House of Representatives 24/11/2021
Mr KHALIL (Wills) (13:39): I honour the life of Thomas Conlon Parkinson, a constituent of mine in the electorate of Wills. Tom Parkinson passed away on 23 August this year. In 1951, at just 18 years old, Tom signed up to serve in the Korean War. Tom was sent to Korea as part of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment with the Australian Army, serving as a private and machine gunner between 1952 and 1953. His battalion endured harsh conditions, living in cold, wet trenches, and he was forced to sleep during the day due to constant shelling. On one occasion, the shelling of a road Tom was working on caused a truck to roll, trapping him underneath. Initially they feared there was paralysis, but fortunately Tom recovered and rejoined his unit.
Of course, like for so many veterans, the physical injuries of war were just one part of the story. Tom was very open about the toll of war on him and his fellow veterans. This drove him to work as president of the Korea Veterans Association of Australia, which he set up, from 2017. Tom was instrumental in the construction of the Korean War Memorial in Footscray and proudly represented Australia at a number of services held in South Korea. He served as the president of the Pascoe Vale RSL in my electorate for more than a decade, until his passing, having previously served as vice president. I was fortunate enough to know Tom and recognise his service at the recent Remembrance Day service at the Pascoe Vale RSL. Vale Tom Parkinson.