52,18/02/197, 1 COMWEL DIV Pro reports 52-56.
In June 1950 the invasion of South Korea by North
Korea was a seen as a challenge to Western democracies. Assistance to
the South Korean government was provided by the United Nations Security
Council and troops of various UN countries were committed. Australia
pledged support to the UN and offered a Battalion Group, which was then
serving with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) in Japan
for immediate deployment to Korea.
Australian military police served in Korea between the
years of 1952 and 1956. They were members of the Royal Australian Army
Provost Corps (RAA PRO), and were part of the 1st Commonwealth Division
and its Provost Company, the 1st Commonwealth Division Provost Company.
The men were all volunteers and "signed on" as members of the
new Australian Regular Army (1950), with no restriction of service or
enlistment impediments as was the case from the last war.
This was the first conflict for the newly formed Royal
Australian Army Provost Corps. The Corps' title was changed from
Australian Army Provost Corps in 1948, when the King approved the use of
'Royal' in the title in recognition of the services provided by the
Corps during World War Two. A new Corps badge was instituted; uniquely
Australian in design (depicting the crossed swords of justice) it has
been worn proudly by Australian military police ever since.
The badge of the
Corps of Military Police.
Australia sends troops to Korea
Australia announced that a volunteer force (K Force)
would be provided as part of Australia's contribution to the UN. In
September 1950, the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian
Regiment (3 RAR), then stationed in Japan as part of the BCOF, would
join with other British Commonwealth units to form the 28th
British Commonwealth Brigade Group. Other Commonwealth forces were
already present in Korea, including a Canadian Brigade Group and a
British Brigade Group. The three Brigade Groups operated as Independent
As a consequence, Commonwealth troops, despite their
vast experience in WW2, found themselves occupying the status of minor
units only, and denied any say in the operational planning at any level
above the Brigade. Therefore the decision to amalgamate the three
Independent Brigades into a single Division was to give the military
forces of the Commonwealth, autonomy and status among the many countries
that served along side them in Korea.
The 1st Commonwealth Division is formed
By June 1951 the Staff of a Divisional HQ started to
assemble in Japan from all parts of the British Commonwealth. By the end
of June the newly assembled HQ subsequently moved by ship to the port of
Pusan in Korea, and then by road to a suitable location North of
TOKCHONG, a valley that provided good cover from the air.
Near TOKCHONG at midday on 28th July 1951,
a short ceremony was held to mark the formation of the 1st
Commonwealth Division. Here for the first time a Commonwealth Division
flag was flown alongside flags of Commonwealth countries and the UN.
In addition to the Staff of HQ, it was decided, in
order to minimize overlapping and to save manpower, to integrate as many
units as possible serving two or more Commonwealth countries and was
designed to meet the needs of all components. This took some time to
bring about, as the approval of the Chiefs of Staff Committee in
Australia, and the authorities of the Commonwealth countries concerned
was necessary. Eventually twenty-two units became integrated and
entitled to the proud prefix "British Commonwealth - ".
Examples of these were an Engineer Regiment, a General Hospital, Base
Ordnance Depot, Base Workshop and Base Provost Company with British
Commonwealth placed before each type of unit e.g. British Commonwealth
Base Provost Company.
The formation of an Integrated Provost Company
As a result of the above policy the Commonwealth
military police soldiers serving in Korea were formed into the 1st
Commonwealth Division Provost Company. It was an integrated provost unit
comprising British, Australian and Canadian MP divided into three
Sections. The British were No.1 Section, the Australians No.2 Section
and Canadians No.3 Section. No.2 Section was maintained as the
Australian Section until 11 August 1953 when the Section had Royal
Military Police members integrated within it. Most Australian MPs who
served in Korea were rotated through this Section. The Section comprised
one SGT and up to 10 CPL.
In keeping with the Commonwealth flavor many positions
in the Company were integrated, with Australian, British and Canadian MP
Officers and SNCO filling various command and administrative positions
within the Company and HQ structures. These positions were also rotated
throughout the conflict and continuously filled by their country MP or
swapped with other country MP where required. This was administered by
the Deputy Assistant Provost Marshal British Commonwealth Forces Korea (DAPM
The Australian MPs were able to take their place
within the Division because when the 1st Battalion, RAR,
arrived in Korea in April 1952, an Australian commander, BRIG T.J.
