25 Apr 2021

Anzac Day war stories: The horror of napalm

8:30 am on 25 April 2021

A veteran who fought in Korea told of his experience of war and the horror of seeing napalm used for the first time.

Korean War veteran Gordon Sutherland:

Korean War veteran Gordon Sutherland: Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Gordon Sutherland, from Johnsonville, attended this morning's Anzac Day national service in Wellington.

"I'll always remember what an experience it was to see, sitting on the hill, on the other side the worst experience I'll ever have was seeing napalm used for the first time.

"Absolutely... I was so shocked that I even felt sorry for the enemy. The enemy that was a human being.

"I've never forgotten it and I've never talked about that occasion in Korea before. This is actually the first time."

Gordon said he had attended commemoration services his entire life.

"My connection goes back 80 years, from when I was a wee boy my father served in the first world war and I attended services from when I was 4-years-old. I was born on Armistice Day and I'm still here today.

"I served in Korea... I suppose you'd call it fighting."

He said when he returned to New Zealand he could not believe how green it was.

"It was wonderful to be home and since then I've experienced a wonderful life.

"It's just so lovely to be here... I love our country."