The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Alfred Victor a.k.a. Albert John King
Regimental #:
Place of Birth:
Warwickshire, Kings Norton, (Birmingham) England
Father's Name:
Not Known
Mothers's Name:
Not Known
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Miner and Stationhand
Sukchon Cemetery Korea, Portion 2, Plot and Row 11, Grave 126, Age 26
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi, Forest Party
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tarsau, Kanu II, Hintock, Chungkai, Tamuang
Camps Japan:
Yamane, Niihama
8800 & !648
Rashin Maru Party
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action Korea 1950
Place of Death:
Korea. Soldier was a Kingsley Fairbridge Farm school boy. He absonded and changed his name to avoid detection. Soldier re-enlisted and tragically was killed in action after only 42 days in Korea.
Date of Death:
Return Details 1945:
Wakayama‐Okinawa, USS Sanctuary, Okinawa- Manila, USS Bingham, Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore

General Description

King was a Kingsley Fairbridge Farm school boy and had absconded from his place of work as a station hand.  (At that time Fairbridge children were Wards of the State until 21 years of age).  He changed his name to avoid detection.  He would have been 17 years old when he enlisted.
His mothers surname was Beddow. Unfortunately, research cannot find any relatives, living or otherwise for King.
Born 21/2/1924, Alfred Victor King arrived in Australia on ‘Oronsay’ 23/8/1932 aged 8 years, also on board was Edward Jonathon (Ted) Leadbitter WX8425 aged 13 years.  He was housed in ‘Nelson’ with ‘Cowboy’ Matthews  and Reg Tooze who had arrived at Fairbridge in 1931.
When he arrived on ‘Oronsay’ he was recorded as Alfred Victor.  King enlisted WW2 under name of Albert John and did the same in 1950 when he enlisted for Korea.


2/4th Fairbridge boys – is thought King is standing 2nd from left.


King was sent to work Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion.  Please read further.
He was selected as being ‘fit’ by Japanese to work in Japan, and sailed to Moji Japan from Singapore with ‘Rashin’ Maru on the dreadful 70 day sea voyage.

Please read further



King was recovered from Niihama, Japan at the end of the war.


After the war King resided in Norseman from where he re-enlisted on 9th August 1950, landing in Pusan, South Korea on 28th September 1950.  The battalion was part of the 27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade. Troops from 3RAR were rotated and replaced on an individual basis, and 3RAR remained in Korea for the duration of the conflict. King served with the Special Forces Unit 3 RAR and was killed in action after only 42 days in Korea on 8th November 1950.  His Regt. No. was 5/400008.  22 countries joined the United Nations multinational military intervention to defend South Korea.
We believe King may have been KIA during battle at Pakchon.  Also known as the Battle of Bochuan.