Daily, DSO, OBE, took over the 28th British Commonwealth
Brigade from a British Army commander. This meant that Australians were
then allotted a proportion of the postings to Brigade HQ and an
Australian Provost Section was also attached to the Brigade and
subsequent dual role of No.2 Section of the 1st Commonwealth Division
Some of the men also served in the Provost Section
based in Seoul for policing the troops on leave in the major city of
Korea. There were also Australian SIB personnel serving in Korea,
stationed in Seoul and not connected with the Company who belonged to
the HQ British Commonwealth Special Investigation Section Korea.
They were rotated in place and positions swapped by
the different country MPs where required. At least two Australian SIB
personnel were attached to the SIB Section at any time. An entry dated 8
November 1952 in the war diary mentions SIB:
Investigation carried out by SIB Det re a member of 3
RAR involved in shooting of American soldier fatally wounded
This story is about No.2 Australian Section and taken
from the official war diary of the Unit 1952 to 1956, currently kept at
the Australian War Memorial Canberra, file number AWM 52 18/02/197 1
COMWEL DIV Pro reports 52-56. The pictures with this story are from the
RACMP Museum, Eastern Command Photo Album and are scanned copies of the
original pictures taken by the MP who were there.
Japan to Korea
The Australian MP presence in Korea actually started
from Japan where Australian MPs serving with the BCOF Provost Company
were asked to volunteer to serve in Korea. It must also be remembered
that at this time, the new Australian Regular Army was being formed with
the requirement that all soldiers in the Army by 1950 must sign on as
regular soldiers with the obligation of service "anywhere and
anytime" at the discretion of the Australian Government. This was a
completely new concept for soldiering in Australia, moving away from the
volunteer AIF concept that served Australia in times of war previously.
The following entries from the BCOF Japan Provost
Company War Diary states:
27 July 1950
Radio Australia says that Australia will send a ground
force to Korea
28 July 1950
List of volunteers for Korea obtained from BCOF
30 July 1950
Muster parade held to obtain volunteers for Korea. 3
Officers and 38 ORs sign forms volunteering for service wherever
1 August 1950
OC addresses members who had not volunteered for
service where ever required on their responsibilities - total volunteers
now 3 Officers and 47 ORs
21 October 1950 Kure
Return of volunteers for service anywhere compiled.
63.2% of unit volunteered.
7 May 1951
Recommendation submitted to BCOF HQ requesting
approval for Australian MP to be detached to Korea for duty
27 August 1951
Approved for 1 Australian MP to be sent to FMA BCCFK
Approval granted for APM to visit Korea
1 September 1951
APM depart for inspection tour of Korea
CPL Hill depart on attachment to RMP in Korea - RMP
Det 262 Base Provost Coy FMA Korea
1 November 1951
Visit from APM BCFK to discuss establishment of
Integrated Provost Coy
As can be seen from the above entries CPL Hill was one
of the first Australian MP NCO to enter Korea on 1 September 1951 on
attachment to the RMP already serving there. From this time on, one or
two Australian MP were permanently rotated through Korea for a couple of
months each time from the BCOF Japan Provost Company then back to Japan
for reposting or return to Australia. This was the case for the
Australian MP until 14 July 1952.
An Australian MP Section is formed
On 14 July 1952 at Kure, Japan, half of the BCOF
Australian MP Section was interviewed by DAPM HQ BCFK reference some
personnel moving to Korea for permanent attachment to the newly formed
1st Commonwealth Division and its Provost Company, the 1st Commonwealth
Division Provost Company.
