John Murphy - Moved to Kapyong

Running time
2 min 47 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We were going to have a get together with the Kiwis, with the Turks. The Turkish Brigade was only a few kilometres away. They were in a rest area too and they were going to have a couple of, either a football game or a soccer game, whatever, you know, just a get together and that would have been a historic event because sixty years after, hated enemies and they were meeting again as friends, you know, they were friends not foes and we were all looking forward to that and then suddenly somebody said 'Pack your gear'. 'Where are we going?' 'Oh, we're just going up to a place, a place called Kapyong. We're going to dig in and wait just in case something happens up the front.' Because we knew there was a South Korean division in front of us with 10,000 South Korean troops fully armed with American equipment, the latest American equipment, you know, the Garland rifles, they were rapid fire ones, you know, for a single fire weapon, we only had the old .303 rifles that they had in the First World War so we were a bit envious of the Americans supplying the South Koreans with their equipment and we're getting the old.

Anyway, we got in and we even got mail, they brought up mail there, the supply people brought up mail and we were even supplied with a hot meal at Kapyong where we dug in. Everyone was expecting to be pulling out again and going back to the rest place where were and carry on. They were going to send up some movies and then somebody said 'Nope.' You could hear the rumble and there was these refugees coming down the valley, you know, on both sides of the Kapyong road, alongside the Kapyong river, and they were the refugees.

They were carrying them down, they were carrying their stuff on the backs, there was bullocks loaded with stuff, children and then they had crowds of South Korean soldiers panicking, coming down, trucks and, you know, thousands of people coming to safety. We didn't know what was happening. We didn't get much information and we didn't have what you call, in a case like that, we probably would have been, if we knew there was going to be a breakthrough, we would have added some extra provisions and also some extra ammunition but we just thought we were just going to be there for a while, just in case type of thing and then comes the Chinese and boy did they come.

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