Veterans return to South Korea on war anniversary

Victor Flett, Ronald Foyle and John Molnar

(L-R): Victor Flett, Ronald Foyle and John Molnar at the National Cemetary of Korea at National Cemetary of Korea.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

Victor Flett did not think he would be returning to Korea almost 70 years later – this time for an award from the Korean government.

“This revisit was very meaningful to me,” said Flett, 94. “I have so many friends that are veterans of the [Korean] War who could not be there, and so many of my family members were in the military.” 

The Republic of South Korea honoured Flett and two other Korean War veterans from B.C. for their service during and following the Korean War. South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl personally presented the Korean War Service Medal to John Molnar of Abbottsford, B.C. Ronald Foyle of Vancouver and Flett received their medals previously.

“The freedom, peace and prosperity that the Republic of [South] Korea enjoys today were built on the foundations of the blood, sweat and sacrifice, and dedication of our veterans and veterans under the U.N. flag,” said Yoon during the luncheon.

The three men were among 200 Korean War veterans from nine nations selected by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs to participate in the Veterans Revisit Program. Molnar and Foyle served aboard HMCS Cayuga.

Flett served aboard HMCS Crusader as a Sonarman when it was dispatched from Esquimalt in July 1953. Since the Crusader arrived in Korea days after the July 27 armistice, Flett took part in UN Peacekeeping operations instead.

Born in St. Peters, Man., in September 1928, Flett is the last of three generations from Manitoba’s Peguis First Nation to serve in Canada’s military. His Grandfather, Private David William Stranger, an infantryman in the Canadian Army, was killed in the First World War in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Flett said the visit was his fourth trip to South Korea since the war ended, and his love and admiration for the nation and its people continue to grow each time. 

The veterans also attended a national ceremony at Jangchun Arena that marked the 72nd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Captain (Navy) Jill Marrack, the Canadian defence Attaché in Seoul, attended the ceremony.

The veterans also visited the Korean War Memorial. According to The Korean War Veteran newsletter, the veterans were greeted at the site by Korean children who gave them hugs and wanted to take their pictures with them. The emotional moment and kindness of the Korean people moved Foyle, a former RCN Stoker and Vancouver Police Department Superintendent, to tears.

Ron Foyle

Ron Foyle poses with a Korean child in a train station. Photos supplied

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.