HUMMERSTON, Kenneth John

Service Numbers: VX41639, 3/37558, 337558
Enlisted: 2 July 1940
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR)
Born: Brighton, Victoria, Australia , 17 May 1916
Home Town: Brighton, Bayside, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Killed in action, Korea, 3 October 1950, aged 34 years
Cemetery: United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Busan, Korea
Captain Hummerston was originally interred at Tanggok Cemetery. Portion 19 Plot and Row 1 Grave No.975
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Brighton War Memorial, Korea United Nations Memorial Cemetery Wall of Remembrance
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World War 2 Service

2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, SN VX41639

Korean War Service

25 Jun 1950: Involvement Captain, SN 3/37558, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR)
28 Sep 1950: Involvement SN 337558

World War 2 Service

Date unknown: Involvement Sergeant, HQ New Guinea Force

First Australian casualty of Korean War

Kenneth had served his country well in the battle over New Guinea and was the first cousin of Jack Smiley, whom he met on the battlefield of New Guinea. Ken was made a corporal at one stage but turned the promotion down for reasons unknown earlier in the second war years. He was later promoted to Captain.

He died whilst travelling in a Bren gun carrier which went over a land mine planted by the North Koreans, an American-made mine stolen from an overrun of the Communist forces earlier. As an Australian Army Captain he was aide de comp to an Australian commanding general, General Sir Horace Robertson during the Korean War.

Ken Hummerston had been married six weeks earlier in Tokyo, Japan, to an Army nurse, Nancy Holmes from Tasmania. before he died on 19th August 1950. They had met at Eta Jima, an island south of Iwoa Jima in the Pacific.

Ken was buried: Tanggok Cemetery, Taegu, South Korea. Portion 19 Plot and Row 1 Grave No.975 Source: AWM149 Roll of Honour cards, Korea.

Ken's cousin Jack said Ken had come third in the Sun Aria song contest.

Capt Hummerston was one of the few survivors of the garrison which defended Rabaul in 1942. He escaped the Toll massacre, when Japanese bayoneted most of his unit, the 2/22 Infantry Battalion. He was a corporal then, and with a small party walked, swam and rowed a small boat for weeks down the west coast of New Britain to safety at a mission, where a destroyer rescued them.

Compiled by his first cousin, Keith Smiley of Melbourne, Australia.

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