Korean Personnel With the Canadian Forces (Katcoms)

Shortly before its return to the line in the spring of 1953, the Commonwealth Division was reinforced by 1,000 Korean soldiers, known as Katcoms (Korean Augmentation to Commonwealth). While South Koreans had served with the Commonwealth forces from the early stages of the war, their role had been of a non-combatant nature – as porters, messmen, interpreters. A Korean Service Corps for this purpose had been formed and a regiment had been attached to the 1st Commonwealth Division. Meanwhile, the United Nations command had undertaken the training of Korean nationals as infantry reinforcements. There were now more of these basically trained troops than could be equipped and absorbed into existing Korean units. South Korean soldiers were already serving in American formations.

In March 1953 the first of the Katcoms were integrated into the Canadian battalions. They were paid by the Korean government, but equipped, uniformed and armed by the units which accepted them. Although difficulties were encountered due to differences in language, outlook, customs and pay problems, the scheme worked reasonably well and provided valuable additional manpower.

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