W3 Company - News


W3 Coy 40th Anniversary Reunion Christchurch

Friday 19 to Monday 22 November 2010     want to visit Dave Wright's grave..?  

programme, attendance, and registration detail at this link
Registrations officially close 6 October 2010

link to more news beginning June 2010 - news archive

40-years ago483256 Pte John Gurnick RNZIR - died of wounds 29 May 1970 Phuoc Tuy Province Vietnam:  29 May 1970 - This day 40-years ago at 1010H at YS328656 the lead section of 3Pl suffered a booby trap incident causing the death of Pte John Gurnick and the wounding of Pte Chris Kennedy.  While moving along the side of a hill above a suspected VC camp site the cover scout tripped a wire which pulled two CHICOM grenaPte Kennedy in 1AFH following his wounding on 29 Maydes down out of a tree.  The explosion critically wounded cover scout John Gurnick and injured lead scout Chris Kennedy [who would have been partly protected by his back pack].  While both were evacuated by DUSTOFF helicopter the evacuation was not quick enough for John Gurnick who died on the helicopter.

483256 Pte John Gurnick RNZIR - died of wounds 29 May 1970 Phuoc Tuy Province Vietnam

Read the full timeline article for May 1970 at this link.

Pte Kennedy in 1AFH following his wounding on 29 May

Radio Chatter - webmaster [23 May 2010]Len Tallentire Mosgiel RSA ANZAC Day 2010 [ODT Apr 29 10]
the following radio transmissions about the reunion have been logged at c/s 50:

CSM was first to register for the Reunion - within an hour of the newsletter being emailed and posted on-line.      

Added email address for Terry Lynch 1Pl:
Purpose_: W3 Email Contact Form
veterans_name_: Terry Lynch
email_address_: lynchmob-terry-marie@gmx.com
offer_comment_: look forward to seeing you all at the reunion

During his recent South Island holiday Sunray spotted this photo of Len Tallentire taken in the Mosgiel RSA on ANZAC Day [photo from Otago Daily Times 28 April 2010].  There were several other Viet vets present including Jon Bardick and Brian Black from V5.

40th Reunion Registrations Open - Reunion Chair [22 May 2010]

A webpage for Reunion matters has been established here - please check it out regularly
Registrations officially close 6 October 2010

40-years ago:  22 May 1970 - This day 40-years ago 1PL assaulted a bunker system in the Nui Thi Vai hills.  For 2RAR/NZ ANZAC it was their first ANZAC casualty, Bill Teller being wounded by an RPG explosion.  It was ultimately to lead to the first decorations awarded to W3 – MID’s for both Pte Bill Teller and Lt Bill Blair.

Read the full timeline article for May 1970 at this link.

40-years ago:  the Timeline historical series for May 1970 - webmaster [1 May 2010]
40-years ago today W Coy were in Nui Dat lines preparing to change battalion command to 2RAR/NZ ANZAC.  In this month W Coy, now the senior sub-unit in the new ANZAC battalion, were to make the battalions first contact, inflict their first VC KIA, and lose their first unit soldier to enemy action.  Read the timeline article for May 1970 at this link.

comments, stories and corrections are all welcome - make an effort and send them here

Reunion Committee programme - Bruce Young [27 April 2010]
The reunion committee expects to meet next week to confirm reunion detail, by mid-May the final structure to the reunion will be announced and registrations of interest in attendance will be requested.  The website will be the main source of information.

CO 2/1 RNZIR has confirmed that 2/1 RNZIR will parade the Regimental Colour at the Formal Dining In on the Saturday night, expect dress to be collar and tie in keeping with the occasion.  Accommodation and events will be centred on the Latimer Lodge hotel.  Arrive Friday 19 November and plan to depart Sunday night or Monday.

More next month but keep the emails and questions coming in so we know what we have to deal with.

