Korean War Legacy Project

Norma L. Holmes


While Norma Holmes did not serve in the Korean War, her life has been heavily impacted by the war. Both her first husband, Neville Exon Hubbard, and her second husband, Dennis George Holmes, served in the war. Norma Holmes shares how her first husband had many mental health issues that arose from his experiences as a sniper. She said that both of her husbands never really spoke of the war. However, she learned more about the war when she visited Korea with her husband in 1989. She explains her heavy involvement in the Salvation Army and how that is connected to Korea as well. She considers herself an ambassador for  the Korean War as she has spent much time trying to share about the war.

Video Clips

Silence about the War

Norma Holmes shares what she heard from her husband about the Korean War. She tells a story of how her husband was ambushed at The Battle of the Hook. He told her mostly about the good times, including the fun that they had in Japan. She believes that this is because he was instructed not to share any details about his time in Korea.

Tags: 1953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-29,Front lines,Home front,Pride

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Visiting Korea

Norma Holmes shares that she had the opportunity to visit Korea with her husband in 1989. She recalls having a wonderful time as a wife of a Korean War veteran. She recounts that they were treated like royalty while they were there by the Korean people, including Korean children.

Tags: Civilians,Modern Korea,Pride

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Working with the Salvation Army

Norma Holmes comments on her Salvation Army involvement. She shares that she was a Captain and anointed pastor in Melbourne and explains what they do as a church. She describes how she had to resign from administrative responsibilities due to her first husband’s health issues related to the Korean War. She also discusses her revisit with her husband to Korea in 1989.

Tags: Modern Korea

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

N:  Norma – N O R M A   Lesley – L E S L E Y  and surname H O L M E S, Holmes.

I:          Holmes.  Very nice meeting you.  And what is your, I have to ask this question.  What is your birthday?
N:        My birthday is the seventeenth of July, 1931.

I:          Wow, nineteen thirty-one.  So now you are,


how old are you?
N:        Eighty-seven.  Going on 88.

I:          Eighty-seven.  I have to  say this, you look like 57.

N:        Oh, thank you.

I:          Am I good enough?

N:        Yes, you pass.  You’ve won me.

I:          Where were you born?

N:        I was born in Thornbury, Victoria.

I:          Could you spell it?
N:        T H O R N B U R Y.


I:          Thornvu

N:        Thornbury.  B U R Y.

I:          B U I Y.

N:        R Y.

I:          R Y.  Okay.  Thornbury, yeah.

N:        Yes.

I:          It’s Victoria.

N:        It’s a suburb of Melbourne.

I:          Suburb of Melbourne.
N:        Yes.

I:          Ah.  I was just right there, you know.  I went to the Twelve Apostles, you know, the Great Ocean Road.

N:        Yes, on the Ocean Road.

I:          Yeah, yeah, yeah.

N:        Wonderful.  Wonderful views.


I:          So tell  me about your whole family when you were growing up.

N:        Well, I was the eldest of three children

I:          Um.

N:        My father who went for his call up to the Second World War, was found he had cancer, and he died at 38.

I:          Um.

N:        And so we were a family brought up by my mother.

I:          Um hm.

N:        And with a five month-old baby, it’s my youngest brother who died early


last year.

I:          Um.  Sorry to hear that.  What was your parents doing at the time?

N:        My father was a jeweler.

I:          Jeweler.
N:        A jeweler

I:          Ah.

N:        And my mother was home duties.

I:          Uh huh.

N:        And he was aged 38.

I:          Wow.  So your family has been rich.

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.  That’s good.  And tell me


about the school you went through.
N:        Well, I went to Thornbury State School

I:          Um hm

N:        And, uh, got to the, uh, 6th grade and, uh, part of 7th before I had to go out to work at 13

I:          Um.

N:        so that my mother and two brothers could survive.

I:          Alright.  So did you learn


anything about Korea before?

N:        No, not much.

I:          From the school?
N:        No.

I:          Never?

N:        No.

I:          Oh.  They didn’t teach about my great country?

N:        No.

I:          My goodness.

N:        I had to work a lot.  I had a husband to tell me about it.

