Jim Stevens, Veteran: Korea with 2 RAR

Posted on: Mon 1 Feb 2021

In January 1950, not quite 5 years after the end of World War Two, North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung proposed the ‘liberation’ of South Korea to Soviet and Chinese officials. Kim secured assurances of support for the invasion from Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and Chinese leader Mao Zedong.  This move invoked one of the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, with approximately 3 million war fatalities.

From 1950-53, 17,000 troops of the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force fought as part of the United Nations’ multinational force, defending South Korea from the Communist force of North Korea.  Jim Stevens went through some tough times even before he got to Korea. He was badly injured in a training accident and given 3 months to live.  However, he ended up in Korea and was wounded at the ‘Hook’, but his biggest disappointment was coming home from Korea, and despite being in uniform and wearing his medals, he wasn’t welcomed. Jim tells us about all of this, including his early training, and life in Korea with 2RAR who were reinforcements for 3RAR. 

Interviewer Helen Meyer

Photos provided by Jim Stevens and used with permission.

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