Adjusting rockets on jets, 77 Squadron, Korea

Accession Number ART40325
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 46 x 60.8 cm; framed: 65.2 cm x 80.4 cm x 4.3 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas on hardboard
Maker Hele, Ivor
Place made Korea
Date made 1952
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts an Australian ground crew from the 77 Squadron loading rockets onto a Meteor jet on a runway in Korea, during the Korean War . The work has a pen and ink study, 'Loading rockets, 77 Squadron, Korea' created in Kimpo, Korea in 1952. The 77 Squadron was formed at Pearce, Western Australia, in March 1942. The Squadron moved to Milne Bay, New Guinea, in February 1943 and became heavily engaged in air combat with Japanese aircraft. In March 1946 the Squadron moved to Bofu, then Iwakuni, Japan, as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. The Squadron was preparing to return to Australia in June 1950 when it was called upon by the United Nations for duties in Korea. It performed its first escort on 2 July 1950. Other escorts were followed by operations against enemy tanks, transport, fuel and ammunition dumps. The 77 Squadron began its move to Kimpo, Korea in late July 1951, after converting to the Meteor jet fighter. The unit's main involvement was in fighter sweeps and bomber escorts. In 1952 the role changed to area defence and ground attack, resulting in losses from the Squadron. By cessation of hostilities on 27 July 1953, the Squadron had lost 58 members, and returned to Australia at the end of 1954. It was disbanded on 12 August 1956.
Ivor Hele (1912-1993) served as a Private in the AIF in 1941 and was appointed an official war artist in October that year . From June 1943 until the war ended he worked in a number of locations in northern Australia and New Guinea, maintaining his commission until 1947. He was again appointed official war artist for the Korean War, with the rank of Major, the highest appointment made in any war. From 1953 he executed a number of portrait and painting commissions for the War Memorial and in 1969 was awarded a CBE for his services to art.