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November 24, 2011
By SGT Dave Morley
SEVEN Korean War veterans and
the son of a 3RAR MIA recent-
ly returned from six days in South
Korea where they attended com-
memorations marking the 60th anni-
versary of major engagements of the
war.The Department of Veterans'
Affairs-sponsored party visited key
battle sites to pay tribute to fallen
mates and loved ones, and participated
in several commemorative activities.
They included a former Navy offic-
er, four former soldiers, an Army nurse
whose brother died of wounds there,
and a former Air Force officer.
The former Navy officer, CMDR
Ken Barnett (retd), joined the Navy in
1943 as a 13-year-old cadet midship-
He later deployed to Korea aboard
the Tribal-class destroyer HMAS
Warramunga in 1950 for nine months.
CMDR Barnett said the trip was
both thought provoking and inspira-
"Being non-Army it was great
being able to visit the Kapyong and
Maryang San battlefields," he said.
"The dedication and precision of
the Republic of Korea (ROK) military
was splendid and their welcome and
"Australia's Federation Guard also
put on a splendid performance."
CMDR Barnett received a Mention
in Despatches for his role in saving a
South Korean warship from sinking in
He said he'd been sent to the ROK
Ship Apnok as a liaison officer when it
was attacked by four YAK-9 aircraft.
"We were close inshore near the
Yalu River covering a team working
to recover documents and instruments
from a downed MIG-15 fighter," he
"The ship shot down one of the
YAKs, but the crew didn't know much
about damage control, and the ship
was taking water with all the doors
and hatches open.
"I went to the bridge and piped for
all the hatches to be shut and a US
Navy salvage ship later came along-
side and pumped the water out."
CMDR Barnett later returned to
Australia in HMAS Bataan and began
pilot training in September 1951 at
Point Cook, Victoria.
"I got flying in my blood from my
brother being a fighter pilot in WWII
and from a stint on the carrier HMS
Theseus in Japan in 1947," he said.
He received his wings in July 1952
and went to the UK for operational
CMDR Barnett returned to Korea
after the war, flying Fairey Firefly Mk
5 aircraft with 816 Squadron aboard
HMAS Sydney III from September
1953 to June 1954.
He later commanded two Naval Air
Squadrons, RAN Air Station at Nowra
and Fleet Flagship HMAS Melbourne,
before retiring from the Navy in 1974.
Commemorations in Korea
KOREAN WAR 1950-53
More than 17,000 Australians, including 4500 RAN
members, served in the Korean War (June 25, 1950
-- July 27, 1953).
Five RAN members were killed and six wounded
during the war.
HMA Ships Shoalhaven, Bataan, Warramunga,
Murchison, Anzac, Tobruk, Condamine, Culgoa and
Sydney (with RAN 805, 808 and 817 Squadrons
aboard) deployed to Korean waters.
340 Australians were killed and more than 1200
33,000 US personnel were killed.
4 million Korean and Chinese soldiers and civilians
RESPECT: CMDR Ken Barnett (retd) chats
with Australia's Federation Guard members
(L-R) AB Chris Thompson, LS Paul Parker
and AB Justin Beames in front of the RAN
memorial on Ganghwa Island, South Korea.
Photo: CPL Christopher Dickson
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