25 June 2020

The Korean War and Rolv Møll of Norway

Today – 25 June 2020 – marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. In Oslo's main street Karl Johans gate the South Korean embassy is behind the exhibition of 24 banners thanking Norway for its contribution to the war, which mainly consisted of a field hospital called Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (NORMASH) as part of the UN force. Norway also contributed with financial support, and established together with Denmark and Sweden the hospital National Medical Center.

The banner says «70th Anniversary of the Korean War Remembrance Solidarity Peace» and «Takk, Norge For Støtten under Koreakrigen 1950–53 Republikken Korea» («Thank you, Norway for the support during the Korean War 1950–53 The Republic of Korea»).

Karl Johans gate, Oslo.

Karl Johans gate, Oslo, with the University of Oslo's Law Faculty Library in the background, and further back the Royal Palace.

Photos: © 2020 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The South Korean embassy is currently hosting a photo contest were people are encouraged to send in their best photos of themselves alongside the banners. The best photos in the categories «best quality picture», «most creative picture», «pictures in special attire», «happiest or funniest picture» or «picture showing cooperation between Korean and Norway» will win a prize from the embassy. I guess I would have to make a better effort than the ones above in order to win ...

623 Norwegian men and women served in NORMASH over seven contingents. Only 2 of them working for the hospital were killed – one was shot, the other killed in a car accident. In addition two two seamen died, one by illness while the ship «Belocean» was in harbour in Pusan, the other by drowning while the ship was in harbour in Japan. But several Norwegan-born men served in the US army. One of them was Rolv Møll, who was born in Holum, Mandal in 1926 and settled in Brooklyn, New York in May 1950. He married the Norwegian-American Rosy Reiersen (Ryerson) (1924–1976) in December 1951, four months after he had joined the US army: He was sent to Korea in April 1952, serving in the 35th Infantry Regiment (25th Infantry (Tropic Lighting) Division) and was killed on the North Korean frontline in July the same year, 26 years old. He was among others awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. I wrote a piece about Rolv in Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki, back in 2017. So whenever I think about the Korean War, I think about Rolv, whose life was taken far too early while in the service of his adopted country.

Updated on Friday 26 June 2020 at 12.40 (typo corrected).

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