Home' Navy News : August 15th 2013 Contents 7
August 15, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
LSIS Helen Frank
FROM laughter to tears, the members of
Australia's Federation Guard (AFG) felt
a range of emotions while taking part
in memorial services in the Republic of
July 27 marked the 60th anniversary of
the signing of the Korean War Armistice
that brought the hostilities of the Korean
War to an end.
To mark the occasion, the AFG provid-
ed catafalque parties and conducted other
ceremonial duties at memorial ceremonies
A group of 13 guardsmen made the
trip with 15 Korean War veterans from
Navy, Army and Air Force.
Principal Chaplain Army CHAP Geoff
Webb, RSM Ceremonial -- Army WO1
David Lehr and MUSN Kaid Normington,
of Army Band -- Melbourne, also support-
ed the mission.
Members of the AFG spent time shar-
ing stories with the veterans.
The generation gap was bridged as ex-
servicemen and women spoke to current
Guard ABWTR Zoe Tibos said she
felt humbled speaking to the veterans and
learnt more about what they endured.
"It was really nice to speak with them
and hear their stories," AB Tibos said.
"I could really feel the veterans' emo-
tions as they spoke about their experi-
ences, the hard conditions and losing
The contingent visited the sites of
the historical battles of Kapyong and
Maryang San where Australian troops
played vital roles in the outcome of the
war.The group also visited the United
Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea.
The cemetery is in Busan, south of Seoul
and is the only UN cemetery in the
"I was helping a veteran look for his
fallen mate and when we found him we
laid a poppy on the grave," AB Tibos
"It was very emotional. Standing
among all the graves I felt like I was
In 1950, the Australian government
answered the call from the UN and com-
mitted about 18,000 troops including sail-
ors and airmen.
From the beginning of the war on June
25, 1950, until the Armistice on July 27,
1953, Australia suffered about 1600 casu-
alties, including 340 killed in action.
During the war, 30 personnel were
captured. Twenty-nine of these were
repatriated and one died in captivity.
There are still 43 personnel registered
as missing in action.
"I didn't learn much about the Korean
War at school, I really had no idea how
many Australian troops were involved,"
AB Tibos said.
"Going to Korea has taught me so
much more about the war and how val-
iantly our troops fought for a country they
also didn't know much about."
SGT Dave Morley
A FORMER Navy fighter pilot who
saw service in the aircraft carrier
HMAS Sydney during the Korean
War recently returned to Korea on a
Norman Lee, 83, flew a Fairey
Firefly fighter in a ground-attack
role against North Korean and
Communist Chinese forces during
He said he had always wanted
to join the Navy and always wanted
"I saw an advertisement in the
Melbourne Sun in 1947 asking for
Navy pilots, so I applied and 33
years later I resigned," he said.
On October 25-26, 1951, three
of Sydney's aircraft were shot down
and a fourth badly damaged.
An 817SQN Firefly piloted by
SBLT Neil MacMillan and CPO
Phillip Hancox was forced down in
a frozen rice paddy 80km behind
The downed airmen used an
Owen sub-machine gun to resist
capture by Communist soldiers.
A protective overhead umbrella
was provided by Sydney's Sea
Furies and Meteor jet fighters from
The two airmen were later res-
cued by Sydney's Dragonfly heli-
copter, which had flown 172km, the
limit of its endurance, to carry out
It returned to Sydney with its
Pilot's new perspective
passengers the following day. But
the Communists weren't the only
enemy then-SBLT Lee had to con-
Bad weather, including Typhoon
Ruth, played a big part in Sydney's
Mr Lee said water came into the
ship everywhere, which started elec-
"The young aircrew lived above
the bomb room in what was called
'the Kasbah'," he said.
"We were playing pontoon when
'fire in the bomb room' was piped.
All we could do was deal another
card, because what else could we do?
"The cold didn't affect us much,
but the aircraft handlers on the
flight deck had to lie on the snow-
covered deck to pull the chocks
away and that wasn't fun."
Mr Lee said he flew 25 different
types of aircraft during his three
decades in the Navy.
"I did a two-year exchange with
the Royal Navy where I flew the
Seahawk fighter and the Scimitar,"
"The Seahawk was a beautiful
aeroplane to fly -- it was the high-
light of my flying career."
For Mr Lee, the most fulfilling
part of returning to Korea was seeing
the war from the Army's perspective.
"The Army had a totally differ-
ent war from Navy," he said.
"To see where they fought and
the conditions they endured was
NEW FRIENDS: WO1 David Lehr and Norman Lee visit the United
Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea.
Photo: LSIS Helen Frank
and LS Simon
right, at the
TOGETHER: ACW Katherine
Hare, LS Simon Fitzgerald
and AB Zoe Tibos form part
of the catafalque party at the
service at the United Nations
Memorial Cemetery Korea.
Right, veterans pay their
respects at the service.
Photos: LSIS Helen Frank
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