A total of 153 Australian nurses served in Commonwealth hospital units during the Korean War. While based mainly in Japan, they also served in Korea. These trained civilian nurses joined the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force for a four-year period, tending to battle-casualties, health problems and the transportation of patients.
Nurses of the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service (RAAFNS) and the Royal Australian Army Nursing Service (RAANS) (later the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC)) worked at the British Commonwealth Medical Zone Mobile Surgical Hospital in Seoul. Apart from the wounded, nurses also treated ailments brought on by intense summer heat and harsh winters, remote and mountainous fighting, and trench warfare. Trench foot, known in Korea as “rice-paddy feet”, incapacitated many front-line troops. Nurses placed strong emphasis on patient hygiene, and obtaining fresh food and water supplies.