  of 20thcentury, um, and many people died there, you know, two, two million civilian North Korean and South Koreans died of it, and  399 Australian soldiers been killed, and over 1,000

0:32:30

people being wounded and, and missing in action.

R:        Yes, yes.

I:          It’s a very, kind of, uh, historical event that we need to, to talk about it and to teach to the, our young generation.
R:        Yes.

I:          Why we don’t do that?

R:        I don’t know.  For several years, it was not even called a War in Australia.  It was regarded as a police action.
I:          Hm.

R:        I’d say that was partly due to, um, hig-ranking

0:33:00

political leaders, not only in Australia but other parts of the world.
I:          So President Truman called it police action.

R:        Police action, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  It must have been political reasons, and they don’t use the word war.

I:          Yeah.  did, they didn’t want a war after World War II, right?

R:        Yeah

I:          Yeah

R:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

R:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          So what, what do you think we have to do to change that reality?

R:        What I, what

0:33:30

I mentioned previously, I hope that, um, mankind there’s progression, and I hope that the minds of our leaders in the future will be capable of settling differences without killing each other.  That’s, uh, a terrible thing to do.  But it’s always been there, you know.  Way back it’s been, uh, people getting spit at and hacked with swords and

0:34:00

stuff like that.

I:          Um.

R:        Uh, and looking at it from, um, human history point of view, you could probably say that there always will be war.  But, but I hope, I hope we can go out of that.  We can be more intelligent and, uh, not go down that trail.

I:          Hm.

R:        that track.  That’s what I hope.  Um, but then again, we’re sad to hear about another war in

0:34:30

a few months, middle age or somewhere.

I:          Yeah.
R:        Um, terrible.

I:          What would you say to the Korean people in the context of, uh, having 70th anniversary of the Korean War break out in 2020, next year?
R:        I would say that I have met many young Koreans, uh, in Australia.  They are very polite and they know that I have been involved

0:35:00

in Korea previously.  They are so polite it is r refreshing for young people.  I like that.  I am impressed by the, um, way Korea, South Korea, has progressed with its’ economy, and it’s no doubt raised the standard o f living and so on.  And, um, that is good to see.  And, uh,

0:35:30

in that light, I am please that I had a minute part in being a member of the military during that War.  But I think, um, South Korea will continue to go quite well because people are, um, oriented in that direction, and it is, uh, more than part,

0:36:00

I don’t know.  Can’t answer that.  I just, I just hope that one day they, um, rejoin on peaceful terms.  I don’t, I don’t think that would be impossible.

I:          Um.

R:        It might take, it might be a few different, uh, levels of leadership before we get that far.  Uh, that’s, that’s the way the world is.

I:          How did the Korean War service affect yourself?

0:36:30

R:        Well, I just have a few dreams, um. I probably had a touch of Post Traumatic Stress, but I, I never worried about that. I used to get the odd bad dream. I used to sometimes, ,uh, I’d be asleep and I’d dream of a, an advancing line of people, um, running over, right over me and beyond,

0:37:00

and they were sort of stylized figures, you know.  You couldn’t, not identifiable humans but stylized figures.  I had those for a while, um.  But I

I:          In terms of a human being.

R:        Yes.

I:          How did it affect you?

R:        As a human being, um, it made me a bit more mature and, uh,

0:37:30

helped me, uh, see the world and probably myself, uh, slightly differently to, uh, before I went in as a young fellow.  Part of that assessment thing might be age related, too. As we get older, we can, more mature, act more sensible.

I:          Um.

R:        Um, and I, I was quite please with my, uh, service in the military during the Korean War.

0:38:00

I:          Are you proud to be a Korean War veteran?
R:        Yes, yes.  When we come back, uh, I remember there was not a great deal of, um, people being pleased to see us or anything.  Except maybe old soldiers from World War II.  They’d make you welcome I’m sure.  But the  Australian civil population was not really interested in wars or anything like that because

0:38:30

they’d had it so easy so long.  Except those people who had gone overseas and been in the military.  Um, Australia is very isolated, you know.  Big continent down there, very few people in it and, um, uh, living nice easy sort of a life.  I was born and grew up during the Great Depression,

I:          Um hm.

R:        and, uh, big family.

0:39:00

Uh, our parents were good to us.  We never had, never went hungry or anything like that.  But it must have been a very battle for them, no doubt about that.  But, uh, I think that helps toughen you up a little bit for later on.

I:          Um hm.

R:        I suspect a little bit now that some of our younger people, uh, not used to having a hard time and it’ll all happen greatly if it comes.  On the other hand,

0:39:30

the young people that I served within, uh, Viet Nam, National Servicemen, they were a good, good group, good cross section of the community
I:          Um hm.

R:        They were good people.  But, you know, and I see, uh, young people sort of, uh, dressed with earrings and all that rubbish and dyed hair and so on and so on and so on, I, uh

0:40:00

I don’t know when is that person gonna grow up, you know.  Sure there’s gonna come a time when they think, uh, I must look ridiculous. [INAUDIBLE]  Probably some of them never do.

I:          Okay, yeah.  Any other story or episode of battle that you want to share?
R:        Korea, no.  I got, uh, wounded in Viet Nam on an operation called Hobart.

I:          Um hm.

0:40:30

R:        I was the, uh, Company Sargent Major of B Company, 6th Battalion which was a new battalion raised specifically to go to Viet Nam, um.

I:          What, uh, in Korean War?

R:        Oh, in the Korean War?
I:          Yeah, any other episode that you want to share?   You think it’s important for us to know?

0:41:00
R:        No, no.  Nothing else to add no.  I was just a private soldier.  Did what I was told.

I:          Yeah.  But because you fought and the U.N. Forces fought for the Korean people so that we were able to rebuild our nation.

R:        Yeah.
I:          and that’s where we are.  And that’s why we want to do this, preserve your memory, honor your service,

R:        Yeah.

I:          and educate our children about the history.

R:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          So I want to thank you.  Thank you.  Great honor and pleasure to meet you,

0:41:30

and thank you for sharing your story with us.

R:        Thank you very much.

I:          Thank you.

R:        It’s a pleasure.

[End of Recorded Material]