This year on April 24, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong, an important battle fought during the Korean War that involved Australian, Commonwealth and other United Nations Command forces.

In April 1951, the Chinese launched an offensive with the aim to retake Seoul and after quickly overrunning South Korean forces who were defending one of the major routes, the valley of the Kapyong River, they encountered commonwealth troops who were occupying defensive positions.

The battle began for the Australian troops on April 23 and was fought in cold conditions on difficult terrain.

The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), was repeatedly attacked through the night and into the next day, and was forced to withdraw to defensive positions established further to the rear after having slowed the momentum of the Chinese advance.

On April 24 and 25, 1951, the focus of the attacks shifted to the positions held by Canadian troops, but with the assistance of New Zealand artillery, they were able to halt the Chinese advance.

Australian and Canadian battalions were each awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation for their part in the battle.

On behalf of Australia, we remember and honour the some 18,000 Australian service personnel who were involved in the Korean War, including the Battle of Kapyong, and in particular those who died. In the lead-up to Kapyong Day I will be visiting Townsville, the home of 3RAR, to talk with the current members of this unit and to reflect on this important milestone in our military history.

Lest we forget.

Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel

To order photos from this page click here