A new plaque has been unveiled to remember the Australian servicemen still unaccounted for 65 years after fighting in the Korean War ceased.
One of the men who laid a wreath in a moving ceremony in Glen Innes was Allen Evans who fought in Korea and two further wars.
Of the 17,000 Australians who served in the conflict, 340 were killed but 43 of those dead remain “Missing in Action”.
The President of the Returned Services League in New England, Gordon Taylor, said that in other wars, including Vietnam, the enemy returned the bodies of the fallen but that hasn’t happened with North Korea. Whether they were captured or killed in battle remains unknown.
According to the department of the Australian War Memorial: “The Army MIAs, who came from the three infantry battalions that formed the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) at the time, resulted from the withdrawal of United Nations forces from North Korea at the end of 1950 and the set-piece battles of 1951, and from the intensive patrolling and raiding of the static warfare that set in from 1951 on.
“The RAAF and RAN MIAs comprised aircrew downed over enemy territory. Those from the RAN served with the Fleet Air Arm aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney. The two Australian units that fought throughout the conflict, 3RAR and No. 77 Squadron, RAAF, incurred the bulk of the MIAs.”
The failure to return the dead after fighting stopped in 1953 has been because of the continued stand-off between the two halves of Korea. There is hope that the dialogue between President Trump and Kim Jong-un will resolve that situation. Most observers think there is some way to go.
The missing are now remembered in Anzac Park in Glen Innes.
See also: What are the scars of 20 years of war?