I:          Ah, that’s why you are here, right, so you are not  Korean War veteran.

N:        No.

I:          No.

N:        I was married to two Korean veterans.

I:          Two Korean veterans.

N:        Yes.

I:          So you didn’t learn anything about Korea before in your school?


Did you know where Korea was when you were in the school?

N:        Not really that much, no.

I:          Not at all.

N:        No.

I:          So now you’ve been married to two Korean War veterans, not one but two.

N:        Two, yes.

I:          How do you explain this?  You didn’t know anything about Korea, but you been  married to two Korean War veterans?

N:        Well, I met a soldier that had just come back from the Korean Conflict

I:          Uh huh.

N:        and, uh,

I:          Did you say Korean Conflict?


N:        I said Korean Conflict.

I:          Was a Korean War.

N:        I said, yes.  But they only termed it as conflict at first.  It’s only been really since the Viet Nam War that they have remembered there was one in Korea, and it was truly a War.

I:          Wow.  That’s

N:        But the  stories I heard from my first husband

I:          Yeah


N:        and, uh, he was, uh, difficult in the fact that he was, uh, very much into himself, didn’t talk much about things and, uh, had lots of [INAUDIBLE] health problems in his mind.

I:          Um.  So let’s talk about those.  When did you  marry the first husband, and what was his name?

N:        Neville Edson Hubbard.


I:          Could you spell it?
N:        Neville, N E V I L L E    Exon, E X O N,  Hubbard , H U B B A R D.

I:          I

N:        H U B B A, A R D.

I:          I R D.  So Neville, N A V I L L E?

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.


When did you  marry him?
N:        In 1953.

I:          What month?

N:        November.

I:          What day?

N:        Fourteenth.

I:          You remember that, right?

N:        Yeah.

I:          You never forget.

N:        No.

I:          Explain us.  How did you, did you know him before?

N:        No .  I only met him after he came back from the War.

I:          So tell me


details, when did you meet him, what day, and how did you meet him, and what, what’s been done?  Tell me.

N:        Well, I was at church, and he came to the same Salvation Army church

I:          Um hm.

N:        And joined in with the youth of that church including me, and eventually we became engaged in June, 1953, and married in November, 1953.


I:          When did you come back?  When did he come back?
N:        He came back from Korea in 1953.

I:          What, what month?

N:        Oh, early in the year.  I’m not sure.

I:          Uh huh.  And you, you married him in 1953.

N:        Yes.

I:          June?

N:        No, engaged

I:          Engaged.

N:        Yes, married November.

I:          November.

N:        1953.

I:          Why did you marry him?


Tell me, please.  Be honest.  Was he handsome man?

N:        A tall, yes.  A tall, uh, strong, appeared to me to be very, uh, brave and courageous because he’d been to the War, and I was looking for someone to love me, and he said he did.

I:          You hadn’t, you hadn’t had any boyfriend at  the time?

N:        Oh, I’d had other boyfriends.  Don’t worry about  that.

I:          A lot?
N:        Yeah, two or three


I:          My goodness.

N:        before that.

I:          You’re bad girl.

N:        I am.

I:          But you chose him.

N:        Now, now I work as a Chaplain

I:          Oh.

N:        at the RSL at Runaway Bay, and I’ve got  plenty  of boyfriends.

I:          But you chose him because he was a veteran, right?

N:        Oh well, to a certain extent, yes.

I:          So what happened after you married?

N:        I had affection for him.


Everything was fine, um.  Everything seemed perfect until after [War II]was badly burnt.

I:          Burned?

N:        Burnt.  Eighteen months old.  She went up in flames.

I:          What happened?

N:        Um, I, uh, primary stove exploded when her father was looking after her.  And I believed that that set him off to


continually want to be lying in bed and something’s wrong with him.

I:          Ah.

N:        he had a [ INAUDIBLE] metal in his head.  He was, told me he could be, um, um,  the metal could hit the nerve that would send him blind, stupid or kill him.

I:          Yeah.

N:        And for 32 years, I believed that was so


and cared for him and looked after him and then found out it was  a fallacy.

I:          I am so sorry.

