Jill's quest to find the remains of her war hero father 65 years after he was listed as Missing in Action

Penshurst resident Jill Talty is to honour the memory of her father, WWII and Korean War pilot, Squadron Leader Fred Lawrenson, who was shot down over North Korea 66 years ago and is still officially listed as Missing in Action.

Squadron Leader Frederick Lawrenson as shot down on Christmas Eve, 1952, aged 31. He left behind his widow, Yvonne and daughter Jill. His remains have never been found.

He is one of 43 Australian service personnel listed as Missing In Action (MIA) from the Korean conflict, often called the forgotten war.

Although she has no memory of him, Mrs Talty she will speak about her father's legacy at this year's Anzac Commemoration Sunday service at St Mark's Anglican Church, South Hurstville.

The Australian Government started a Korean War Project in 2015 to help the families of the Australian MIAs identify their remains and bring them home.

 Many remains were previously found but with modern DNA processing, identification has improved.

Fred Lawrenson was born In Carlton in 1921 and was a member of the Cronulla Life Saving Club. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1941.

He was hit by enemy fire flying a Kitty Hawk over Venice in December, 1944 and although injured in the face and arm he flew on and completed his mission. He was awarded the Distinguished Fly Cross (DFC) and mentioned in dispatches.

After WWII, he remained with the Air Force and was Chief Flying Instructor for all the pilots proceeding to Korea with the 77 Squadron. For this, he received the Air Force Cross (AFC).

He was shot down while leading four Meteors over North Korea on an armed reconnaissance mission.

"As an individual I'm not optimistic that his remains will be found as he was shot down over North Korea," Mrs Talty said.

"They have been pinpointed where the crash sites were, primarily in North Korea and in No Man's Land along the 38th parallel.

"The North and South Koreans have said the landmines will be removed from No Man's Land so that the MIAs remains can be searched for. It is happening now. 

"My father was very much a positive experience in my upbringing. We have a memorial to him at Woronora cemetery. Mum didn't remarry and put her energy into bringing me up."

Yvonne Lowrenson died in 2017 aged 89 and her ashes are near her husband's memorial at Woronora.

"I'm committed to identifying remains of MIAs and bringing them home," Mrs Talty said.

  • The service will be held on Sunday, April 14, at St Mark's Anglican Church, South Hurstville, at 2pm.

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