OTTAWA, ON, June 25, 2020 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War:
"Seventy years ago today, the Korean War began. Over the following three years, Canada and 18 other United Nations member countries contributed to a multinational force that helped defend the Republic of Korea.
"Criss-crossed by hills, valleys and rivers, the Korean Peninsula had frigid winters and sweltering summers. In this challenging environment Canadians bravely served on land, in the air and at sea to restore peace and freedom.
"In the waters off the peninsula, Canadian warships helped protect the United Nations fleet, shelled onshore targets and provided humanitarian aid to coastal villages. In the sky, the Royal Canadian Air Force's No. 426 Transport Squadron flew supply missions across the Pacific Ocean, completing more than 600 round trips by June 1954. Twenty-two Canadians attached to the American military also fought in aerial combat missions.
"In the Battle of Kapyong, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry withstood a major enemy offensive, holding their defensive positions and helping stave off a serious defeat for the South Korean and United Nations forces. At Hill 355, roughly 40 kilometres north of Seoul, Canadians fought off waves of enemy attackers on a cold and muddy battleground on multiple occasions during the conflict, to hold this critical defensive position.
"Thousands of Canadians from various cultural backgrounds served in the Korean War. Brave individuals such as Errol Patrick, who enlisted after the war began and served with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery; Albert Hugh McBride, who fought at Hill 355 as a member of a five-person tank crew; Victor Flett, a sonar operator who patrolled Korea's western coast aboard HMCS Crusader; and LCol Jessie Chenevert who, along with 59 other nurses, served on the frontlines of the conflict tending to the wounded and the sick.
"By the end of the conflict, more than 26,000 Canadians had served in East Asia, and back home, roughly 5,000 women had enlisted to help maintain our country's military capabilities. On July 27th 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. By then, 516 Canadians had lost their lives and hundreds more were wounded, with the last Canadian troops leaving Korea in 1957.
"We will continue to honour the achievements and sacrifices of those who fought selflessly to achieve peace, at home and around the world.
"Lest we forget"
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, Phone: 613-992-7468, [email protected]; John Embury, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of National Defence, Phone: 613-904-3333, [email protected]; Floriane Bonneville, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Defence, Phone: 613-996-3100, [email protected]