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Army November 24, 2011
Vets remember at Korean
By Cfn Max Bree
A HEAVY mist shrouded the hills
around the Imjin River as the men of B
Coy, 3RAR, moved through the dark-
ness towards the first Chinese posi-
tion in front of the mountain known as
With five days left before heading
home, 21-year-old Pte Stan Connelly
advanced with 3RAR towards the impos-
ing mountains covered with Chinese
Sixty years later Mr Connelly and
other veterans returned to the battlefields
forever etched in Australia's military his-
tory.At a South Korean observation post
overlooking the demilitarised zone, Mr
Connelly could see the
Maryang San peak on
the North Korean side
of the border.
"Today is my first
time back here in 60
years and I've found it
all quite moving," he
"The area has
changed a lot over the
years, but I still recog-
nise the features, still
recall our time here."
cians and the Federation
Guard travelled to South
Korea in late October
for a tour of the historic
battlefields and to dedi-
cate a monument to all
Australians who served
The refurbished monument at the
United Nations Memorial Cemetery in
Busan honours about 17,000 servicemen
and women who served in the Korean
War and the post-armistice period.
The Minister for Veterans' Affairs,
Warren Snowdon, said the memorial
would ensure veterans would continue to
"The Korean War is often referred to
as the 'Forgotten War', and through last-
ing tributes such as this monument, we
can ensure the legacy of our Korean War
veterans lives on," Mr Snowdon said.
Growing up in country Victoria, Stan
Connelly turned 18 with "no real trade or
skills" and joined the Army with a friend
"It seemed like a good idea at the
time," he said. "And it was. I've never
regretted it, not even in the worst times."
Mr Connelly was posted to 3RAR
and served in the occupation force in
post-war Japan before embarking with
the battalion on its deployment to Korea
in September 1950.
As UN forces advanced up the Korean
peninsula, Pte Connelly and 3RAR
moved with them until China entered the
war and pushed the UN troops back.
At Kapyong, Pte Connelly was shot
through his right thigh while charging
downhill at the Chinese front.
He was moved out on the back of a
Sherman tank before being sent to Japan
for five weeks of recovery.
After returning to the battalion no one
seemed to be talking about the battle.
"I didn't hear it come up in conversa-
tions," Mr Connelly said. "We had other
actions of a similar magnitude.
"It was only after the presidential cita-
tion was awarded that it came to much
As the section Bren gunner, Mr
Connelly lugged the gun, ammo and
spare barrel up and
down the Korean hills.
"The Bren gunner
was the biggest and sil-
liest guy carrying the
biggest gun in each sec-
tion," he said.
"I used to tell the
number-two man if he
went to change the bar-
rel and it was red hot,
he had to piss on it."
At Maryang San,
B Coy, 3RAR, moved
through the fog in the
open valley towards
their first Chinese posi-
tion.As the company
closed in on the first
hill, the Chinese didn't
react as expected.
"They didn't see our
approach," Mr Connelly
said. "They weren't at stand to."
B Coy quickly pushed the Chinese out
and took the trenches.
A Coy later took over the position
before they attacked up the hill towards
This drew more and more Chinese
defenders away from other positions on
top of the mountain, making it easier for
B, D and C Coy's to come over the ridge-
line at the flank and push the Chinese off
The battalion then came together on
top of Maryang San to hold off a fierce
After almost 13 months in Korea
and about five days left in country, Pte
Connelly passed on his Bren gun during
Instead of lugging the gun up the
slopes of Maryang San, Pte Connelly ran
jeep loads of supplies to the boys holding
the top of the mountain.
A well-earned reprieve for a country
boy from Victoria about to head home.
"It was only
came to much
-- Stan Connelly,
3RAR Korean War
Common bond: Four former members of 3RAR chat in front of the Battle of Maryang San memorial at
Taepung observation post in South Korea. Korean War veteran Stan Connelly (left), with Australia's Federation
Guard members LCpl Daniel Craig, Cpl Danny McKay and Cpl Chris Mapstone. Photos by Cpl Christopher Dickson
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