N:        And in between that, we had a daughter that died of Leukemia.  So

I:          Ah.

N:        It was a pretty traumatic time for me.

I:          Yeah.  Must been so hard for you.

N:        Yes.

I           Ah.

N:        So with all that, the marriage ended,


and a person I had met

I:          Um.

N:        uh, through my first husband

I:          Uh huh.

N:        became, um, came up to find me in Brisbane because that’s where I was living at the time and, uh, said that he would like to make a life with me, and he eventually became my second husband.

I:          I see.  So before we go into your, um, second marriage,


tell me about Neville, uh, as a Korean War veteran.  What did he say to you about  the Korean War?
N:        Not much, only more fun things that had happened with the soldiers.  He didn’t talk very much about the War at all.

I:          Do you remember anything he said to you about the Korean War and his servic3?
N:        He said he was a sniper and that, uh, he had, um,


of course, met up with hand to, like the North Koreans and the, him, uh,

I:          Uh huh, hand to hand?

N:        close as you are to me.

I:          Wow.  And survived?
N:        Yes. He survived and, uh, that was not, looking, he seemed to always be looking for simple things.


So he had these imaginary medical issues

I:          Uh.

N:        which brought us, it was because of him that I moved to Brisbane

I:          I see.

N:        because he said that he had to move to another climate, and that caused all doubts in my mind since I found out about his medical and mental condition.

I:          Um hm.


Did, do you remember his unit?  Was he Army or

N:        He was in the regular Army

I:          Uh huh

N:        and he was in 3rd Battalion

I:          Third Battalion, yeah

N:        Three Oblique 2570 I think from memory.  That was his Army number.

I:          Twenty-five seventy?

N:        Twenty-five seventy, 3/

I:          Uh huh


twenty-five seventy.

I:          Uh huh.

N:        He eventually became a TPI.

I:          TPI means

N:        Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

I:          Uh huh.  So do you know when he went to Korea?

N:        Nineteen fifty-one I think.

I:          And he came back 19

N:        Fifty-three.

I:          Three.  So he was there almost three years.


N:        Yes.

I:          Uh huh

N:        Two to three years.

I:          Was he wounded?

N:        No, not really.  But he claimed to be.

I:          Came to be.  What is that?

N:        He claimed to be.

I:          Claimed to be.  Okay.

N:        He claimed to be injured.

I:          Uh huh.  What did he say?

N:        He had shrapnel in the fluid around the brain.

I:          Uh.


N:        which would kill him, um, send him insane or blind him.

I:          Uh huh.  Did you notice that?  Any symptoms?
N:        Well I lived, I lived on edge for 32 years that something was going to happen to him/

I:          Hm.  Did he had PTSD?  It’s like a nightmare and in the dream, you know?
N:        Ah, yes.  He, he had dreams at times.


I:          Uh huh.  What did he

N:        But he didn’t  do anything to me.

I:          That’s very nice.

N:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah, yeah.  Because some of the veterans who has a severe symptoms of PTSD, they cry, they yell, they throw things and

N:        Well, second husband, yes.  Hands around the throat, yes.

I:          Oh.   So you’ve been married to two Korean War veterans, and the life


wasn’t that easy at all.

N:        No.  No.

I:          Wow.  So did he say anything other than what you said so far about the Korean War?

N:        No, nothing at all.

I:          So when you met Neville, did you know anything about  Korea?

N:        No.

I:          Did you learn anything about Korea even after t hat?
N:        Yes, when I was married to him./

I:          Yeah

N:        that it was a lovely country and, uh, I was


able to go with my second husband back to Korea, and I’ve seen your country.

I:          So let’s talk about that.  So when did you meet your second husband, and what’s his name?

N:        Well, my second husband’s name was Dennis, D E N N I S

I:          Uh huh.

N:        George, G E O R G E

I:          Um hm.

N:        Holmes, H O L M E S.  And, uh, I met


him in about, my daughter that was born in ’57, I met him when I was, he was about, she was about 18 months old.  So it would have been

I:          Eight, 58 or 5

N:        Fifty-eight, 59.

I:          Uh huh.

N:        I met my second husband because they were both soldiers together

I:          Together.