- The Section selected to go consisted of:
- SGT: SGT O'Connor
- CPL: Cockram, Curphey, Munachen, Powell, Hill, Smith,
- Driver: PTE Wren
- The following entries were recorded in the War Diary
as the Section prepared to deploy to Korea:
- 14 July 1952 Kure, Japan
- Section draw kit from 1 RHU. Medical and Inoculations
- 15 - 18 July 1952
- Packing in readiness to move
- 17 July 1952
- Farewell party given by ORs Britcom Base Pro for
- 18 July 1952
- Embark SS OTARU Maru. Depart KURE at 1800hrs
- 20 July Korea 1952
- Arrive Pusan disembark 0830 hrs. Met by Lt Slater who
took men to BRITCOM SUB Area Transit Camp.
- 21 July1952
- 22 July 1952
- Depart by train for Seoul.
- Arrive at 1800. Stay night at FMA Detachment Britcom
Base Pro Coy
- 23 July1952
- Depart by MT to DIV Area. Arrive at HQ 1 Comwel Div
Pro Coy (1st Commonwealth Division Provost Company) and meet OC MAJ
AMIRAULT. Lunch at HQ. Proceed to No 2 Section 1 COMWEL DIV Pro Coy and
met by Section SGT (Sgt Bright RMP).
- 24 July 1952
- Sgt O'Connor and Bright on extensive tour of BDE area.
Supplied 4 NCO for special duty with Coy HQ. New Pintail bridge over
IMJIM River open.
- SGT O'Connor was to take over from SGT Bright after a
handover and familiarisation was conducted between them over a few days.
Unfortunately SGT O'Connor did not posses the depth of experience or
leadership required for the job and after much counseling and serious
morale crisis within the Section he was removed from the position and
sent back to Japan. The war diary states:
- 19 October 1952
- Morale in section declining. Section Sgt seems to be
the falling off of Section Efficiency. OC spends morning with SEC and
interviews all Aust members personally.
- 30 October 1952
- Sgt O'Connor relieved and sent to Japan for repost to
Aust. CPL Clode assumes appoint of NCO I/C Sec. DAPM 1 COMWEL DIV visits
- 4 Dec 52
- SGT 1/221 G.Sayeg arrives to take over as 2 Section
Morale of the Section and unit discipline
- From this time on morale was excellent with the
Section performing very well on all tasks. Morale was so good that some
members of the Section did not want to go home when their tour had
finished. Many inquiries were made by the men about extending their
tours and the matter was raised and mentioned in the war diary on 3
occasions. The following entries from the war diary clearly show the
- December 7 1952
- Ministerial inquiry - CPL Hollibone wife wants him
home. Member not want to come home until finish tour. Section SGT
working well morale high.
- 5 March 1953
- Personnel due for release from Korea in near future,
some personnel are desirous of serving another term here, official
ruling will be asked on the subject.
The war diary does not mention a reply to the above
inquiries. There was one case of a unit member being charged in November
1952. CPL Fisher was charged under Section 19 (Drunk), and Section 40
(Create a disturbance), of the Army Act. He was found guilty and reduced
to the rank of Private.
Evidence suggests that the men spent 12 months in
Korea with an entry in the war diary stating the first replacements of
Replacements, Training and Duties of the Section
7 June 1953
The section trying to settle down with new
The new replacements "hit the ground
running" with on the job training where possible as many men had no
formal or limited MP training. Often men were recruited for the MP from
other Australian Army Corps and Units based in Japan or Korea with no
chance to attend a formal training school. The following war diary entry
7 June 1953
Some trg done 2 members gained licenses, now all have
limited knowledge of map reading. Every opportunity is made for trg.
Training of replacements was done on the spot.
Experience was to compensate for any training
deficiencies within the Section with the Section performing many
"policing blitzes" on 1st Commonwealth Division personnel.
Often check points would be established where personnel were checked for
IDs, driving licenses and correct vehicle documentation, adherence to
Unit Standing Orders reference wearing of steel helmets or carriage of
weapons and equipment, etc. Many offence reports were submitted for
contravention of above orders and regulations.