Operation Commando

In early October 1951, 3RAR (3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment), in conjunction with British Commonwealth troops, attacked a group of hills near the Imjin River. The attack was named after the biggest of these hills and became known as the battle for Maryang San or “Operation Commando”.
The operation began on 3 October with a British assault on one of the other dominant features, Hill 355 (known as Kowang San or “Little Gibraltar”). Then, on the morning of the 5th, 3RAR attacked Hill 317 (Maryang San). The Australian force approached Hill 317 through rugged countryside at 4 am, under a heavy cloak of mist. At 10 am, the mist began to lift, exposing the Australian advance. However, the communists briefly hesitated before firing, which allowed 3RAR to capture the first line of defences in a fierce burst of fighting. The following morning 3RAR drove the communist forces from their position atop the hill, but they had to resist enemy counter-attack. The crest of the Hill 317 was secured on 6 October, after which the Australians assisted the British to take a lesser feature, Hill 217. This was finally achieved on the morning of 8 October.
Operation Commando was strategically important to the UN forces because if Maryang San was secured, the Chinese would be forced back two or three kilometres, thus losing their view of the Imjin salient. This battle was also significant as it was thought to be the last chance for the UN forces to position troops before the ceasefire and armistice negotiations.
There had been two previous attempts to take Maryang San by American troops, both of which had been unsuccessful. However, over a fiercely fought battle, against superior enemy numbers, UN troops were able to gain and secure the hills 317 (Maryang San) and 355 (known as Little Gibralter).
The official historian for the Korean War, Robert O’Neill, wrote of this battle:
In this action 3RAR had won one of the most impressive victories achieved by any Australian battalion. In five days of heavy fighting 3RAR dislodged a numerically superior enemy from a position of great strength. The Australians were successful in achieving surprise on 3 and 5 October, the company and platoon commanders responded skilfully to Hassett’s directions, and the individual soldiers showed high courage, tenacity and morale despite some very difficult situations, such as that of D company when the mist rose on 5 October and those of B and C Companies when the weight of enemy fire threatened their isolation of Hill 317 on 7 October … The victory of Maryang San is probably the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the Korean War.
By 5 November, after the Australians were withdrawn to recuperate, Maryang San had been recaptured by the Chinese. It was a terrible blow to morale for those who had fought long and hard to capture it. The tactically important ground of Maryang San remained in the hands of Chinese forces for the rest of the war.’  We acknowledge and thank AWM for this information.


Above Sukchon, North Korea. c. 1950-11-08. Rows of white crosses standing in a temporary United Nations cemetery mark the graves of Australian and allied soldiers killed in the advance into North Korea. The roof of a Christian church is visible at rear (right). (Donor B. Eberle).  AWM

The information below is from AWM.

‘Pakchon, 5 November 1950
 In November, after the actions of the Broken Bridge and Chongju, the 27th Commonwealth Brigade held position near the town of Pakchon (map), in defence of the road leading south to the Chongchon River. Australian troops were concentrated on the west bank of the Taeryong River near Pakchon.
On the night of 4-5 November, Chinese troops, who had only recently entered the war, attacked the area.
They were repelled by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the morning of 5 November, but other Chinese troops continued to advance southwards, threatening to isolate the position of the brigade. The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), was hurriedly sent to stop the Chinese on a tactically important ridgeline, east of Pakchon.
The enemy positions were first strafed by Mustangs of 77 Squadron, RAAF: this was the first occasion when Australian troops and airpower worked together in Korea. The raid having thrown the Chinese into confusion, 3 RAR then attacked. After two hours of fierce defence by the Chinese, the Australians captured the ridgeline. However, the fight was not to end there.
After dark that night, the Chinese launched a massive counter-attack. On the Pakchon road, C Company was fired upon, while Chinese infantry attacked A and B companies on the ridgeline. Colonel F. S. Walsh, Commanding Officer of 3 RAR, withdrew the Australian companies from the ridgeline to lower ground. A Company, in particular, suffered many casualties during their withdrawal.
Considering Walsh’s decision a foolish move, the 27th Brigade Commander Brigadier Aubrey Coad reversed Walsh’s order, as he felt leaving the ridgeline open would give the enemy direct access to the rest of the brigade. However, by the time his order came through, only one Australian company – D Company – could return to defend the position. Fortunately, after midnight it was clear that the Chinese were withdrawing. 3 RAR had secured the ridge and the road running south from Pakchon was safe.
The battle had claimed 12 Australian lives; seventy men were wounded. Brigadier Coad appointed Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Ferguson as the new CO of 3 RAR the next morning.
The Australians remained in the area for a few weeks afterwards, but to their surprise, the Chinese troops kept a low profile. The action at Pakchon marked the end of the first Chinese offensive.’
King was buried at Sukchon Cemetery Korea.


Below:  A possible death notice for King from his brother and sister-in-law.  We cannot be certain this is the one and same King.


