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Veteran’s lasting ties with Korean community

Brian meets former South Korean prime minister

While Anzac Day brings back many memories for Bolton Clarke’s Darlington residential aged care resident Brian, it’s the special connection he has to Korea that he holds closest to his heart.

When Brian enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on his 17th birthday in March 1952, he never thought his experiences would see him forging a connection with the Korean community that has spanned more than six decades.

“I trained as a ship’s Radio Operator,” he said. “Our role in those days was to manage communications and it was all in morse code.

“When I finished my training, I got posted to the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney and three weeks after that I was on my way to Korea.

“We had to handle communications not only for our ship, but we had to stay in contact with different countries and the aircraft.”

Brian was stationed in Korea for almost a year during the Korean War before returning to Australia. It wasn’t until almost 60 years later that he got the chance to return to the country.

“The Korean government invited us for a 12-day trip about four years ago and the continued gratitude of that country is great,” he said.

“I have become deeply involved in the Korean community since, there is a strong presence around the Gold Coast.”

With around 70 Korean veterans remaining in the region, Brian says a visit from former Prime Minister Un Chan Chung in early March was a great way to recognise the lives of those who served during the war.

“I have been the Secretary of the Korean Veterans up on the Gold Coast for quite some time and that’s how we came to meet the former Prime Minister.

“He and his wife wanted to commemorate our involvement by laying a wreath at Cascade Gardens and it was such a lovely experience.”

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