As from May 1953 a Korean MP accompanied the Section
to check Korean Army personnel known as KATCOMS, (Koreans attached to
Signs and signposting were a major task of the
Section. All roads to and from the Brigade HQ and roads in the AO were
required to be signed. When the Brigade HQ moved the signing activity
was at a "frenzied" pace with all unit personnel involved in
signing. Signing was often hazardous with the Section under constant
danger of shelling or enemy small arms fire especially in daylight
hours. An entry in the war diary of 12 April 1953 noted:
Section signing patrol working in "Bowling
Alley" was subject to enemy shellfire today, no casualties. In
future will sign this area at night
There were many problems encountered with signing and
a large effort was maintained by the Section to maintain sign integrity.
Initially the MPs did not make there own signs with signs having to be
produced at the Company signing shop and then brought to the forward
areas. This quite often took considerable time especially when the MPs
had to compete with all Brigade elements to have signs made. Also the
large quantity of signs required made the job of producing signs even
longer. Often when materials where in short supply the MPs resorted to
using bits of timber or flat iron for making signs and putting them up
on trees or any other suitable place. This situation was fixed once it
was realised that a UK member of the Company was an ex sign writer and
signs were now produced locally. The standard and quality of the signs
greatly improved after this time. In fact signs were so good that the
Company often suffered the loss of them, not because of wear and tear or
damage but to "souvenir hunters" from the Brigade and Division
who felt they were worthy of being stolen and hung up in the boozers. An
entry from the war diary records such incidents:
8 Sep 53
It is believe worthy of note that attractive signs
have been erected by this Coy at 38th Parallel and most units have seen
fit to abscond with these signs when leaving this theater
Signs were also produced for the Battalion areas of 1
and 2 RAR. Many of the signs became hard to see at night or during the
bad weather in the winter months despite the quality and large size of
the signs. To overcome these problems the Section borrowed the idea from
the Canadians of using luminous "Scotchlight" type signs and
set about making them instead. As our logistic system did not have this
type of material it was borrowed from the Canadians when required and
found to be plentiful and excellent for signing purposes. Sign
maintenance was a continual problem with mud and dirt constantly making
the signs unreadable. The war diary entry of 22 November 1952 states:
Sign maintenance is a full time job for 2 NCO daily
Often signs were required to be erected in areas close
to the front lines. Signs like "Steel Helmets must be worn"
for personnel or "No lights line" for vehicles. Often these
signs were not adhered to forcing the Section to do mobile policing
patrols of these areas enforcing the regulations. This was not to be the
only case of mobile policing patrols and discipline duties
Other Duties performed by the Section were, policing
duties for concerts at the Brigade theater, cash escorts to the
Australian Cash Office staff to SEOUL and return and escorts of heavy
Special duties at Company HQ were often undertaken
with the Section performing many "policing blitzes" on 1st
Commonwealth Division Personnel. Often check points would be established
where personnel were checked for IDs, driving licenses and correct
vehicle documentation, adherence to Unit Standing Orders reference
wearing of steel helmets or carriage of weapons and equipment etc. Many
offence reports were submitted for contravention of above orders and
As well as the front lines the rear areas were
required to be policed as well. Often the Section checked Commonwealth
personnel in the towns and villages. Many offences were detected, one of
the most common being vehicles left unattended. Vice raids were common
with up to 20 or more prostitutes operating illegally who after being
checked for credentials were handed over to the Field Security Units
that contained Korean Police for handling. Operation POLICECAT was
conducted often and concentrated on black-market and vice raids of the
rear areas and involved elements of the Korean Police, Korean MP and the
Section to achieve very good results. It was noted that cases of VD were
well down in these areas. As from May 1953 a Korean MP accompanied the
Section to check Korean Army personnel known as KATCOMS, (Koreans
attached to Commonwealth Divisions).
On occasions members of the Section were required to
participate in Divisional or to a lesser extent Company parades. One
such parade in October 1952 rated a mention in the war diary:
GOC MAJ GEN AR West CB DSO spoke personally to each
member on parade impressed with length of service and experience of each
Another important duty performed by the Section was
convoy escorts from the rail head at TOKCHONG up to the forward areas.
At the front lines the Battalions were relieved in place and the
importance of getting the relief troops to the right location was
vitally important. The Section supported the Australian Battalions
relief often, but due to the nature of the Commonwealth influence they
did support units of other Commonwealth countries in this task as well.