Radio Chatter - webmaster [27 April 2010]
the following radio transmissions about the reunion have been logged at c/s 50:

Craig Cocker:  Just a note to confirm that I will be at the reunion in Nov.  I'm planning to arrive in Christchurch on Fri and leave on Mon, so I should be able to catch the whole programme.  A couple of questions:
• I'd be grateful if you would give me a steer on accommodation options near the centre of the reunion - I'm assuming this will be the central City area, but if it isn't, then please let me know. I don't want to bother with a rental car if I can avoid it. I'll make any bookings of course, but grateful for a few recommendations.
• What will be the rig for the dinner night? Is black tie with miniatures appropriate, or is it sandshoes and sarongs? (What are YOU wearing?) Do we need our medals for any other event?

I ran into Les Nissen at the ANZAC Day march in the City here and over a beer I told him about the reunion - he was unaware of it but said that he'd look up the website and that he is very keen to be there if he can make it.  He's well, and sends his regards.  Looking forward to hearing from you in due course, and seeing you again in Christchurch. 
Best Regards,  Craig

Mike Morrison:  See on our website you want our email address.  Mine is lorna21@infogen.net.xx. [actually .nz]
For info me and wife will be attending.  When will you guys down there be letting us know about accommodation details.  Us people that live in the sunny part of NZ and travelling by car need plenty of time to get good deal on ferry.  Jim Mitchell (Coy Medic) who resides in Sydney his email is mitchmob@unwired.com.xx [actually .au]

Regards  Mike Morrison, New Plymouth (which happens to be best city in world for population between 20k and 75k).

Deborah Mullen:  Hi!  Just to let you know the song Robert Mullen (gannets son) wrote for the Vets is now being recorded on to CD and we would like to have it available for sale at the W3 reunion in Christchurch.  Robert is at present at Vision College in Hamilton doing his diploma in contemporary music and it is in their studio that it is being recorded.  The CD will NOT be available until the Christchurch reunion.  The cost will be minimal, enough to cover costs and any profit from the CD if any, it is hoped will be donated to the W3 fund or to a charitable organisation i.e. orphanage in Vietnam.
Well that's it for now see you in November.  Debbie Mullen

From: Bruce Young   Hi Debbie,  The more the merrier, I look forward to seeing its release at the reunion..!  I will mention it on the website ASAP as an item of interest - see you and Gannet in November [Robert attending as well..?] Cheers  Bruce

Debbie Mullen: Yes Robert will be there with his fiancée.  He will have to leave Sunday as his exams start on the 22nd Nov.  Regards Debbie.

Peter Anderson:  Just a note to let you know that Roy Reddy is now living at a small place in South Canterbury called Cricklewood on the Timaru to Fairlie highway.  He moved down from Morrinsville about two months ago, he has daughters living down this way.  Dick Bennett and I caught up with him at the ANZAC Day service in Timaru.  Also caught up with Doc Welsh in Timaru and he went down to Wrighties grave in Esk Valley.  There were about nine of us there including the bugler and WO1 Kevin Collins from 2 Cants.  Doc said he would pass on the November reunion info to Paul Henderson when he was in Waimate at the citizens service - Regards  Andy

Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day - EVSA [27 April 2010]
An Invitation to Vietnam Veterans and their families - Saturday 5 June 2010
0930hrs - Assemble at Manurewa RSA Club Auckland
1000hrs - Remembrance Ceremony at Cenotaph Great South Road Manurewa
1100hrs - EVSA General Meeting Manurewa RSA Club
1230hrs - Lunch (Kindly supplied by Manurewa RSA)
1330hrs - Fellowship and local tours for visitors
1800 for Dinner Manurewa RSA Club 1830hrs Cost $40 per head

RSVP By Friday 14 May to assist with catering
Email: nzevsa@xtra.co.nz or Ph Carol 0272243539 to advise if you are attending the GM and Lunch
Send payment for Dinner (by 14 May) to EVSA, PO Box 72 260, Papakura 2244, Auckland
ANZAC Day 1970 - We will Remember Them [25 April 2010]Pte David Wright RNZIR

This ANZAC dedication is copied from the actual programme for the ANZAC Day dawn service held by 6RAR/NZ ANZAC Battalion in NUI DAT lines South Vietnam 40-years ago today: about 1000 Australian and New Zealand veterans paraded to remember the 28 6RAR/NZ and support arms officers and men who died during the unit's 2nd tour of duty. 

