Significant anniversaries

Remembering the Battle of Kapyong in the Korean War

On 24 April, we paused to acknowledge Kapyong Day, an annual day of remembrance that honours those who served in the Battle of Kapyong, and all who fought during the Korean War.

War between North and South Korea had broken out in June 1950. Soon after, Australia committed personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force to fight as part of a United Nations force in defence of South Korea.

Two-star US general inspects row of Australian soldiers wearing slouch hats

In April 1951, United Nations personnel were deployed to the Kapyong Valley to defend the South Korean capital Seoul from advancing Chinese and North Korean communist forces.

On the night of 23 April, members of the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) were subjected to repeated attacks by the advancing Chinese forces. On the morning of 24 April, 3RAR were forced to withdraw and re-join the remainder of the Commonwealth Brigade.

The next day, the Chinese advanced on positions held by Canadian forces. With assistance from the New Zealand artillery batteries, the Chinese advance was halted. For the remainder of the war, Seoul was not subjected to any further ground attacks.

The battle had been costly for Australia, with 32 men killed, 59 wounded, and three taken prisoner. 3RAR, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and the United States 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, were each awarded the United States Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for their part in the battle.

Remembering Victory in Europe Day

On 8 May 2022, we commemorated the 77th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, marking the end of the war against Germany.

Following the signing of an unconditional surrender by the German High Command on 7 May 1945, which came into effect the following day, the Allies proclaimed 8 May 1945 as VE Day.

The surrender brought an end to almost six years of fighting between the Allies and Nazi Germany. The end of the war in Europe liberated Australians being held as prisoners of war in German-occupied countries, as well as hundreds of thousands of men and women in internee, forced-labour and concentration camps across Europe.

Woman kisses air force officer, surrounded by other happy, cheering air force officers

Some 10,000 Australians lost their lives, at least another 10,000 were wounded and an additional 8,000 became prisoners of war while serving in Europe or the Mediterranean. They fought and died in the skies over Britain, north-west Europe, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, on land in North Africa, Greece, Crete, the Middle East and at sea.

Five Australians received the British Empire’s highest recognition for their courage in the war against Germany, by being awarded the Victoria Cross.

In Australia most people read the news of Germany’s surrender in their local newspaper and thanksgiving services were held at churches nationally to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. In Melbourne more than 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

It would be another three months before the war in the Pacific would end, with Victory in the Pacific on 15 August 1945.

Australians from each of the three services and the merchant marine served in the war against Germany and its European allies. On the anniversary of VE Day, we remember and reflect on the war efforts and sacrifice of Australians across the European theatre of war during the Second World War.

To learn more about Victory in Europe Day, visit DVA’s Anzac Portal.

For more anniversaries of significant battles, visit Latest News.