Australians in Vietnam.

Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by David Layne, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    Brigadier Pearson Commander of Australian Forces in Vietnam and General Ewell.


    Brigadier Pearson addresses the troops. Behind him can be seen Australian and US Officers.

    Owen likes this.
  2. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    A medic of the 1st Australian Task force administers a shot to an elderly Vietnamese man, part of the medical assistance program given to the locals about once every two months.

  3. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    10 miles south of Ben Glin Australian members of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Australian Task Force gather and stack supplies that were bought in by helicopter on the morning of 6th August 1969


    The troops sort out the supplies.


    Inside their Armoured Personnel Carrier the higher ranking members of the unit plan their days activity.

  4. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    As far as I can see it looks like Brigadier
  5. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  6. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    A very good friend did two tours with the USN and is loathe to discuss his wartime experiences. So, to you...thanks for sharing.
  7. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    Then, there's the Kiwis. Victor & Whiskey companies of 161 Battery RNZA, 173rd Airborne.
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks to DaveB for heads up on the Australian Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans.
    Just looked up Brig. Pearson.
    Here's his entry.
    Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Thanks to DaveB for heads up on the Australian Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans.
    Just looked up Brig. Pearson.
    Here's his entry.
    Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans

    Sad to say that he passed away late last year (from the Ryerson Index) -

    PEARSON, Cedric Maudsley Ingram (Sandy)

    Death notice 07NOV2012

    Aged 94 at Narrabeen

    Canberra Times 10NOV2012
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    There are over 50 photos of Sandy Pearson in Vietnam on-line at the AWM

    They were mostly taken by one guy and the copyright to them is not held by the AWM - it almost looks like the Brigadier was being stalked until I searched the collection for the photographer's name and got over 9000 hits.

    I'm guessing that he was some sort of official photographer (then why does he own the rights to the images?) or just a very enthusiatic amateur photographer........


    The photographer was Gibbons, Denis Stanley and he isn't on the nominal roll, so he must have been a civilian. One of the captions lists him as being part of the Army Public Relations office at Nui Dat.
  11. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    V & W Coys RNZIR were never part if 161 Bty RNZA. The coys were under command of and fully integrated with Aust inf bn (as the 4th & 5 coys). 161 was the third bty of the Aust Fd Regt. The main difference was that NZ rotated individuals whereas for Inf and RAA Aust rotated formed units. There were also other NZ elements in other types of units.
  12. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    (Background): 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight (Australian Army Aviation) operated Sioux helicopters in Vietnam on direct support of infantry deployed outside the Task Force base.

    There were varying degrees of operational risk and a number of aircraft were lost. By late 1971 three pilots had been killed in action, three Cessna 180, one Cessna L19 (Bird-dog), a Pilatus Porter, eight Bell Sioux and one Bell Kiowa had been destroyed by enemy action and 14 fixed wing and 20 rotary wing hit by ground fire.

    Beginning in 1971 the Australian force was gradually withdrawn from the theatre with most of the Flight departing during December 1971. The last members moved out in March 1972 to return to RAAF Amberley (& Oakey field).


    A recent request on FB was for information on the death of a Cpl Laurence Roland WOOD 215186 RAEME in May 1972

    After a fair bit of investigation by myself and others we located photos of his grave marker in the town of Canowindra NSW. A further request identified that there should be a memorial for his death - which has been located at Oakey army base in QLD where he died in an aircraft accident.

    Searching for information on his death has been hindered by a wide variety of errors on numerous sites. His date of death is officially recorded as the 30th of May 1972 but his grave states 29 May 1972 and one website shows 30th of March 1972

    That site also showed his surname as Woods instead of Wood but it did show his unit at the time of his death as 5 Base Workshop Battalion Oakey, QLD and that he died in an Aircraft maintenance accident (

    His first name threw up some challenges with it appearing as Laurence / Laurance / Lawrence / Lawrance / Laurie - the final one from here:

    He is mentioned in that article a couple of times doing his job and then a footnote on his death "This was Laurie Wood’s second tour of Vietnam. His first was as a 1 RAR Section Commander during 1965- 66, before he transferred to RAEME. Tragically, Cpl Laurie Wood lost his life as a consequence of a helicopter crash at Oakey during May 1972" (the only possible helicopter loss I could find on the ADF aircraft serials site is Sioux A1-648 - which was written off with no further details in May 1972)

    It turned out that the statements "died in an Aircraft maintenance accident" & "lost his life as a consequence of a helicopter crash" are both technically correct. I reached out to some old Army aviation types to discover that the incident in question was "a ground run that went wrong".

    It appears that while in Vietnam a dangerous aircraft servicing practice had commenced due to time constraints and urgent priorities to get aircraft back in the air as quickly as possible. Qualified Techs could perform ground runs, and Helicopters should have been chained down on a purpose made pad.

    Due to operational urgency they found that if a certain number of people stood on the skids, the old Sioux didn't have the power to do much. Upon their return to Australia some people would continue to use the overload of people rather than the chains. On this occasion something went wrong and the helicopter moved and it went bad from there.

    There was an "explosion" due to a gust of wind momentarily lifting the aircraft while it was ground running then landing at an angle. After this incident only qualified pilots were allowed to do Helicopter Ground Runs - on tie-down pads out on the Tarmac.

    A newspaper report also identifies as being injured: JORDAN, James Stuart 16082 / ROSS, James William 216798 - according to the Vietnam nominal roll they were both RAEME and also served with 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight in Vietnam

    I was informed that although there was no memorial to the incident on the base that a room in the Junior Ranks (ORs) club (the Frank McNamara VC club) had been named the Laurie Wood room in his honour. There was a picture and plaque of Laurie Wood on display but it appears that they are no longer to be found in the old canteen area - the building is now occupied by civilian support agencies.

    However, the open air chapel at Oakey has a plaque in his honour along with all other Army Aviation related deaths.

    (PS - I am only really posting this all here in case someone searches for info on this incident again one day and so they don't have to go down as many blind alleys as I did)

    An extract from the newspapers of the time is attached, along with photos of Laurie plus his grave & memorial plaque.

    Attached Files:

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  13. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    I have this slide of a land rover with SAC on the grill taken in Vietnam, i think it might be an Australian unit.

    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  14. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Chances are that if it is a Land Rover in Vn then it is most likely Australian.

    That looks like the variant with the cut down windscreen and recoilless rifle. But I am only seeing a small image on my mobile phone so I could be wrong.

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