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Conflicts : Vietnam War : South Australians on active service

In February 1969, Peter Scott took up an appointment as Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), which had just come back from its first tour of Vietnam. He spent two years at Woodside, South Australia, training volunteer soldiers and National Service conscripts, and in 1971 the battalion returned to Vietnam. In an interview, commissioned by the State Library for the South Australians at War Oral History Project, Peter spoke of the relationship between the regulars and the conscripts,

They (the conscripts) were accepted, and I suppose there was some feeling in some ways that perhaps they weren't going to be there very long, but I like to think that there was never any problem with having them, and I never struck any animosity between the regulars and the National Servicemen. We had a number of National Service officers who, after their basic training, or during their basic training, they were pulled out to do a six months course at the Officer Training Unit at Skyeville, and then they came to the battalion as second lieutenants. So we had a number of young officers from National Service training as well as a lot of soldiers from National Service training. And they integrated beautifully, never any problem, and we were very proud of them.

Les Thompson was a volunteer soldier who served in the Vietnam War, and he also talked about his experiences for the State Library's oral history project. Les joined the army aged 17 and, after recruit training, had further training with the School of Army Health as preparation for service in the field. From December 1970 Les had seven months' service with the 17th Construction Squadron based at Vung Tao and Nui Dat. Les talked not only about his medical service with the squadron, but also of his views of the war and its emotional and physical consequences, and his sympathy for the plight of the Vietnamese people.

South Australian nurse, Gaynor Tilley, served in Vietnam with the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service and USAF 902nd Aero Medical Evacuation Squadron, in 1967. In an account of the work of this team, Vietnam Aero Medical Evacuations, Gaynor described the emotional impact of her work as being, 'on an intense roller coaster that left us feeling quite disconnected'. The war memorial at Glenelg (officially opened in March 2001) comprises the Chorus of Stones with recordings of the voices of South Australians involved in several wars. Gaynor Tilley is one of the Vietnam veterans whose voices visitors can hear there.

Interview with Donald Martin Stewart
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Interview with Les Thompson
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Interview with Peter Scott
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Sorrow is knowledge : poetry from the Vietnam War : [ex
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Vietnam aero medical evacuations : [extracts]. Part 1 o
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Vietnam aero medical evacuations : [extracts]. Part 2 o
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Vietnam War Memorial dedication ceremony
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Vietnam, the war within : [extracts]. Part 1 of 5
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Vietnam, the war within : [extracts]. Part 2 of 5
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Vietnam, the war within : [extracts]. Part 3 of 5
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Vietnam, the war within : [extracts]. Part 4 of 5
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Vietnam, the war within : [extracts]. Part 5 of 5
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