Reconciliation: Australian veterans from the Korean War who fought at The Hook (3RAR and 2RAR) stand together with Chinese tourists who attended the service last year.
Reconciliation: Australian veterans from the Korean War who fought at The Hook (3RAR and 2RAR) stand together with Chinese tourists who attended the service last year.

Today (24 July) marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of one of the bloodiest chapters Australia was involved in during the Korean War.

The Battle of the Samichon River is also known by the vernacular expression used to described the terrain where it was fought: “The Hook”.

On Friday 26 July 2013, the battle ended, literally hours before the signing of an armistice that would bring a cessation to hostilities on the still divided Korean peninsula. It has been widely reported by Australian troops on the position how bizarre that moment was, when the war ended. Chinese soldiers came out of their ‘foxholes’ and sat on the mountains enjoying the sun…the war was over. Days later, Australian soldiers would be seen talking with and exchanging handshakes with those opposite numbers who only days before were the object of their irrepressible wrath.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) enjoying some sun in the wake of the battle of The Hook, a few short hours before the armistice was signed. The battle ended on 26 July 1953 with more than 3,000 dead, and the armistice was signed at 10 am on 27 July 1953.
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) enjoying some sun in the wake of the battle of The Hook, a few short hours before the armistice was signed. The battle ended on 26 July 1953 with more than 3,000 dead, and the armistice was signed at 10 am on 27 July 1953.

The fighting was brutal and bloody. It was close, and involved the worst of personal contact that any man could ever fathom. Read the wikipedia entry here.

Join veterans from ‘The Hook’ on 26 July 2013 as they remember their mates that did not return, but died on the slopes of Korea on a summers day 60 years ago. Come to a remembrance service at 11.00 am on Friday at Regimental Square, just off George Street in Sydney, located almost directly opposite the entrance to Martin Place.

The service will last for about 40 minutes, then if you have time join the veterans for a casual lunch at the Combined Services Club at the other end of Regimental Square. Lunch will cost around $20 or less, and bring an extra $5 to shout an old digger a beer. Ask them what it was like: don’t be bashful, but do be respectful. These are important stories to share, and there is scarce time for you to hear them first hand.

Lest we forget.

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