Canada's Korean War Veterans Return to Kapyong After 60 years

by Canadian Embassy Newsletter May 2011, 06/05/2011

Sixty-eight Korean War veterans and their family members returned to Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong: Canada’s most significant engagement of the Korean War, which was fought from April 22 to 25, 1951.

Seventeen of the visiting veterans were from the second battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) which played a central role in the battle.  Along with Australian, New Zealand and British units the PPCLI, as part of the 27th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, is credited with repulsing a direct and sustained assault from the 118th division of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, saving a fleeing Korean division from annihilation, preventing the front line from collapsing, and saving the capital Seoul from falling into enemy hands. Ten members of the PPCLI lost their lives during the battle, which left over 1000 Chinese dead and resulted in the Chinese division being forced to withdraw.

Five memorial ceremonies, hosted by the Commonwealth allies, were held over the Easter weekend, including the Canadian ceremony which was held near the site of the Battle of Kapyong itself, and featured a speech in honour of the veterans by Canadian Senator Yonah Martin, and a presentation of scholarships to local schoolchildren donated by the veterans themselves, the PPCLI and several Canadian corporations operating in Korea.  The commemorative events attracted local and international media attention, and featured high-level representation from participating nations including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

NOTE: * Did you know that more than 20,000 Canadians are living in Korea? 57 % of Canadians registered with Korean immigration services as alien residents (those staying over three months) are located in the Seoul Metropolitan area (Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi province). The next most sizable Canadian population is located in and around Busan.

* Canadian citizens residing in Korea are invited to register with the consular section of the Canadian Embassy (Tel: 02-3455-6000, Fax: 02-3455- 6112). Registration may be made in person, by mail, by fax or through the this website.

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