Part of the Armistice Agreement signed in Panmunjom in June of 1953 called for the exchange of military war dead on both sides.
After the cease fire, UN officials negotiated for the return of the remains of deceased war dead on both sides – the plan was called ‘Operation Glory’.  The plan was put into effect 22nd July 1954 and by 30 August 1954, the disinterment of all enemy deceased military personnel was completed.
At the last formal meeting on October 11th, both sides agreed to continue searching in remote areas, and if additional remains were discovered, they would be returned prior to the end of the month, if possible. The UN Chief of the Graves Registration Committee further advised the North Koreans that the exchange facilities would be left standing for as long as was felt necessary.
For their part, the North Koreans announced that they had disinterred 78 more bodies, which they forwarded to UN officials the next day (October 12th). Then again 66 additional remains were handed over on November 9th. This brought to 4,167 the total number of United Nations deceased military personnel turned over by the North Koreans during Operation Glory.’  (We acknowledge and thank for the  Korean War Education for the above information.)
A total number 4,167 United Nations deceased military personnel were turned over by the North Koreans during Operation Glory. This number included largely Americans,  but also Australian, British, New Zealand, etc.
King’s remains are buried at:
United Nations Memorial Pusan Korea,                                 Sukchon Cemetery – Portion 2, Plot and Row 11, Grave 126.


Australian Forces remained in Korea as part of the multi-national peacekeeping force until 1957. Over 17,000 Australians served during the Korean War, of which 340 were killed and over 1,216 wounded. A further 30 had become prisoners of war.
‘The armistice was signed at 10 am on 27 July 1953. Sporadic fighting continued throughout the day, but as evening fell the guns fell silent. The armistice came into effect at 10 pm, ending three years, one month, and two days of war in Korea. The end came so suddenly that some soldiers took some convincing that the fighting was really over. The former belligerent nations each withdrew two kilometres in accordance with the armistice agreement, forming the Demilitarized Zone which still exists today.’
We thank and acknowledge AWM for this information).



Conditions for Australians taken POW of North Korea.

Twenty-nine Australians, including two officers, were taken prisoner of war in Korea. The treatment of Australian POWs in Korea was generally better than that meted out by the Japanese to their captives during the Second World War. However there were many Australian POWs who were kept in appalling conditions.
Food allowances were often meagre. One Australian, Private H. R. Madden, 3 RAR, who was captured at Kapyong, died from malnutrition. He was awarded the George Cross posthumously for resisting interrogation and for his generosity in looking after other prisoners.
The Chinese attempted to indoctrinate prisoners with communist ideas, but were unsuccessful with the Australians.
We wish to acknowledge this information is taken from Anzac Day Commemoration Committee’s story on ‘Prisoners of War’.
Below:  Australians dressed in ‘Mao Suits’ – this is what the POWs would have been supplied.
A 1953 Chinese propaganda photograph taken at Camp 5, Pyoktong, North Korea, on the Yalu River near the Manchurian border, of four Australian POWs all captured while serving in Korea with the 3rd Battalion. AWM.


Below:  Although celebrating end of war – the summers were blazingly hot.

Above:  L-R Winter uniform – not initially supplied, the Australians wore American uniforms.  This specially designed clothing includes a string vest, thick fleece underclothing, a heavy jersey, and windproof combat jacket and trousers under a fur lined parka. On his back is a down sleeping bag. it costs the army more than 100 pounds to fit.
Middle:  The olive green combat smock and trousers are windproof and waterproof, while the visored combat cap has been found to be the most suitable headgear in cold and wet conditions. The arctic winds blew in from Siberia. The coldest temperatures were colder than those experienced at Lenningrad WW2.
On right:  Summer Uniform with slouch hat.

Above:  ‘Capable of firing out to a maximum range of four kilometres, the Vickers medium machine-gun was an important support weapon for the Australian infantry battalions in Korea. Each battalion was equipped with six Vickers guns’.
Dressed in winter uniform. The Korean winter temperatures could drop as low -43 degrees.


Below:  Australians with orphaned children from nearby areas.  It was estimated 10,000 Korean children became orphaned by the War.


Above: Talking with local Koreans

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Nihama, Hiroshima #2-B- Japan