Korean War

The Korean War commenced on June 25, 1950, when North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and attacked South Korea. Initially, Canada contributed three destroyers and a Royal Canadian Air Force transport squadron to the United Nations-led operation. By August, however, strong pressure from the United States resulted in the St. Laurent government announcing plans for a Canadian Army Special Force (CASF). The first Canadian unit to land in Korea was the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in December 1950; the CASF, now called the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade, followed in May. The PPCLI distinguished itself in a significant engagement at Kap'yong in April 1951. Thereafter, UN forces established a front near the 38th parallel where most of the fighting took place until the war ended on July 27, 1953.

In all, 26,791 Canadians served in Korea between 1950 and 1953. Twenty-nine of the 516 killed were from Saskatchewan. Efforts to recognized veterans of the conflict have resulted in the creation of the Korean War Volunteer Service Medal and the dedication of a Korean War monument in Ottawa in 2003.

Holden Stoffel

Further Reading

Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence. 2002. Canada and the Korean War. Montreal: Art Global; Wood, James. 2003. “50th Anniversary of End of Korean War Marked.” Regina Leader-Post (July 28): B2.