After some debate, on 26 July 1950, the New Zealand Government announced it would raise a volunteer military force to serve with UN forces in Korea. Known as KAYFORCE, a total of 1044 men were selected from among volunteers.

Consisting of HQ Kayforce, the 16th Field Regiment RNZA, two signal troops, a light aid detachment, a transport platoon and small reinforcement training unit, Kayforce sailed for Korea on 10 December 1950 aboard the "Ormande." Kayforce arrived at Pusan, Korea, on 31 December 1950. Initially attached to the 27th Commonwealth Brigade, gunners from the 16th Field Regiment went into action on 29 January 1951. In July 1951, Kayforce became part of the newly formed Commonwealth Division. While gradual reductions in Kayforce were made, beginning shortly after the ceasefire was signed in 1953, with the exception of 10 Transport Company, Kayforce returned to New Zealand in 1955. 10 Transport Company was returned home in 1957.

Kayforce consisted of the following units:

Hq NZ Kayforce
New Base Headquarters 28th Field Engineer Light Aid Detachment
NZ Base Signals Troop 16th NZ Field Regiment
NZ Base Transport Section 16th NZ Field Regiment Light Aid Det.
NZ Base Ordnance Section 10th NZ Transport Company
NZ Base Workshops Section 1st Commonwealth Div. Transport Plt.
NZ Base Dental Section C Troop, No. 1 Squadron
NZ Base Provost Section D Troop, No. 1 Squadron
NZ Base Detachment (Administration) G Troop, No. 2 Squadron
NZ Reinforcement Training Unit H Troop, No. 2 Squadron


Prior to the arrival of KAYFORCE, New Zealand had committed six RN LOCH-class frigates to supporting UN naval operations. These were:

The HMNZS PUKAKI and HMNZS TUTIRA operated in the USN screening force for the Inchon Invasion, performing shore raids and inland bombardment. The sole Royal New Zealand Navy casualty during the Korean War was a sailor killed during one of the shore raids.

Casualties                         31 KIA                 78 WIA

More information about New Zealand, British and Commonwealth forces can be found at:

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