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Full Name: Jefford Rex Watson
Rank Last Held: Gunner
Forename(s): Jefford Rex
Surname: Watson
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Serial No.: 206403
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 26 February 1928
Place of Birth: Pongaroa, Manawatu, New Zealand
Occupation before Enlistment: Driver and Fencer
Enlistment Address: Pahiatua, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: Kayforce
Embarkation Unit: Royal New Zealand Artillery
Military Awards: New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM)
Last Unit Served: Royal New Zealand Artillery, 16 Field Regiment
Place of Death: Korea
Date of Death: 18 November 1951
Age at Death: 23
Year of Death: 1951
Cause of Death: Died of disease, Manchurian fever
Cemetery Name: United Nations Cemetery, Pusan, Korea
Memorial Name: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo.
Biographical Notes:
  • Served with Kayforce 1951
  • Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton presented the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) to next of kin of New Zealanders who were killed or died in military operations since 1945 at a ceremony at Parliament 3 September 2003.
  • The New Zealand Operational Service Medal was received on his behalf by his nephew Mr Jefford Watson of Palmerston North.
Description of Image:
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo (taken in April 1999).
  • Hall of Memories WW2, Auckland War Memorial Museum, looking East (taken in April 1999)
Additional Information:
  • An article on Manchurian fever appeared in the New Zealand Herald (19 November 1951, p. 8) claiming that only one soldier (not named) in Kayforce was affected and that he was not seriously ill.
  • "Health concerns had been raised by the upsurge in cases of haemorrhagic (Songo or Manchurian) fever, which occured late in 1951. During November, thirty-one cases were reported among the Commonwealth troops. These included two members of 16 Field Regiment, Gunners J.R. Watson and D.C. Jackson, both of whom died of illness. Other victims spent months in hospital recovering." (McGibbon 1996, vol. 2, p. 240)
Further References:
Sources Used:
  • McGibbon, I.C. (1992-1996). New Zealand and the Korean War (Vols. 1-2). Auckland, N.Z.; Wellington, N.Z.: Oxford University Press in association with the Historical Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs.
  • New Zealand Defence Force. Roll of Honour. Personnel who have died on operational service since 3 September 1945. URL:
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