The Korean War Project
The ongoing work to account for the “missing” Australian servicemen is progressing with the support of The Royal Australian Navy, The Royal Australian Air Force, National Archives of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, researchers, historians, families and the ex-service community in Australia, the United States, South Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Many Korean War veterans have provided new avenues for investigation by giving first hand accounts and fresh insights into the circumstances surrounding the loss of many Australian servicemen.
Reviving memories of past patrols and battles is an emotional experience and a poignant reminder of those who never returned home. In many cases veterans have expressed that talking about their experiences has opened up ‘old wounds’ but contributing to a project that offers their mates a chance of being located has given them a sense of value.
Australia is not alone in seeking to account for Servicemen still missing from the Korean War. The United States Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) and the South Korean Ministry of National Defence Agency for Missing in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) organisations have a strong interest in accounting for their servicemen who remain accounted for in Korea. Unrecovered War Casualties – Army maintains a strong working relationship with both organisations.
Can you contribute to the Korean War Project?
Unrecovered War Casualties – Army and The Royal Australian Air Force are seeking information not just about the 42 Australian servicemen who remain unaccounted for in Korea, of equal importance is identifying the families of Australians who are recorded as missing.
If remains of missing Australians are recovered, positive identification will rely on matching DNA from the remains to DNA from members of their families.
If you believe you are related to one of the missing Australian servicemen we ask that you register with the Korean War Project. Family members can include siblings, children, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and widows. There is no limit to the number of family members who can register with us. Once registered, relatives will be informed of any important development or may be called upon to provide a DNA sample for scientific analysis. Unrecovered War Casualties – Army will seek to collect DNA from both the Maternal and Paternal relatives of the missing soldiers.
Should it be required, DNA samples collected ensure that Army and Air Force have accurate and reliable data available in Australia. This will enhance any samples that may have been provided to an overseas agency in the past. Identification of Australian Servicemen will, where ever possible, be carried out by Australain Forensic Experts and any recovery where an outside agency claims to have located an Australian will be verified by Australian Forensic Experts, ensuring the validity of any identification.
The confidentiality of soldiers unaccounted for and their family is paramount and any information related to individual cases will only be released to family members who have registered with the Korean War Project.
Unrecovered War Casualties – Army is also seeking the assistance of Korean War veterans who have first hand information about any of the incidents in which Australian servicemen came to be recorded as “Missing in Action”. If you were present at any of those incidents please contact the project team.
Enquiries are welcome, you can contact the Korean War Project team via telephone 1800 019 090 or email army.uwc [at] defence.gov.au.