N:        in Korea.


I:          Ah.

N:        And I was introduced to him, to Dennis, by Neville.

I:          Um.  So tell me about, uh, Dennis.  Was, was it, he was in the Army and

N:        Yes, in K Force.

I:          K Force?

N:        Yes.

I:          What is that?

N:        He joined up just to go to Korea.

I:          Ah hah.  And he was in the 3rd Battalion too.

N:        No.  He was in first and second.

I:          First and second.


N:        Yeah.

I:          And what was his specialty, just

N:        Infantry.

I:          Infantry man?
N:        and, uh, uh, with the stretcher, you know, the, um,

I:          Yeah, stretcher

N:        Stretcher barer.

I:          Oh, I see.  So medical assistance?

N:        Yes.

I:          Okay.

N:        Yes.

I:          What about your first husband?  What was his specialty, rifleman?

N:        Rifleman, yes.

I:          Okay.

N:        Sniper.


I:          Sniper.  Oh, I, okay.  That’s why he has a lot of, uh, images of people being killed, right?

N:        Yes.

I:          Because he is looking at those, you know, the

N:        Yes.

I:          And when did he go, the, Dennis?  When did he go to Korea?

N:        In, uh, about ’52, ’53.

I:          Uh huh.  And so they were friends to each other.

N:        Yes.  They were friends.


I:          Uh huh.  It’s like a movie, you know.

N:        It is.
I:          We can make a movie out of this.

N:        Oh yes, we can.  We can make a lot of money [INAUDIBLE]

I:          I’m not sure.  I’m not good at making money, but at least I can see the story coming out of it, yeah.

N:        Yes.  And there’s a story connected with my husband that I got to tell you about.

I:          Um.

N:        Now, when he was ambushed with

I:          Dennis or Neville?

N:        Denis was ambushed


I:          Yeah.

N:        with another guy called Mecca who was carrying an injured man on a stretcher back to the Australian lines.

I:          Yeah

N:        And they were ambushed, and his, they changed places on the stretcher.  My husband changed to being in the front of the stretcher because he was tall

I:          Um.

N:        going down the,


the hills of Korea as you would know what they were like.  This was in the Samichon Valley.

I:          What?

N:        Manishon or some name Valley?

I:          Uh huh, okay.

N:        where there was, um, a lot of fighting.  And it was the Battle of the Hook.

I:          Oh, I see.

N:        in Samichon Valley.

I:          Yeah.

N:        in the Battle of the Hook.

I:          Yeah.

N:        and he, they were carrying this fellow

I:          Uh huh.


and the first

I:          Yes?

N:        uh, his front  man that he’d changed places with was shot.

I:          Um.

N:        Fatally.  And my husband carried him and the wounded man on his shoulders from three days until I, he found where the Australian troops were.


I:          Wow.

N:        Now, in the meantime as his mate, Francis McDonald known as Mecca, uh, died in my husband’s arms.  He had a cross around his neck that was, he was of the Catholic faith, and he asked my husband why can I die without a priest?  And my  husband said


I cannot get a priest to you now, but I will take your cross and get it blessed  by the priest, and he did.  And the priest said you keep this cross, Dennis

I:          Um hm

N:        because it’s more value to you than me.

I:          Yeah.

N:        And a couple of years ago, I took the cross back to Bowen.  RSL where Mecca came from

I:          Hm.


N:        and presented that cross to the RSL in memory of Francis McDonald.

I:          Um.  So that’s what Dennis told you.

N:        Well, he told me that that was what had happened

I:          Yes, yes.

N:        and then I was able to relate it to the Bowen RSL

I:          Um hm.

N:        and give them the cross for safe keeping

I:          That’s wonderful.


because Mecca came from Bowen.

I:          Um.  What else?  What else did you hear from him about the Korean War?
N:        A lot of things about the fun they had in Japan at, when they were on leave

I:          Yeah.

N:        racing up and down the, uh, streets pulling the, um, you know, the fellows in the,


they’d pull them along with the, and, uh, lots of fun like that.  He talked about  hand to hand conflicts a little bit, not a lot.  But mainly the fun times that they had

I:          Um hm

N:        and, uh,

I:          So that’s the problem of Korean War veterans.  They  never talk about this.