Many times the Section was congratulated by the Brigade Commander for
"outstanding" performance. An entry in the war diary dated 26
June 1953 noted:
Support 2 British Units moving into the front line.
Weather so bad that an MP had to walk in front of vehicle to guide to
location - walk for 1/4 mile.
When ammunition was to be destroyed the Section would
deploy Pointsman to stop traffic moving into the danger area. When the
Brigade was on the move the Section provided the convoy escorts, TCPs,
check points, pointsman and info posts as well as all the signing, with
RMS and Francos necessary to make the move a success. Brigade HQ
commented favorably on the standard of signing and the support provided
by the Section for these moves. The first Brigade move caused a few
problems with the MPs moving at the same time. The following war diary
entry dated 5 October 1952 states:
Section to new LOC. Section moving as same time as BDE
poses problem for manpower to carry out TC duties as per mov
instruction. In future section will move 24 hrs before BDE HQ.
After this incident no other major problems with the
Brigade moves occurred again. Once the Brigade had settled in their new
location the Section was involved in signing the Brigade area. This was
a big job and one that occupied much of the Sections time when not
providing Provost support to other Units or locations. Also the Section
had to set up tent accommodation for themselves and the Company and sign
these areas as well. Constant beautification and sign maintenance of all
areas was a continuous problem.
As of the 5th of October 1952 the Section was
responsible for maintaining a Police Post at TEAL Bridge. TEAL bridge
was taking the MSR left of Brigade. This bridge was vitally important to
the logistic support of the Brigades fighting at the front lines.
A sandbagged-tented area was established with some
defensive positions created.
On the 26th the bridge was subjected to light enemy
shelling, but the Section remained in place to carry out their duties.
The war diary noted:
TEAL bridge area subject to light enemy shellfire.
This Police Post turned into an essential information
post that was indispensable to the Brigade. The Section was to man this
post for some months. On the 5th of February 1953 the Section commenced
duty at the UN traffic post on Route 33 near the Newcastle Road House.
This post was manned by MP of the Commonwealth Division as well as US
and ROK MP, checking personnel and vehicles from their own country
forces. The duty was for about a 24 hour period and was conducted
frequently by the Section with the various countries MP. The traffic
post was also manned during Brigade moves or Exercises.
Truce talks get some results
By July 1953 truce talks were finally yielding
acceptable outcomes even though talks had been ongoing since July 1951.
The main point of disagreement for both sides was the exchange of POWs.
Indications were that the North Koreans were vying for time as attacks
and small battles were common during this period. As part of the truce
both sides agreed to swap POWs. The following war diary entries detail
12 Jul 53
All sections engaged in signposting for MP aspects of
OP HOMEWARD BOUND the Commonwealth version of BIG SWITCH return of
13 Jul 53
Briefing about above if it should happen.
24 Jul 53
OC to conf mention of a possible MP role should a
truce be signed.
26 Jul 53
O gp called at 2100 on action by MP if truce is
27 Jul 53
Shells fell in the DIV area throughout day. One shell
landed in 3 sect area at 2015 hrs and failed to detonate due to the time
fuze being too wet to explode.
28 July 1953
Truce taking effect all units pull back to their
29 Jul 53
Units pull back to KANSAS LINE salvaging all material
that may be useful for construction etc. of line. Provost commitment
reduced for OP HOMEWARD BOUND.
In August of 1953 further signing and special signs
were created for "ambulance" roads for OPERATION HOMEWARD
BOUND. The operation was complete by early September and all signs were
The static war
The KANSAS LINE was the name for the position that the
allied forces occupied and were to hold in the event of hostilities
starting again. The Section was now to move and perform the duties of a
Base Provost Company. The Section ceased to look after TEAL Bridge. The
war diary comments:
31 Jul 53
All secs areas reallocated preparing to assume role of
BASE PRO COY in maintain law and order in villages behind stay back
line. Aust Sect cease look after teal bridge.
