Canada in the Korean War

The border between North and South Korea bristles with weapons and with mistrust. A stress point in current global tensions, the border on the 38th Parallel is a seventy-year-old legacy of the Korean War.

Interview by Kate Jaimet

Posted June 19, 2023

Image: Canadian Private Heath Matthews shows signs of exhaustion as he waits to be treated for facial wounds sustained in a night battle in June 1952 during the Korean War. ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT

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More than 26,700 Canadians served in the United Nations force that came to South Korea’s aid after troops from communist North Korea invaded on June 25, 1950. More than 1,200 Canadians were wounded and 516 lost their lives in the conflict that continued for three years until the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953. Despite the armistice, a true peace was never secured and tensions continue to run high between the two Koreas, divided at the thirty-eighth parallel.

Canadian War Museum post-1945 historian Andrew Burtch and Canadian Armed Forces Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre — who served from 2018 to 2019 as Deputy Commander of the United Nations Command in Korea — discuss Canada’s role in Korea, during the war and beyond, in this episode of the Stories Behind the History podcast.

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To find out more about the experiences of Canadian soldiers in the Korean War, read the feature article “No Retreat, No Surrender” by David Pugliese in the August-September 2023 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

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