N:        No, no.

I:          Yeah.  That’s why it’s been forgotten.

N:        Well, they were told not to.  When they came back,


by my husband,

I:          Yeah

N:        Dennis, that I, he was told when he came back into the country, not to say anything as to where he had been and just say that he’d just been overseas.

I:          Who asked that?  Who, government?
N:        The authorities, the government.

I:          Authorities?
N:        Yes.

I:          Why is that?
N:        I don’t know.  But the, um, I can tell you one story about him.  He needed a home


to live in when he came back.

I:          Yeah.

N:        And before he left, Robert Menzies, it was, uh, Prime Minister

I:          Uh huh

N:        way back in Australia, he said to the boys as they left for Korea, anything I can do for you when I, when you come back, I will.  So Den contacted him, and he got him a house.

I:          Really?

N:        He did.  He said if this man hasn’t got a


government house in 24 hours, I, Robert Menzies, will investigate.

I:          What a politician.

N:        Had that in a, in a telegram.

I:          What’s his name, the Prime Minister?
N:        The Prime Minister, Robert

I:          Robert?

N:        Menzies.

I:          M E N

N:        Bob Menzies.

I:          M E N

N:        was his name, wasn’t it Charlie?

C:        Yes.

N:        Yes.

I:          M E N

N:        How would you spell it, M E N Z I E?


C:        Uh, yeah.

I:          Yeah, Menzie.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Wow.  He is real faithful politician.

N:        Yes, he is.  He’s long gone now.

C:        [INAUDIBLE] politician.

N:        But he was a good politician.

I:          Very good.  Very wonderful story, huh?
N:        Yeah, it is.
I:          So how was, uh, life with him, Dennis, after tragic accidents and so on?

N:        Um, if I could say the affection and the love was so


wonderfully shown to me because, um, I was sort of, my first husband wanted to live in the same house as me and my second husband and be looked after by me, the two of them.  And we knew that that would not work out.  And, uh, he said to my second husband


I will go into the other bedroom, and you can go in with my wife.

I:          Ah.

N:        How did it make me feel?  Now, you might not want to put that on record, but that is how devastated and how hurt and how I felt, just like a bit of trash.

I:          You were too, but think about Neville.  He was really

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

N:        Why[INAUDIBLE]  Why [INAUDIBLE] with sympathy.


I:          But, so when did you visit Korea with Dennis?  When did you go?
N:        Uh, 1989.

I:          Nineteen eighty-nine.

N :       Yes.  I think.

I:          And tell me about it.

N:        I had a wonderful time.

I:          Tell me details.  What did you see?  What was it like, and how was, how was it like


to, to be in Korea because you were not Korean War veteran but because you are the wife, twice, of the Korean War veteran.  Tell  me the details.

N:        Well, we arrived there, and I was amazed at the modern country that it was thinking of the devastation that it had been, you know.  It was a new city.  We went to the [INAUDIBLE] Hotel


that didn’t long been built.  And, uh, we went to many, uh, places like, um, Kapyong

I:          Kapyong.

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah

N:        and, uh, saw the memorials there, um.  Mainly, we were taken around very wonderful, hospitable people, wonderful.  Treated us


like royalty.

I:          Um.

N:        I felt very important, and I gave one of my paintings to the, uh, President or whoever it was

I:          Um hm.

N:        on the Korean War.

I:          So you are the painter.

N:        Yes.

I:          What kind of painting did you give to the President?
N:        I gave him a painting of the Australian country with a koala [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Oh.  That’s good one, yeah.


Do you still paint?

N:        Yes.

I:          Ah.  You good at it?

N:        Oh, well I try.

I:          I wish I can see those.  But, and tell me more things about you felt when you were in Korea in 1989.

N:        Well, it was just such a wonderful experience with the people and the way the little children and the children from the school


were looking out the grate because there’s so many.  And we were able to go to Mecca’s grave

I:          Yeah

N:        at Kurae

I:          Um hm.

N:        and, uh, make our feelings felt in that special place

I:          Um.

