Korean War | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Korean War

The Korean War began 25 June 1950, when North Korean armed forces invaded South Korea. The war’s combat phase lasted until an armistice was signed 27 July 1953. As part of a United Nations (UN) force, 26,791 Canadian military personnel served in the Korean War, during both the combat phase and as peacekeepers afterward. After the two world wars, Korea remains Canada’s third-bloodiest overseas conflict, taking the lives of 516 Canadians and wounding more than 1,200.

André Therrien with Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada.
  1. May 01, 1948

    Korean War 

    North and South Korea Split

    The Korean peninsula was liberated from Japanese occupation by both Soviet and American armed forces, late in the Second World War. The Soviets, Americans, and their Korean supporters could not agree on the country’s form of government. While the UN oversaw democratic elections in South Korea, the Soviet Union forbade them in the North.

  2. August 15, 1948

    Korean War 

    North and South Korea Were Established

    The Western-backed Republic of Korea (South), and communist-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North) were established.

  3. June 25, 1950

    Korean War 

    North Korea Invaded South Korea

    At dawn, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea crossed the 38th parallel behind artillery fire, invading the Republic of Korea.

  4. June 28, 1950

    Korean War 

    Pearson Replies to the Invasion of South Korea

    Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester Pearson called for a Canadian response to the invasion of the Republic of Korea through the United Nations and under US military leadership.

  5. August 07, 1950

    Korean War 

    Canada Expanded Its Presence in the Korean War

    Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent announced the creation of a Canadian Army Special Force, later named the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group to serve under the United Nations in Korea.

  6. October 01, 1950

    Korean War 

    China Entered the Korean War

    By the end of October 1950, thousands of Chinese soldiers crossed the Yalu River into North Korea, driving UN forces back south.

  7. November 01, 1950

    Korean War 

    Canadian Troops Departed for Korea

    The first contingent of Canadian troops, the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, departed Canada for Korea.

  8. December 01, 1950

    Korean War 

    Canadians Evacuated Americans in Korea

    The Canadian HMCS Cayuga and HMCS Athabaskan assisted in the evacuation of 7,700 US troops trapped in the port of Chinnamp'o, on the west coast of the Korean peninsula.

  9. December 18, 1950

    Korean War 

    First Canadian Troops Arrive in Korea

    The first Canadian battalion (the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) arrived in Busan, South Korea. Earlier that month, UN troops withdrew from Pyongyang as Communist troops reoccupied the North Korean capital.

  10. April 22, 1951

    Korean War 

    The Battle of Kapyong

    Canadian troops fought at the Battle of Kapyong, which began when Communist forces launched a major offensive on 22 April. For two days, a battalion of roughly 700 Canadian troops (2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) defended a crucial hill against a force of about 5,000 Chinese soldiers.

  11. November 22, 1951

    Korean War 

    Battle of Hill 355

    The Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and the Royal 22eRégiment defended the front lines at Hill 355, pushing back heavy assaults for three days.

  12. May 25, 1952

    Korean War 

    Koje-Do Incident

    North Korean and Chinese prisoners rebelled and seized an American prisoner of war camp at Koje-Do (now Geojedo). At the request of the US military, Canadian troops helped recapture the prison. The deployment of Canadian troops without the Canadian government’s consent resulted in a public diplomatic protest to the US government.

  13. October 22, 1952

    Korean War 

    Battle of Kowang-San

    In a battle that lasted 33 hours, the Royal Canadian Regiment held its position against an advancing Chinese force. As a result of the action at Kowang-San, soldiers of the Battalion won three Military Crosses and four Military Medals for gallantry.

  14. May 02, 1953

    Korean War 

    Battle of Hill 187

    The Canadian Army’s last major battle of the Korean War was fought, in which the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment endured constant enemy shellfire and wave upon wave of assaults on their positions.