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Vietnam War – Battle of Long Tan, 18th/19th August 1966


Subject to Crown Copyright.

Subject to Crown copyright. Do not copy or use without approval

Rising Sun Badge 5th version 1956 brass

6 Royal Australian Regiment



A personal tribute to all Vietnam veterans whose courage and service is still neither fully recognised nor appreciated. Of them it can be truly said:


“Their Spirit ennobles us, for without Them we are lesser Men.”


George MILLIE (49B)



The Chronicle, Monday, August 21, 2006 (inter alia):


“Those who went to Vietnam to fight for their country could not have imagined the conditions they would face nor the public scorn that awaited (them) at home.

Yesterday, the role and sacrifice of Australia’s Vietnam veterans was honoured …”



“Forty years ago the men of ‘D’ Company, 6 Royal Australian Regiment, fought and defeated a 2500-strong North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force while patrolling the area of the Long Tan rubber plantation.

The ensuing battle resulted in 18 Australians killed and 24 injured, with hundreds of enemy dead.”


It is recorded that seven of those killed during this action were Toowoomba men.


The battle of Long Tan in the eyes of the Australian Vietnam veteran community has become established as the iconic event representing everything that the Vietnam War means to them. This year, 2006, is of particular significance, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the battle.


On Sunday 20th September 2006 the Toowoomba annual Vietnam veterans’ parade and commemoration was held at Mothers’ Memorial Park, the location of the War Memorial for World War 1 and World War 2, and in more recent times the memorials erected specifically for the Vietnam War and National Servicemen.


This year, in support of a good friend, Robin Jock LAMONT a Vietnam veteran, Marion and I attended the parade and very moving commemorative service. At the assembly point outside the old GPO building I happened to notice a light blue beret sporting a RAEME badge and without further ado I introduced myself to the bloke who was sheltering beneath it. Following a brief chat and an exchange of the usual light-hearted banter with Daryl JENKINS-FRY (a visitor from the State of Victoria) we, accompanied by Jeanette Lamont and Wilma Jenkins-Fry, left him and Jock in deep conversation and walked the short distance to the Memorial to await the arrival of the parade.


Daryl JENKINS-FRY (late RAEME/Australian Army Aviation) in conversation with a fellow Vietnam veteran,

Robin Jock LAMONT (late Royal Australian Signals)


The organisation of the event was somewhat marred by the ineptitude of the local ‘plod’ who were very late to arrive at the parade assembly point to provide traffic control permitting unhindered passage of the marching men to the memorial. Tired of waiting and eager to “get the show on the road”, one intrepid medalled veteran on a Harley Davidson motorcycle rode in front of the pipe band and took upon himself the difficult task of stopping the busy traffic flow.


Unofficial ‘traffic cop’ looking down the road from whence, just out of picture, the parade is marching


This photograph, taken with a telephoto lens, gives the impression that I was standing close by when in fact I was some distance up the road at the entrance to the Park. Murphy’s Law was alive and well as a car arrived on the scene and the lady driver decided to park across the entrance – needless to say, much to her annoyance, I politely moved her on.


During the seemingly interminable wait for the parade to arrive I walked around taking candid photographs of the assembled crowd, and one thing that caught my eye was the pair of gleaming boots worn by the attendant Signals RSM. He proved to be a very amiable chap and explained that the traditional spit ‘n polish method of producing a high shine went into the dustbin of history a while ago. “These days” he explained “every soldier is issued with a pair of black patent leather boots for ceremonial occasions.” His main complaint was that they were hot and uncomfortable, unlike the ‘old fashioned’ ammunition boots that we knew so well.


The RSM with his son …


… and his patent leather boots


As the parade arrived at the point where it was to perform a “right wheel” to enter the Park through the gateway, lo and behold, the police patrol car arrived on the scene – far too late to be of any practical use – and it beat a hasty retreat, presumably to the comfort of the Station literally just around the corner.


The brass plaque on the left-hand gatepost… (the Queen is, of course, Victoria ergo 2nd Boer War 1899-1901)


… and on the right-hand gatepost


At last, following a considerable delay in the programme, the pipe band led the marching column into the Park, halted, the RSM gave the order “fall out” and the men assembled behind the seated guests facing the memorial.


Toowoomba Municipal Pipes and Drums leading the column


Bringing up the rear


The ceremony was initiated by Bill HILLS, the man who spends his ‘retirement’ years organising this and other similar events – the main one being the annual ANZAC Day parade – and introduced the officiating chaplain, himself a veteran of World War 2 and Vietnam. Not being one to mince words the chaplain’s remarks concerning the appalling treatment the veterans have consistently received at the hands of the Australian public in general and the Australian Government in particular prompted a hearty round of applause.


Bill HILLS, “Chief Organist”, calling the assembly to order at the commencement of the ceremony


The Chaplain …


… firing off his verbal broadside followed by a prayer


The Standard Bearer and Honour Guard …


… members of the Royal Australian Navy Cadets, Australian Army Cadets, and Royal Australian Air Force Cadets


“The Vigil” …


Army Cadet


Naval Cadet


Air Force Cadet


The ceremony was brought to its conclusion by the official laying of floral tributes around the memorial centrepiece …



The crowd dispersed, groups going their separate ways to partake of some liquid refreshment and lunch at the RSL (Returned & Services League) or the multitude of pubs and restaurants in and around Toowoomba. We did likewise and afterwards Jock Lamont and his wife Jeanette shuffled off to the special concert being held at the Empire Theatre while Marion and I returned home.


Published: 1st September 2006



Vietnam War Memorial Photos