The long march home
During the big wars of the last century Australian soldiers killed in action were interred in war cemeteries overseas. The cost of repatriating 100,000 plus killed in WW1 and WW2 would have been prohibitive so the government policy remained as interment overseas. The soldiers were buried with their mates close to where they fell. During the Vietnam War when soldiers started being killed this protocol was still in place and soldiers were interred in War Cemetrys in SEA, notably Terendak, Malaysia. In May 1968 everything changed. A National Serviceman, Private Noack, was killed and when his father was told he would be interred overseas he demanded he be brought back home. The Government complied but over the course of the war 32 soldiers were interred at Terendak Malaysia and one, Warrant Officer Conway, the first Aussie killed in Vietnam, was interred at Kranji, Singapore. Up until 1966 Next of Kin were told they would even have to pay 500 Pounds to have their sons repatriated. An uncaring and unfeeling attitude by a government having trouble catching up with the times. After this date all of our mates killed were repatriated. As a Infantry Sgt in 7RAR in Holsworthy NSW I led many a Burial Party for diggers of our sister Battalion, 5RAR. Bring them Home became a movement started by Jim Bourke who, against all odds, managed to locate all our MIAs and bring them home. Developing from that various RSLs including the Northern Territory branch and other veteran organizations started agitating for the repatriation of those guys buried at Terendak and Kranji. It has finally happened. One of those coming home is Private Norman George Allen, a member of my Battalion, 7RAR, who was Killed in Action on 10 November, 1967 Welcome home Norm. A full list of those coming home can be read here
The first Nasho killed in Vietnam was Errol Noack.
He was killed in a friendly fire incident on 24th May 1966.
His biography is here – http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/noack-errol-wayne-11249
He was raised by his father.
When Noack’s father heard that he would be interred overseas, he told the Minister for the Army at the time (Malcolm Fraser) “You sent him over there – you bring him back”.
His body was repatriated, and his military funeral took place in Adelaide on June 1st 1966.
Thank you for your article. George (Norman George Allen) was a dear friend of mine and my brothers best friend. We were honoured to be at the repatriation and reinterment ceremonies last week as Georges representatives when no relatives could be traced. It was a very moving and emotional two days for us, his friends. Anyway, he is home at last! The services were very well done, and a credit to the young soldiers who took part. May George rest in peace in home territory!
Last Friday, 10th June 2016, I attended the re interment of Lt David Brian in Brisbane. David was the first graduate of OCS to be killed while on active service. That occurred on 5th March 1964 while on anti CT operations on the Thai-Malay border while he was a Pl Comd in D Coy 3 RAR. The service was a solemn and dignified occasion, and as well as myself and my wife, there were many others attending, including one of the retired officers who was also a Pl Comd in D Coy 3 RAR and another who was the 2IC of D Coy 3 RAR at that time. The event was well publicised on the site of the 3 RAR Association and the RAR Association, and it was noted that not a lot of soldiers from that tour of Malaysia were present, but guess from reading obits over the years on the various RAR sites, there are few of us left it seems, and as said on other posts, it was so good to see another soldier returned home and placed close to his loved ones.
Ex 7RAR vet http://www.theaustralian.com.au/federal-election-2016/federal-eection-2016-windsor-and-exmate-in-vietnam-service-row/news-story/a827bab5f7f2ad26d918e65f07c01cb5
Saw that but didn’t know he was one of ours.
4 Pl B Coy 2nd Tour
Typical of Windsor, would do anything to promote himself, then apologise when he gets found out. Slimy bastard.
Windsor has shown the courage and grace to apologise. Good to see – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-22/tony-windsor-says-sorry-to-kerry-schofield-for-war-comment/7535054
I wonder if we’ll ever see the same from any politician (past or present) for sending conscripts to Vietnam in the first place?
I won’t hold my breath……
Apology? Courage? Grace? http://www.2gb.com/article/ray-hadley-tony-windsor%E2%80%99s-disgrace
There are a lot of us that would like to see you try…..