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:
- 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.
Mr President, on 27 January 1953 Mrs JB Saunders of Canberra received this dreadful telegram.
Her husband John had served in World War Two.
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.
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.
|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.