We Will Remember Them..!   

click here for the full 1970 programme.  click here for the website Remembrance page



Pte John Gurnick RNZIR







Pte Tom Cooper RNZIR



ANZAC Day Duties and Visit to Christchurch by Brig Torrance - webmaster [20 April 2010]
Brig and Zilla Torrance are planning to be at the Papanui RSA Christchurch on 25 April for the 10AM civic service.
Bob Upton is the official speaker at the Halswell civic service and later at Rannerdale Home.
Bill Blair is the official speaker at the Reefton civic service on the West Coast.
Bruce Young is the official speaker at the Little River civic service on Banks Peninsula
SITREP Doug [Flowers] Lewis mortars- Mark Binning [19 April 2010] accompanied by Dave Condon and their wives

see Noticas below - 7 March.  Doug has stopped having chemotherapy because two of the cancer growths on his lungs have continued to grow while undergoing the treatment.  The larger of the cancer growths has stopped growing and is stable, the smaller ones continue to grow.  While the smaller continue to grow under the Chemo treatment there is no point continuing.  Meantime he has to build his body up and he and his oncologist are optimistic the cancers will be removed by surgery.  His wife Annie mentioned to me that he was looking a lot better than he had been earlier in the year.  So the signs are looking good, he is in very good spirits and has tremendous support from his family.  He very much appreciated and enjoyed our visit and was proud to show us his garden and shell collection (his interests are diverse and surprising).  He and Annie have, apparently (if I understood right), booked their flights to Christchurch for the reunion and following that are going to travel the South Island by camper.  I imagine Doug’s interest in rocks and geology will certainly be satisfied, especially on the West Coast.

Noticas Fatal - 711777 Cpl Edward Thompson Coy HQ - webmaster [1 April 2010]
Buttons THOMPSON ex 1NZ Regiment 1957-59 Malaya, 1RNZIR Malaysia/Borneo, W3 SVN, passed away peacefully at Glengarry House, Wairoa, today 1 April 2010.

Buttons will lie at the Taihoa Marae, Wairoa, where his funeral service will be held on Saturday 3 April 2010 at 1200hrs, followed by private cremation.

From Evan Torrance:  My own records show that 'Buttons' was held against the "storeman" appointment on Coy HQ but this was not where he was employed.  I remember him as a quiet and reserved soldier who kept to himself and never caused any problems.  I looked at his obituary in the Hawkes Bay Today newspaper and rang the undertaker to get details of the "grand nieces" mentioned.  Eventually I spoke to Rona Hook, a niece, who said that she was Edward's prime caregiver and that she would look at giving us a brief resume of Edward's life post Army and the tangi held in Wairoa.  She said that Edward had never married, was 76 years old, had doted on his nieces, and was given an appropriate farewell attended by about seven local ex military folk. She was not able to name any of them so no follow up was possible.  So hopefully we will hear from her - she does not have internet access - when she gets along to the local library to use their computer!

Send tributes here

40-years ago:  the Timeline historical series for April 1970 - webmaster [1 April 2010]
40-years ago today W3 Coy continued operations from Horseshoe Hill, with 2Pl guarding the mine clearing team NDP.  Mid-month the Company rejoined 6RAR/NZ on their final operation and faced a tense encounter with an unfriendly AV-10 Bronco.  On ANZAC Day W3 paraded as an integral part of the only existing ANZAC battalion, in remembrance of former ANZAC soldiers - read the timeline article for April 1970 at this link.

comments, stories and corrections are all welcome - make an effort and send them here

We laid John Mortimer to rest today - Wayne Lindsay [30 January 2010]
What a great turnout from Brisbane and Gold Coast Kiwi Vietnam Veterans - 15 attended!  It was an excellent service which did John proud.  Throughout the service the two words Trust and Loyalty came through.  These were the exact same sentiments that came through from all the condolence emails I had received to pass on to the family.  The family were rapt in the acknowledgement of John's service to NZ by all the Veterans who attended.

