Alfred Mattern en Corée, 1952. © Bartemes
Registration Nr.:    08088
Birthday:    09.11.1930, in Bonn (Germany)
Father:    Jacques MATTERN
Mother:    Cathérine MEISTER
Service entry:    10.03.1949
Contingent:    2nd
Ranks:    Soldat de 2e Classe


Alfred was conscripted on 10 March 1949. First, he was attached to the medical staff of the Corps de la Garde before joining the second contingent on 4 February 1952. Besides his status as a soldier, Alfred was also known for his talents as a magician, which he regularly displayed on stage. His nickname “Rex”, initially his stage name, stuck to him for the rest of the Korean deployment. In 1952, he published a column in the Luxembourgish newspaper Lëtzebuerger Journal  describing the soldiers’ wartime experiences in Korea. Focussing on the feelings of fear, courage, determination and homesickness, Alfred also highlighted valuable aspects of a soldier’s life such as camaraderie and brotherhood. 

Furthermore, he wrote the so-called “Korea Song”, using the melody of the famous British WWII-song “We are going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line”. From composer over magician to writer, it is safe to say that Alfred was a talented artist in a wide spectrum of fields.

Following his return from the Korean battlefield, Alfred founded his own dancing group, having several gigs in theaters in Luxembourg. A few years later, Alfred decided to move to Switzerland, where he met his future wife.

"[…] Nein, wir sind nicht gekommen um zu töten! Wir sind gekommen um zu wehren, unserem Lande das zu ersparen, was erst vor Jahren über es hinweggegangen ist – Krieg!“

Clipping from "Luxemburger in Korea" - September 1952. © Letzebuerger Journal