Korean War veteran Kevin George (Dawdie) Graham (right) with Murwillumbah RSL president Derek Sims.
Korean War veteran Kevin George (Dawdie) Graham (right) with Murwillumbah RSL president Derek Sims. John Gass

Korean veteran honoured by trip

KEVIN George (Dawdie) Graham of Dungay has recently returned from a trip to Korea as the sole representative of Australia.

The South Korean Government invited soldiers who were wounded in the Korean War to the country for presentations from the government.

A total of 22 countries were represented.

Mr Graham was accompanied by his niece Donna Cameron, and veterans were hosted on a tour of places of interest including Pusan (now Busan) to inspect graves of soldiers killed in action.

He saw the graves of his cousin John Gill from Murwillumbah and George Bullock from Chillingham.

During a dinner and ceremony Mr Graham was presented with a glass plaque and a certificate of appreciation from the Korean Government which he presented to Murwillumbah branch of the RSL.

He proudly possesses a large photograph of himself with the representatives from around the world

Mr Graham was also presented with a Purple Heart from the head of the American Marines .

“They said I was under their command, as the marines put me on the Consolation Hospital Ship. I was supposed to get the Heart in 1951,” he said.

Mr Graham was wounded in the Korean War (1950-1953) as a member of 3 Royal Australian Regiment. He arrived in Korea after training in Japan and Australia.

He tells the story of his time in Korea.

“We were sent to Seoul where there was a lot of skirmishes and night patrols and taking people out of villages. This went on for about five months.

“Then the British Commonwealth Forces decided to attack Maryang San, one of the biggest battles ever won by 3 RAR in Korea.

“I was picked by now Major General Jim Hughes to be the forward scout.

“I took Vince Mathers from Rockhampton and Snow Bryant from Murwillumbah, who was wireless operator to headquarters.

“It was foggy and we had surprised the enemy and chased them out of their bunkers.

“But soon there were wounded Aussies every- where.

“I was about the first hit by two 50-calibre machine gun bullets through my left foot and right thigh”.

“Some were already dead and they took the wounded out by helicopter.

“Stretcher bearer Tom Tunstall got a military medal for the action including stopping me


“Major Dodrell got a military cross, as he and my mate carried me for a long way through severe machine gunfire. I was unconscious.

“We arrived at the Indian field ambulance, then treated by Norwegian nurses and I was taken to Pusan where I was put on the American hospital ship. They operated and saved my life, but I got gangrene in my left foot.

“Two doctors said it had to come off but a lady doctor saved it by pulling copper gauge through it.

“I was there for six weeks and was going to America, but British Embassy had me taken to Tokyo Hospital, then by train by two nurses and two majors to Kure British Hospital.

“I was sent to an island for one month , came back to Hiroshima and Manila and Concord Hospital.

“I was carried off by champion golfer (Norman) Von Nida (a photo was on front page of Sydney Morning Herald). Then to Greenslopes.

“I later got malaria and was eventually released on a pension.”

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