Raymond Irvan AWMM
Also known as
Korea 207926 AWMM
5 November 1924 Public source
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Korea Kaitangata, Otago AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Raised by Mary Calesta Templeton. Did not embark on second enlistment. Source: Chamberlain, The New Zealand Korea Roll, p.404.
In 1945 Irvan as he was known served with the RNZAF in the Pacific Forward Area. After the end of the war he spent a further two years with the RNZAF before joining the Army and serving as a gunner with the 163 Battery of K – Force. Family source.
Extract from Hugh Templeton, Problematic Journey (Second Round and the Cold War), p.145:
We have another member of the clan who served with K-Force, that especially nasty war in the Korean Peninsula. This was an important defining conflict in the Cold War. United Nations forces were brought into being, under American leadership, to stop the North's armed takeover of South Korea. To that extent those participating could say their service had its reward.
The one Templeton who, we understand, fought in Korea was Ray Irvan Templeton, of the Waimahaka branch of the clan. Born in 1924, he was just old enough to serve for six months in 1945. This was with the air force in the Pacific Forward area. After the war ended he spent two more years in the RNZAF before joining the army and serving as a gunner with 163 Battery of K-Force. The K-Force historian, Ian MacGibbon, comments that the gunners lived 'like troglodytes'. Still, the New Zealanders, with their 25-pounders, were regarded as very good artillerymen, especially in an immediate battle situation.
163 Battery got their chance to prove this in supporting the Australian infantry at Naech'on and elsewhere. The name that made them famous, however, was Kap' Yong. There the Chinese armies were threatening the 27th Commonwealth Brigade. In face of the Chinese assault a South Korean Division had broken. The Commonwealth Brigade was caught in a flood of refugees. In a desperate, defensive situation, the New Zealand artillery, with their immediate and rapid support, stemmed the Chinese advance. This saved the entire Commonwealth Brigade from disaster and the Allied front itself from collapse.
As a member of 163 Battery that helped plug the gap, Irvan Templeton might claim that he was an essential player in that grim Korean war. Like the rest of K-Force, we can say he served with distinction in this first great United Nations collective security action that thoroughly warranted his Korean and UN medals. The New Zealand Artillery with their 25-pounders maintained the traditions General Weir and his gunners had earned in World War II. In one desperate battle they won fame for themselves. A soldier like Irvan Templeton may claim that he had been involved in a classical a defensive action. AWMM
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Chamberlain, H. (2013). The New Zealand Korea Roll : honouring those who served in the New Zealand Armed Forces in Korea, 1950-1957. Wellington, N.Z.: Author. AWMM
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