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Korean vets recall napalm, noise

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017 Cassie Devoy

A Korean War veteran has recounted how he wanted to serve his country, but came away horrified by the thought of being burned to death in a napalm attack.

Several veterans from the 1950s conflict were present at the Anzac Day dawn service in Wellington on Tuesday.

Gordon Sutherland, 89, served two tours over three years in Korea.

He was 26 when he volunteered for the army.

His father served in World War I, which gave him something of an insight into war life but he was too young to serve during WWII.

"So when Korea came up they called for volunteers I thought I'm still single I can do something," he told NZ Newswire.

"The worst part about that war was the napalm. Their dive bombers were flying in... seeing the whole hillside, I used to think what a terrible terrible death... being burnt to death."

Chris Neville was 21 when he served in Korea.

He had a lot to learn going from being a shepherd to a soldier.

"There was a lot of noise. But that's what war is. We had a lot to learn. We had to learn to use a lot of equipment very quickly. Some of things we did weren't in the official rule book, but we managed to tame the beast."

Despite being so young and inexperienced he said he wasn't scared.

"When scary situations come on you're usually so busy doing something about it. Being scared doesn't mean you're brave, because we certainly weren't that. We just got on with what we had to do."

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