During 1953 the war diary noted some
25 January 1953
Whilst participating in a pistol shoot, CPL Cockram's
pistol had a faulty shell remaining in the barrel after being fired, a
second round was fired without knowledge of the first one still being in
the barrel resulting in the second round splitting the barrel and
forcing its way out.
3 June 1953
CPL Powell was promoted to SGT. The war diary noted 1st
person to be promoted to SGT in the Section in Korea
18 Jul 53
Today marks the anniversary of the founding of the
Aust Sect and integration with RMP and Canadian
28 Jul 53
2nd anniversary of forming Comm DIV.
3 pers depart for Aust for detach with Royal Visit car
Coy. All recom from 2 Aust Sec were accepted for this special duty and
we are justifiable proud.
And on 11 August 1953 the Section had RMP members
integrated within the Section:
No2 sect becomes integrated with Brit and Aust
From this time on the Section was involved in
maintaining discipline and policing duties of Commonwealth troops. As
such the Section was forced to conduct mobile policing patrols of
certain areas. Because the fighting had ceased and a "rear
area" mentality had been adopted by the troops, discipline and
procedures became slack. Because of the static situation and the fact
that unit areas could now be established on a more permanent basis, and
often near villages, the opportunity for theft was rife among the local
population with American units being worst hit. Lack of security by
personnel was seen to be the biggest problems. Black-markerteering,
vice, theft and blatant disregard for orders were becoming all too
common and the Section was engaged in a permanent policing activity. As
the troops became complacent, some soldiers were reluctant to carry
weapons, carry field equipment, correct vehicle documentation etc. and
the Section was forced to conduct discipline patrols of these areas.
Truce violations were occurring on a frequent basis by
Allied troops. The war diary of 7 Aug 1953 stated:
No.2 Sec moves to South of River IMJIN at MR 254057.
Daylight patrols cut by 25% and night patrols increased. Curfew regs
enforced as numbers of pers observed wandering around by night on MSR
subsequent to truce.
The IMJIM River was to become a well known location to
the Section. Smoke round trials were being conducted at the PINTAIL
bridge which went over the IMJIM river and the Section was required to
man the bridge for the duration of the trials. The Section established a
police post at the bridge. PINTAIL Bridge was taking the right Brigade
Vehicles and Logistics
Vehicles and logistics were a major problem for the
Section. Upon arriving in country in 1952 the Section inherited their
vehicles from the RMP. The vehicles were left overs from WW2 and
comprised a mix of USA and British vehicles. Indications are that the
jeep was the mainstay of Section TPT with all of the MP signing work and
other tasks carried out using the jeep. It seems that the trucks used
were of British origin around the 1 ton category. The Company owned 2 of
these type vehicles. All the vehicles had been poorly maintained and the
war diary notes the problems the Section was having until self help and
initiative of the men improved the situation:
2 October 1952.
Section TPT in poor condition, replace and maintenance
of MT in this theater is a major problem. Standard of section MT has
improved considerably since vehicles were taken over from previous UK
8 October 1952
Sec TPT in serious position, only 2 jeeps being
serviceable at present time.
22 October 1952
SEC MT position still unchanged 2 jeeps still only
serviceable. COY MT position becoming more serious.
29 October 1952
Sec TPT inspected by Coy Tpt Sgt. Sec Tpt is still a
7 November 1952
Sec TPT position improves, now have 3 jeeps
serviceable. MT ramp constructed in Sec Area.
18 November 1952
Sec Tpt improved with 4 jeeps and two 1 ton trucks now
serv. Tpt position improved only by initiative and self help of the men.
19 November 1952
MT repainting program commence
22 November 1952
Veh painting continue, 2 jeeps completed.
24 November 1952
One new reconditioned jeep issued to Sec. 1st veh
replacement since arrival in Coy during Jul 52
26 November 1952
All sec jeeps now repainted and in good working order.
29 November 1952
All Section trailers no repainted.
The vehicle situation was to remain stable for the
remainder of the time that the records cover the Section. It was noted
that when rotations of personnel occurred and the new replacements had
no MT mechanical knowledge the vehicle situation started to flare up
again. Driver training and "hands on" lessons where required
to fix these problems.