N:        where , it was very , very touching for my husband.  He was in tears and, uh, brought back a lot of memories


and, uh, I felt very privileged to do that with him.

I:          Um.  Yeah.  I mean, you’re two husbands were in Korea, and they were friends to each other.  That’s the country that you didn’t know before, but you came to know of it, right?

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

N:        Yes.  And I saw the beauty of it and, uh, traveled through the country and, uh, had a


wonderful time.

I:          So now, what is Korea to you?  I mean,

N:        A very special place.  As a matter of fact, the Salvation Army where I worship has a Korean church meeting there every Sunday after the Salvation Army service that I go to, and I’ve been to there, um, church service


a couple of times and spoke about the cross being taken back to Bowen and, uh, I go to the Korean events and, as I said, I’m a Chaplain with the RSL at, um, Runaway Bay

I:          Um hm.

N:        and the slick Southeast Asian and Korea Forces and their padre, too.  When I was up on the  38th Parallel,

I:          Yeah, you were there


N:        and walking through the [pegoler[ and down into the building where they had the meetings, I could feel the tension in the air.  It was, it was eerie.  And to see the North Koreans with their binoculars checking on us coming and sitting around that table, that was something that


I couldn’t [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um.

N:        Queensland and New South Wales fighting each other.

I:          Yeah.

N:        You know, that’s how close it is.

I:          It is.

N:        But the poor Korean people.

I:          And we are still divided.

N:        Yes.

I:          And we are still technically at war because there has been no peace treaty.

N:        That’s right.

I:          What would you do that?  What would you do something to solve that problem?  What would you do?
N:        Tell them to get out of


I:          Right.

N:        Yes.

I:          Get out of there, right ?
N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

N:        Those North Koreans unless you can be peaceful

I:          So

N:        Put away your weapons.

I:          Yeah.

N:        And join with the Korean people in love and friendship.

I:          And what were you thinking when you were in Korea and especially in the 38t  Parallel about your two husbands?


Australian male, the boys, not, not all but young boys were there to fight.

N:        Yes.  And they went for the fun of it.  My husband said to me, my second husband said to me I didn’t even know where Korea was when I went, and it was just a big, fun thing

I:          Um.

N:        to go and do it.  But he certainly changed his mind when he was there with, well,


in the situation where I kill you or you kill  me.

I:          Um.

N:        And no wonder their minds were twisted.

I:          So did, did you go back again after that, 1989?  No.

N:        No.

I:          How about Dennis?

N:        No.

I:          When did he die, Dennis?

N:        Dennis died in 2002.

I:          Aw.  And what did he feel about, as a


Korean War veteran?  What did he feel about it?

N:        He was proud of his service.  But he wanted to be recognized by the Australian

I:          Um.  How?

N:        people.  He had United Nation medals.  But when he got, he was very honored to get the Korean Peace Medal

I:          Um hm.

N:        because at that time, you had to go to Korea to get the Peace Medal.


I:          Uh.

N:        You get it now in Australia at the Gardens on Kapyong Day.  But in our day, you had to go and receive it from the Commissioner or whoever it was

I:          Yeah.

N:        at Korea.  And he was very, very proud of his Korean Medal.  But he wanted an Australian medal.

I:          Ah.

N:        And when the Australian medal come out, that


suited him fine.  And he got that Australian Active Service Medal.

I:          And so he, he felt very good because Korea has developed so much so that

N:        Yes, yes.  It was worth going to your aide he felt.  So they, the Aussies thought  you had done something.  But then when he was in Korea, they, they took the North Koreans


way back beyond the 38th Parallel, up, and then they made the dividing line between North and South back

I:          Um.

N:        and he didn’t think that was right.
I:          Yeah.

N:        He thought that the dividing line should have been where they had sent  the North Korean troops.

I:          I see

N:        To, as you would know the, the layout of your country’s land.


I:          Let me give you this, uh, idea.  Uh, South Korea territorial size and Australia, it’s a 78 times larger here than South Korea.

N:        Yes.

I:          But that South Korea completely devastated in 1950’s now 11th largest economy in the world.

N:        I know.

I:          Better than Australia.

N:        I know.

