Benalla's Kevin Harper will be honoured in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow for his service during the Korean War.MONIQUE FREER April 24, 2014 3:37am
On Anzac Day every year Kevin Harper is overwhelmed with memories.
On that day 63 years ago Mr Harper was in the middle of North Korea defending the advances of Korean and Chinese troops.
‘‘There were quite a few casualties, I can’t remember how many, I think there were 30 something killed and many, many wounded,’’ Mr Harper said.
‘‘It just brings back memories of that particular time.’’
Mr Harper and the other members of the third battalion were awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for their role in the Battle of Kapyong on April 24 and 25, 1951, and this year he will be honoured again.
The Benalla resident is one of two Korean War veterans to be selected to ride in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of the traditional Anzac Day AFL match between Essendon and Collingwood.
A quiet man, Mr Harper said to be selected was a great honour for him.
‘‘It’s hard to put it into words, I’ll be honoured,’’ he said.
‘‘I probably will (feel emotional) because I presume there’ll be a big crowd there.
‘‘The Korean War has never been recognised that much and it helps with those things.’’
Mr Harper joined the army in 1949 at the age of 18 and was posted to Japan in 1950.
In June 1950 the Korean War began and after the battalion was reinforced Mr Harper and the third battalion was sent to Korea shortly after his 19th birthday.
‘‘We weren’t very equipped for cold weather, so we got the American clothing,’’ he said.
‘‘You’d be sweating underneath all the clothes because we had American furline coats and when you settle down into the trench at night the sweat would freeze and you’d put your hand inside and scrape the ice off your body.’’
Mr Harper was one of seven children, and his five brothers all served in wars.
‘‘Four of them were in the second world war (as well as) my sister’s husband —my brother-in-law— and the other brother has done two tours of Vietnam in the Vietnam War, and I was in Korea,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t know how the mum put up with it, six sons and a son-in-law all at war, and they all came home,’’ his wife Elaine said.
Upon his return from service Mr Harper married Elaine and they had four children, Garry, Susan and twins Lynne and Leigh.
Although not a staunch football fan, Mr Harper said he was proud to be part of the motorcade at the MCG on Anzac Day.
‘‘(The Korean War) hasn’t had much recognition, it only happened five years after World War II finished and it hasn’t been recognised that much,’’ he said.
Mr Harper will travel to Melbourne with his son Garry, however, Elaine said she would watch the procession proudly from home.
‘‘We’re all proud, it is a big thing and a big battle for the men,’’ she said.
Anzac Day will be commemorated in Benalla on Friday at the following services:
All the festivities will be held at the cenotaph followed by a wreath-laying ceremony.
Across the district many towns will also commemorate the occasion:
More than 90 cannabis plants have been sized from a sophisticated hydroponic set-up in a north Shepparton home this afternoon.
Local football talent Dan Howe played well in his first game for reigning AFL premiership club Hawthorn last Thursday night.
A mighty cheer may soon be heard down Merrigum way; the town has officially saved its post office.
An Ogilvie Ave home was extensively damaged after a deliberately-lit fire this afternoon.
After a stunning 2014, Rochester Secondary College has hit the ground running in 2015 with school captains Jess Dwyer and Josh Hamilton promising an action-packed year ahead.
Elusive small man re-signs with club
A Seymour group is calling for aphasia sufferers in the Goulburn Valley to join its choir.
The NSW Government has made a significant funding announcement to expand the health service in Tocumwal.
Heathcote RSL Sub-branch is proposing some changes and additions to the honour boards in the foyer of the RSL hall in Heathcote.
Start your engines — the annual Cobram Lawn Mower Races is back on this Sunday at Scott’s Reserve, with lots on offer to keep you busy during the long weekend.
With their match against Finley all but sewn up, the Deniliquin Rhinos will look to tighten up their batting game ahead of next week's semi-final.
Fruit Growers Victoria plans to give fruit growers in Victoria more on-farm support as a result of its organisational restructure.
This photograph of a young man in cade army uniform was taken by Benalla-based photographer John Howship. Does anyone know who it might be?
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.