Policing the ceasefire: post-ceasefire operations 1953 to 1957

The ceasefire of 27 July 1953 brought about no immediate reduction of Australian forces in Korea...

The situation was still tense for the first year and it seemed possible the war might break out again. There were violations of the ceasefire. In October 1953 a communist raid on United Nations forces resulted in the deaths of four South Koreans and two Americans. Twice in 1954 aircraft were shot down in air-to-air combat. However, by September 1954 the United Nations armed forces in South Korea decided to reduce their commitment. Except for the United States of America which still maintains a force there, by 1957 all foreign troops had left South Korea.

Royal Australian Navy (RAN)

The RAN maintained two ships in Korean waters until 1955. Their main task was to patrol the west coast and prevent North Korean infiltration to islands held by South Korea. The occasional presence of North Korean aircraft and ships created tension but there were no serious incidents. During HMAS Sydney's deployment, from November 1953 to March 1954, Acting Sublieutenants M Beardsall and J Clinton were killed in air accidents. The formal commitment of the RAN to Korea ended when HMAS Condamine departed on 9 October 1955.

Australian Army

After the ceasefire 2 and 3 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) withdrew from the Hook, where days before they had repelled a Chinese assault. The Battalions were maintained at fighting efficiency, digging and improving the fortifications on the new Kansas Line. On 2 April 1954 1 RAR replaced 2 RAR which returned home after a year in Korea. In November with the reduction of the British Commonwealth Division to brigade strength, 3 RAR, after four years in Korea, sailed for Australia. The remaining Australian battalion 1 RAR was then replaced in the front line by South Korean troops. For the battalion's remaining 17 months in Korea it lived at Gallipoli Camp, trained and patrolled the demilitarised zone. When the Commonwealth base at Kure was closed the last Australians to leave the theatre, 80 Army signallers, returned to Australia in August 1957.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

For the first year after the ceasefire 77 Squadron remained in South Korea during which time Pilot Officer H Andrews was killed in a mid-air collision. In October 1954 the Squadron ceased operations and returned to Australia via Japan. The aircraft and personnel were transported by the Australian aircraft carrier Vengeance. For 36 Squadron the flying of sick and wounded Commonwealth troops from Korea to Japan continued for a few months after the war ended. The Squadron returned to Australia in 1955. The other two RAAF units, 91 Composite Wing and 491 Maintenance Squadron were disbanded in Japan in 1954 and 1955. A transport flight of four RAAF aircraft continued operations until July 1956.

Post-armistice deaths of Australian servicemen in Korea 1953-1956
Name Service Number Unit
Andrews, Henry Dudley O5464 77 Squadron
Bevis, Ian Percy 6997 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Carter, James Arthur 6681 Reinforcement Holding Unit
Coatsworth, James Edgar 311122 Reinforcement Holding Unit
Davis, William John 45064 HMAS Murchison
Hawken, Alan Spencer 31283 HMAS Sydney
Haymes, Albert William 3401092 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Innes, George James Stanley 27646 Reinforcement Holding Unit
Jarman, Garth George 3484 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Kane, John Rhoden 210792 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Kollias, John Edward 2444 Headquarters British Commonwealth Forces Korea
Leigh, Ronald James 311228 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
McArthur, Clive Joseph 33776 British Commonwealth Base Signals Regiment
Nelson, Kenneth William A29310 HMAS Sydney
Nowell, John 59099 Commonwealth Contingent Signal Squadron
Waller, Brian Charles 52144 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

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DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) ( ), Policing the ceasefire: post-ceasefire operations 1953 to 1957, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 4 March 2024, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/korean-war-1950-1953/events/ceasefire-panmunjon-27-july-1953/policing-ceasefire-post-ceasefire-operations-1953-1957
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