NIAGARA MILITARY MUSEUM PRESERVING and SHARING the TRI-SERVICE MILITARY HISTORY of the NIAGARA PENINSULA 5049 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls. ON L2E 4E2
The Korean War erupted on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. The first Canadian military response was made by the Royal Canadian Navy less than two weeks after the outbreak of hostilities when three destroyers, HMCS Cayuga, Athabaskan and Sioux set sail for waters of the Western Pacific. These three ships took part in the battle for the Pusan bridgehead in Korea. They were later joined by five tribal class destroyers, HMCS Crusader, Huron, Iroquois, Nootka, and Haida. The Royal Canadian Navy’s mission included blockading the enemy coast, preventing amphibious landings by the enemy, protecting aircraft carriers from the HMCS HAIDA PATROLLING THE COAST OF KOREA threat of submarine and aerial attack, bombarding enemy held coastal areas and bringing assistance to the civilian Population. In December 1950 when the port city of Chinnampo was in danger of being over run by a massive enemy advance the order was given to evacuate. Three Canadian destroyers made a highly dangerous run 16 nautical miles up the heavily mined Taejon River. Two United Nations ships ran aground and were forced to turn back but the remaining ships, led by HMCS Cayuga, reached the city after a nerve-racking passage through shallow, twisting channels on a pitch-dark night. The ships helped destroy the railway lines, docks and supplies left behind by the North Koreans. Their mission accomplished; the ships returned to the relative safety of the open ocean. More than 3,600 Canadian naval personnel served in eight RCN ships off the coast of Korea before the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. To maintain the armistice United Nations naval forces continued to patrol the waters around Korea. It was not until September 1955 that the last Canadian destroyer left the region.