Korean War Medals Home Page

General Information - A Catalgoue of Decorations and Campaign Medals
Issued By New Zealand To United Nations Forces
For The Korean War 1950 - 1954

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General Information about New Zealand's involvement in the Korean War

The New Zealand Government committed six RN-LOCH class frigates to support UN Navel operations. The HMNZ Pukaki and HMNZ Tutira operated in the USN screening force for the Inch’on Invasion, performing shore raids and inland bombardment. The sole Royal New Zealand Navy casualty during the Korean War was a sailor killed during a shore raid.

After some debate, on 26th July 1950 the New Zealand Government announced it raise a volunteer military force to serve with the UN forces in Korea. Known as KAYFORCE it consisted of a Regiment of Royal New Zealand Artillery and auxiliary units numbering some 1,044 men. The following year a unit from the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps was added to the New Zealand contingent.

Consisting of HQ Kayforce, the 16th Field Regiment RNZA, two signal troops, a light aid detachment, a transport platoon and a small reinforcement unit, Kayforce sailed for Korea on 10th December 1950 aboard the ‘Ormande’. Kayforce arrived at Pusan on 31st December 1950 and was initially attached to the 27th Commonwealth Brigade. Gunners from the 16th Field Regiment first went into action on 29th January 1951. In July 1951, Kayforce became part of the newly formed Commonwealth Division.

While gradual reductions in Kayforce were made, beginning shortly after the ceasefire was signed in 1953, they returned to New Zealand in 1955, with the exception of 10th Transport Company which returned home in 1957. 31 New Zealand Army personnel were killed in action and 78 wounded in action during the war.

Approximately 1,350 Royal New Zealand Navy personnel served in Korean waters during the war and one rating was killed in action during R.N.Z.S. Rotoiti's first tour.