Uniforms were another problem the Section faced. The
Australian Battle Dress uniform was found unsuitable for the Korean
winters and approval was granted for the Australian Section to wear
British Battle Dress. Uniforms were standard Australian Army issue or
British when necessary; the slouch hat was worn as duty headdress with
Corps badge on the left side brim turned up and white webbing and
gaiters worn to indicate MP. The MP armband was worn on the right arm.
The badge of the 1st Commonwealth Division was worn on both shoulders
and shoulder titles embroidered 'Royal Australian Army Provost Corps'
with a white border around the writing worn as well. White traffic
sleeves where required to be carried and worn when performing traffic
control duties. Initially in short supply uniforms were a priority for
the MPs and the following war diary entries indicate some of the
16 October 52
COY changes to Battle Dress, Australian type BD not
considered suitable for service in this theater, approval given from HQ
28 BRITCOM INF BDE for personnel to wear UK type BD. To be issued when
available from Coy HQ.
23 October 1952
Winter clothing issue to all personnel.
6 November 1952
Battle Dress issued to UK members of Sec. Supplies at
present are inadequate for issue to Aust personnel.
An interesting uniform note was the following entry
dated 23 May 1953:
Red scarves issued to all personnel. Scarves will be
worn officially as part of duty dress from now on.
Summer clothing was 2 sets of OG clothing and AB
Boots. Initially there were not enough OG uniforms to allow 3 per man
and more were to come from 3 RAR Q in due course.
Towards the end
As the years went by in Korea the Australian
contribution to the Company was growing smaller each year until about
1954/55 the Section was down to just 2 Australian MP NCO only.
The following entries trace the evolution of the
Company and ultimately the Section:
14 October 1954
- Australian Section - 1 Commonwealth Division Provost
Company (COMWEL DIV PRO COY)
7 November 1954
- Reorganisation of Company 1 COMWEL DIV PRO COY to
change name to 1 Commonwealth Brigade Provost Detachment (1 COMWEL BDE
16 January 1955
- 1 COMWEL DIV PRO COY Non-Operational
15 May 1956
- Name change to 1st Commonwealth Division Independent
Provost Company (1 COMWELDIV IND PRO COY)
14 June 1956
- Commonwealth Contingent Korea Provost Section (2
Australians serving in Section only)
- 1st Commonwealth Division Independent Provost Company
- HQ AUSTARM Component (1 or 2
Australian Provosts attached to a Brigade Provost Section in BCFK)
- End of Australia's involvement in Korea and Japan -
all Australian troops return to Australia
The 1st Commonwealth Division; although the
establishment and organisation of the Division was normal by the
standards of the day, nevertheless it was a unique formation for the
- The permanent units and personnel come from no
fewer than six different countries, namely, Great Britain, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. In addition, for the
last six months the Division has had over one thousand South Korean
soldiers serving and fighting in its ranks.
- The Division has fought under the operational
command of the United Nations, as opposed to any individual country,
and this has necessitated its becoming an organic formation of an
American Corps, on exactly the same footing as other American
Divisions in the Corps.
- Except for two months and the odd day, the Division
has spent the whole of the first two years of its existence actually
fighting in the front line.
Over the course of the 1st Commonwealth Division
Provost Company many changes were made among the Sections and Company
personnel; but the Division's and Company's truly Commonwealth character
was not altered, and the Commonwealth spirit was maintained throughout.
The 1st Commonwealth Division Provost Company was the most
successful integrated Unit that served in the 1st
Commonwealth Division no thanks to the skill, determination and
brotherhood of MPs all over the world.
The Australian MPs in Korea represented the Corps
well. Many and varied tasks were performed by the men, often in trying
and dangerous conditions and they proved, once again, the great asset of
a Military Police presence when on operations or active service. These
glory days of the Australian MP were soon to end. With the withdrawal of
Australian troops from Korea and Japan, the end of National Service in
Australia and post war reductions of the Australian Army the Corps was
seriously reduced in numbers and equipment.
Story written and researched by Antony Buckingham from
Australian War Memorial documents AWM 52/18/02/197 1 COMWEL DIV Pro 1952