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43 Australians remain MIA after Korean War - President Trump has done what Australia couldn't

President Trump did something yesterday that has eluded Australia and the United States for more than 70 years - he had North Korea agree to this:

  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

I'm confident the United States will remember their Australian allies as they start work on getting our war dead home.

Thank you President Trump on behalf of all Australians and in particular the families of 43 Australian men missing in action in Korea since the 1950s.Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.27.21 pm

Mr President, on 27 January 1953 Mrs JB Saunders of Canberra received this dreadful telegram.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.30.30 pm

Her husband John had served in World War Two.

When Australia needed him a few years later, he signed to serve with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment in Korea.Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 12.48.41 am

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 12.48.41 am

Private Saunders' son Ian was 4 years old when his mum answered that knock on the door.

The news has remained unchanged ever since.  His dad was reported killed in a grenade blast but his body has not been recovered and there's been no burial service, no gravestone to grieve at.

Here's Private Saunders son, Ian a short time ago.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.43.55 pm

In September 2015 Ian featured in this story about our 43 missing men. 

On 18 September 2015 the ABC ran that story largely due to Ian's unrelenting passion and commitment to this cause.

Ian and other families might have thought their passion and commitment was being rewarded when the ABC headed its report 

Korean War: Julie Bishop in renewed push to find 43 Australian servicemen still missing in action

 

It was empty rhetoric from the minister.

Ms Bishop handed the matter to a junior minister and a bureaucracy.

On 9 December 2015 the "Korean War Missing in Action Working Group" met for the first time - the meeting minutes are here

The only reference to any liaison with the North Koreans came under the heading "Meeting Outcomes - Strategy regarding recovery and identification of Australian MIA

Use diplomatic and defence networks to encourage other nations to assist in getting North Korea to cooperate with the international community regarding recovery of remains from their country. For example China, which has good relations with both North Korea and Australia, may be able to facilitate improved cooperation.

I'll post more on the Australian Government's abject disinterest in our war dead separately.

This is a day for sober commemoration, and hope for our servicemen's families.

Thank you President Trump.

Lest We Forget.

 

Name                                             Service Number Rank Unit
ARMIT, Ernest Donald O22221 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron RAAF
ASHE, John Berkley 3/3706 Corporal 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
BOURKE, Edmund George 2/401173 Private 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
BRADY, Francis 4/400156 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
BROWNE-GAYLORD, DFC, Mark Astil Baren Henry Aytack O23665 Flight Lieutenant 77 Squadron, RAAF
CHALMERS, Peter Botley O35079 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
CHRISTIE, John King 5/2514 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
CLARKSON, DFM, Keith Elwood   Lieutenant 805 Squadron, RAN
COLEBROOK, DFM, Maxwell Edwin O5895 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
COLEMAN, Ronald James   Sub Lieutenant 805 Squadron, RAN
COWPER, Lionel Henry Cadogan O33831 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
ELLIS, Donald Campbell O21261 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
FOOT, Thomas Randolph 2/401322 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
GILLAN, Bruce Thomson O33625 Flying Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
GRIFFITHS, Leslie John 3/10647 Private 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
HALL, John Rogers 5/400213 Private Reinforcement Holding Unit (Army)
HALLEY, John Beverley O5309 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
HILLIER, Donald O4425 Squadron Leader 77 Squadron, RAAF
HODGKISSON, Joseph William 5/400181 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
KUNKEL, William Rudolph 1/1641 Private 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
LAWRENSON, DFC,AFC,  Frederick James O22005 Squadron Leader 77 Squadron, RAAF
LORD, William Thomas Henry 2/400437 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
McKANDRY, John Lawrence 2/400919 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
MURPHY, William Kevin 3/400143 Corporal 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
NICHOLSON, John William 2/400798 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
PURSSEY,DFC, Ian Goodwin Swan O11561 Flight Lieutenant 77 Squadron, RAAF
ROBERTSON, Douglas Merson O5672 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
ROBERTSON, Donald Neil O32536 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
ROBINSON, Richard George O22422 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
ROOTES, Reginald Donald 2/5124 Private 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
RYAN, Laurence Bonaventure 3/37672 Lieutenant 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
SAUNDERS, John Philip 3/400868 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
SCURRY, Arthur John  5/2103 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
SHENNON, Ronald William 1/400304 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
SMITH, Francis Charles 2/35020 Lieutenant 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
SMITH, Kenneth Dudley O33843 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
STEPHENS, Geoffrey Ingram O647 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
STRANGE, Harold Thomas A2997 Sergeant 77 Squadron, RAAF
SURMAN, John Leonard O32537 Pilot Officer 77 Squadron, RAAF
TERRY, Lionel John 3/400376 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
WALLACE, Thomas George 3/400430 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
WHITE, Peter 3/400608 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
WHITEHOUSE, Dennis Edward 3/10796 Private 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

At the going down of the sun,

And in the morning,

We will remember them.

S-l300

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