When Maurie Pears was wounded during the battle of Maryang San, he was determined to fight on with the rest of his men.
The then 21-year-old lieutenant had lost an entire section of his platoon and was wounded by shrapnel, but pressed on, capturing two hills, including Maryang San, in the space of 24 hours.
The battle of Maryang San was later described by Official historian Robert O’Neill as “probably the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the Korean War”.
“The battle conditions up there were very hard indeed,” Maurie said.
“The enemy was strong, and very, very capable, and we were given a task behind enemy lines – one which got us into a lot of awkward situations, and one which really tested the efficiency of the Australian soldier.”
Maurie was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Maryang San in October 1951 and for the raid on another feature, Point 227, a few months later in January 1952.
“It is an ugly business; no doubt about that,” he said. “War is difficult.
“No one can ever completely prepare you for combat action, and taking command of your first platoon. There are so many things that happen when you interact with a group of 30 men under the fear of death that no one can tell you about.
“That’s something you’ve got to experience … but like all soldiers, we adapted, and managed to perform our duty.
“I was happy to get back home in one piece.”