We don’t want war

LIKE many people Gordon ‘Taffy’ Hughes is keeping a close eye on what is happening on the Korean Peninsula.

As a Korean War veteran he does not want to see the situation between the North and the South with support from the United States escalate into a devastating conflict.

He does not want to see a nuclear holocaust.

Mr Hughes saw the scars of the atomic bomb - over 10 years after they had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in the Second World War (WWII).

“The villages themselves were pretty well built up but Hiroshima was definitely a devastated place,” he said

The Korean situation, apart from it continually being in news, is foremost in his mind because almost 12 months-ago he was in South Korea.

In October last year the Nowra Nowra resident was one of eight veterans taken back to Korea by the Australian Government.

Mr Hughes is happy he is not planning a trip back to Korea this year.

He hopes the North Korean leader, KIm Jong Un, does not make a mistake of dropping an atomic bomb.

“If he wants to drop an atomic bomb he would get a dozen back from the United States and does he realise that,” Mr Hughes asked.

“Nobody is going to win in the end and we do not want anything to happen with atomic bombs.”

Mr Hughes did, however, enjoy going back to Korea with the other veterans last year.

They first went to Seoul, stayed for several days and then went down south to Pursang.

“It was an eye-opener for me,” he said.

“When I was there during the war Seoul was pretty well flattened and had been bombed out more or less.

“To go back and see it now with high rise big buildings and its large population was amazing. It’s a big modern city.”

Mr Hughes went to the infamous 38th parallel - the DMZ (demilitarised zone).

He said it was a stare off as the North Korean guards were looking at visitors and they were looking back at the communists.

Mr Hughes recently presented the Nowra RSL Sub-branch with a framed speech the Minister of Veterans Affairs made related to Korea.

He said it was no use just leaving the speech in his house so he donated it to the RSL.

“It’s there for people to go and have a look at,” he said.

The eight members of the trip sat in parliament in March and listened to the Minister's speech.

Mr Hughes served with the Royal Australian Navy and was on the carrier HMAS Sydney and he was around the 23-years-of-age at the time.

He was onboard the Sydney when the ship and its crew sailed though Typhoon Ruth in October 1951.

Mr Hughes flew in an aircraft as a navigator and was a petty officer at the time.

He was never in real danger and they generally flew out of range - especially of the small arms fire.

Mr Hughes said no way would he like to be flying around Korea now.

He did 31 years in the RAN, after serving with the Royal Navy in World War Two.