By Mal Lynch
At dusk on August 18, the Forest Lake & Districts RSL Sub-Branch commemorated Vietnam Veterans Day at the Chapel in the Wacol Precinct with prayers by Warren Mackenzie. Returned veterans of the club joined with the President and members, dignitaries and guests. Jimboomba & Districts Cadets mounted the guard. The Last Post was performed by bugler Greg Jones.
Hon Milton Dick MP, Federal Member for Oxley and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Cr Charles Strunk, Councillor for Forest Lake Ward, representatives from RSL Queensland and others laid wreaths during the ceremony.
The date recognises the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. It also coincides with a significant action by Australian troops in a rubber plantation at Long Tan. Led by Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Harry Smith SG MC, Officer Commanding Delta Company, Royal Australian Regiment, they suffered 18 casualties against overwhelming odds. It is fitting to mention that Harry Smith passed away at the Sunshine Coast on 20 August 2023 just two days after this ceremony.
Approximately 18 members of the club are returned veterans of the Vietnam War.
Aftermath: A group of former serving expats who reside in Vung Tau took on the task of assisting local folk following a typhoon that passed through the area in 2006. In 2010 they formed the Vung Tau Veterans and Friends Children’s Fund (VTVFCF.org) to formalise needed aid to the community.
Their completed projects include two primary schools, three kindergartens, 33 houses for poor families and other community projects.
The club is preparing for Remembrance Day and will be selling badges at Richlands and Forest Lake Shopping Centres in the lead up to the event. Please stop and chat with our sellers. We look forward to your participation at the Forest Lake Amphitheatre on 11 November.
Australian War Memorial
Vung Tau Veterans and Friends Children’s Fund
Photos by Mal Lynch.