I:          What do you think?
N:        I should learn a lesson from the South Koreans.


I:          What do you think?

N:        I think that they’re very, very smart people.

I:          And your poor husband’s

N:        I know I’m so glad that even though my life has had some very sad points over the years because of losing a daughter and the other one

I:          Um.

N:        badly burned and holds the scars today, she’s a school teacher in Caines.


I:          School teacher?  What does she teach?
N:        School teachers, teacher at the College.

I:          What doe she teach?

N:        Um, all subjects because she’s primary school.

I:          Uh huh

N:        And she has not long come back from being, working on the islands, the tourist straight islands on Maori Island with the, uh, Native people from there

I:          Um,

N:        and she’s back working in Korea, in, um, Caines

I:          Caines?

N:        Now.


I:          And, so she’s primary school teacher.

N:        Yes.

I:          Did she ever talk about Korean War?

N:        Yes.  We talked about her and her father.

I:          Hm?  Wow.  I want to, because my Foundation  annually hosting big conference, and we are inviting teachers from everywhere who wants to teach about Korea and Korean War.  So if  your


daughter interested in doing that, I can invite her.

N:        Right.  I will ask her.

I:          How old is she?

N:        Sixty-three.

I:          Sixty-three.  And she, is she still teaching?
N:        Yes.

I:          Any other people around you actually teaching History in Australian school?  Do you know anybody?

N:        No, no, not really well, no.

I:          No, okay.


I:          So please ask your daughter, okay?

N:        Right.

I:          And tell me about your Salvation Army


experience.  When did you join the Salvation Army?

N:        I was taken to the Salvation Army in a prank by my mother who had joined the Salvation Army.

I:          Uh huh.

N:        And I worked in various themes.  I was, um, a Captain in the Salvation Army

I:          Um hm.  And?

N:        In Melbourne.

I:          Melbourne.

N:        Yes, in Victoria.

I:          What do they do?  Tell, tell people about what


Salvation Army

N:        The Salvation Army is a bright, social, um, place for people to come that need help with Welfare, financial and many other problems, counseling, etc..  But we are a church.

I:          Catholic church?
N:        No, a Protestant church

I:          Protestant church.

N:        a Protestant church that believes in the Trinity and mainly the


basis of all Protestant churches, the way they believe that

I:          Um.  And are you anointed Pastor of Salvation Army?
N:        I was.

I:          You were.

N:        I was.

I:          You were,  uh hu.

N:        But because of my first husband who resigned

I:          Um.

N:        from that position, we were both Captains in the Salvation Army down in Melbourne.  But because him and his fallacy health reasons,

I:          Ah.

N:        see,


again it comes out.  I has to give that up.

I:          Oh, I see.  I see.

N:        So

I:          But you still

N:        But we are, the Salvation Army is a church, and we do worship.

I:          I know very well, and been donating, you know, money for Salvation Army for the Christmas, yes.

N:        Good.

I:          Yeah.  And they are doing very good in, in my hometown, Syracuse, New York in the


United States, there is a Salvation Army, and we give out our clothes and so on

N:        Yes.

I:          so that they can help other people who are in need.

N:        That’s it.

I:          Yep.  So you doing very good.

N:        I am.

I:          Um hm

N:        I’m trying.

I:          Yeah.  So looking back all those years, tragic and happy moments and so on, becoming a wife to two Korean war veterans.  What is your life


in terms of, with the relations with Korea?  What do you think about your life?

N:        Well, as far as Korea is concerned, I’m very interested in anything that comes up about Korea in the news.  And I, uh, would you believe I had to hurry to the hotel with the, um, stones that were being thrown and, when we were there.


And the

I:          In, in Korea?

N:        In Korea.

I:          Because of student demonstration?
N:        Because of student demonstration outside the hotel where I was staying.
I:          Yeah.

N:        So I think of that and think how funny when you look back it was to see us from the  bus.

I:          And you said

N:        pulled up, stay on the road

I:          But you said it was 1989, right?
N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.  So that’s how


we got out society democratized.  We were under the military dictatorship which drove all the industrialization, very successful industrialization to that we are becoming economic power.  But there were military dictators so that students stood up against them, and that’s how we got simultaneous democratization.

