Memories of war

Korean war veteran Brian Stacey at the Mundaring Remembrance Day service.
Korean war veteran Brian Stacey at the Mundaring Remembrance Day service.

Originally from Wales, the 80-year-old war veteran, of Gidgegannup, was conscripted into the Welsh Regiment at the age of 18.

After two years of training, followed by a six-week stint of ‘advanced training’ under live fire in Japan, he was deployed to Korea as a private in the infantry.

‘They said to us if you would like to volunteer for the war step forward and we all did, which was fortunate because then they said you are all going anyway,’ Mr Stacey said.

The volatile country, which had been divided after World War II with US military forces occupying the south and the Soviet military in the North, was a far cry from the quiet mining village of Trimsaran inWales where Mr Stacey grew up.

‘We were on the frontline in trenches, among the hills, and we would often go out on listening patrols to try find the enemy and then call in the artillery,’ he said.

‘We slept in bunkers on a ledge that had been dug out and you never knew when the next rat would come and jump on you. We would have trench clean-ups and shoot all the rats.

‘Each man would sleep for two hours and then fight for two hours. The next shot could be coming over at any time.’

Despite the ever-|present threat of enemy fire, the constant bombing by US aircraft trying to stamp out the enemy and the sordid conditions which resembled trench warfare, Mr Stacey pushed through.

‘It was like everything when you are 18; you take it as it comes, but thankfully they did not keep us there very long,’ he said.

Mr Stacey said he was fortunate to make it through the conflict but could not talk about how many of his friends were not so lucky.

Each year on Remembrance Day, he appreciates Australia’s peaceful surroundings as he reflected on the past, usually at the Mundaring service.