N:        Good.  You’re doing well.

I:          But you know what?

N:        I love it.

I:          But we don’t teach


about these things here, not in the United States, not in Greece, not in South Africa, not in any country  that participated in the Korean War.

N:        Yes.

I:          Why we don’t teach about it?
N:        Well, I say to people don’t forget that Kapyong Day is the day before Anzec Day, and nearly everybody you speak to will say I didn’t  know that.

I:          What is Kapyong Day here in

N:        Twenty-fourth of April, and I am [INAUDIBLE]


At the Cascade Gardens

I:          Um hm

N:        doing my part in the service and laying the wreath on behalf of the Salvation Army.  And I’ll continue to do that until my dying day.

I:          See, you are the ambassador now

N:        I am.

I:          of the Korean War veterans.

N:        Yes.

I:          Even though you never fought, but you are the ambassador, right?

N:        Yes.

I:          So you have to kick


up good works

N:        Yes.

I:          for Korea.

N:        Yes.

I:          And we’ll remember you as a Korean Ambassador.
N:        I will be a Korean Ambassador because I talked to the Korean people.

I:          Do you know many Korean people here?

N:        I know a fair amount because the Korean people put on a special day on the 24th for t he  Korean dates.

I:          Um.

N:        And on their July date,


sixth and seventh of July

I:          Um hm.

N:        in that time and, uh, I am very, very privileged

I:          Um.

N:        to be included and feel as though my contribution to the Korean people

I:          Um.  When did Neville die?

N:        Oh, and you’re asking me.


Um, it was about 10 years ago I’d say.  I can get the exact date and

I:          No, no, no.  I want to remember this two Australia young boys

N:        Yes.

I:          Neville and Dennis who were in the Korean War and fought for us,


and I want to thank them.  I want to thank them and for their sufferings, honorable service and the life after that, and you are the witness of that.  That’s why you are talking to me now.

N:        I am talk [INAUDIBLE]

I:          What would you say to your first husband to  now while you are doing interview with me?

N:        I would say to him that yes,


he put  his life on t h e line for the Korean people, and I wished I’d have been able to help him more so that he didn’t have this, well, lying, life that he lived.

I:          Um.  What about to Dennis?  What would you say to him?

N:        Good on you, mate.

I:          Huh?

N:        Good on you, mate.

I:          Ah.

N:        Why did you leave me?

I:          So that you can see him there.


N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.  We are all numbers.  So

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

N:        He dropped dead, Dennis, on the veranda of the  home that I live in now.

I:          Oh.

N:        And I just remember him every day.

I:          Um.

N:        And the suddenness of his death.

I:          Um.  See these two countries never really related to each other before the


Korean War, not much, right?  Australia and

N:        That’s right.

I:          the Korea.  Now I think we are the, one of the strongest ally to each other.

N:        That’s right.

I:          And we trade each other.

N:        Yes.

I:          There are many Korean people here.

N:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

N:        And I think that Korea, Korea became a great part of Australia, you know, the peninsula that sticks out the top of Australia, a new part of us.


I:          Great  to know that.  Great to know that.  And I’m great to be here in Australia for the first time in my life.  And I, it’s my luck to meet you, to be able to hear from you.  Say something to Korean people for the occasion of 70thanniversary of the Korean War where your two  husbands fought.  Say something to the Korean people for the commemoration.


N:        It was a privilege to me,

even though life was hard, to have two Korean veterans to look after, to care for and to hear their stories about Korea. mainly happy stories.  I pray that God will bless you, Korean people, and give you courage as you face the North and  stand for the principle of peace, love and care in your country and all over


[INAUDIBLE] remember with fond memories because the association I had and I pray that I will be a blessing to other Korean people, and God bless you all.

I:          Wow, it’s amazing, Norma.  I don’t know if I missed you here or what, what would be my, my last interview on today.

N:        Yes.

I:          It’s amazing, Norma.

N:        And here I was waiting for you


down at Cascade Gardens.

I:          Hey, give me five.  Great to meet you,. meet  you.  Thank you.

N:        Yes.

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