                                                                      Rest in Peace John

I attended John Mortimer's (W3) funeral today at (Stapyleton) Beenleigh.  It went off well and there was a message from both platoon commanders from Vietnam that praised him as a skilful soldier.  There were about 10 Kiwi Vietnam Veterans in attendance and the family praised those who ensured that his last few weeks in hospital were much brighter.  Wayne Lindsay our local Kiwi EVSA rep led the soldiers part of the service and did a great job.
Cheers Bruce (Baggy) Weir V3

Purpose_: W3 Email Contact Form - Frank Ryan [26 March 2010]

veterans_name_: Frank Ryan

email_address_: frank.ryan50@gmail.com

offer_comment_: Reading through the web site has bought back some great memories. I will make every endeavour to make the reunion in Christchurch.

Noticas Fatal - 777186 Pte Anthony John Mortimer 1Pl - webmaster [25 March 2010]
Wayne Lindsay advises that John Mortimer passed away early morning 22 March 2010 in Brisbane. 

Funeral Details:  10 am Tuesday 30 March 2010 ECO Memorial Park, Quinns Hill Road West (off Jacobs Well Rd) Stapyleton - (near Yatala) Qld 4207

Send tributes here, and to Wayne who will be doing the eulogy.    read eulogy here

From Jim Cutler:  John was a hard-working chap even for his slight build, and he did go about his job with a professional attitude.  If my memory serves me correctly, John was seldom seen without a friendly smile on his face – a bit of a morale booster!!  He also had a keen sense of humour.  Denis King and Bill Blair will probably confirm that John was one of the least likely members of One Platoon, indeed the whole of W3 Coy, to be a “disciplinary problem” – I do not recall ever having to check John for anything.  “Trust”: The jobs of Commanders are made easier when those under them can be trusted to get on and get the work done.  One could always be confident that if John was given a task it would be completed to the very best of his ability.  John Mortimer would be one of the better soldiers I had the privilege to serve with.  May he rest in peace.

From Denis King:  Dear Wayne, thank you for stepping up and visiting John whilst he was hospitalised.  I am sad that he has passed away and in my view before his time.  As his former Pl Sgt during training in Malaya and ops in SVN John was a soldier who made life easy for his commanders because of his attitude to life and his professional dedication to doing the business properly as a infantry soldier.  A good bloke who related well to his peers and he was someone who was reliable and steadfast and would accept any task or extra duty without complaint.

From David Gundersen:  John, commonly known to his peers as "Mort" was a hard working and loyal soldier.  John was also a very good cricketer.  Prior to being deployed to SVN, as part of the 28th Commonwealth Brigade Sports week at Terendak Camp, Malaysia, John was a member of the winning cricket team from B Company 1 RNZIR later to become W3.  For a man of his size he could bowl at a very rapid pace.  I was part of the same section as John and shared many times with him.  His best mate at the time was "Shorty Vinall" and those two were both of the same statue and inseparable.  Rest In Peace John.

Sitrep Anthony John Mortimer 1Pl - Wayne Lindsay W1 [19 March 2010]
I have been visiting John every couple of days and I am sad to report that his condition has deteriorated considerably.  We are probably looking at days only before he passes away.  He is on the highest dosage of oxygen that they can deliver, has a morphine pump running continuously, and this morning they inserted a catheter as it is now too dangerous for 2 attendants to assist him to the toilet.  John is unable to swallow and they are not going to put him on oral food. They are waiting for him to catch an infection which will assist in his passing.

John said to me today "Mate, I have had enough of this, I just want to go as quickly as possible".
Kind Regards to all his W3 buddies - Wayne Lindsay
Sitrep Anthony John Mortimer 1Pl - Wayne Lindsay W1 [10 March 2010]
I went and saw John yesterday and passed on all the email messages I had printed out and he was really happy and joking.  However this morning John had a turn for the worst and is in a pretty bad state.  Frank Heveldt was visiting him at the time.  The doctors have taken him off all medication that will prolong his life (antibiotics etc.) and he is now surviving simply on oxygen and morphine.  The prognosis is that he may rally after this setback, but he won't be as well as he appeared yesterday.  Longer term is that he could go tomorrow or in 2 weeks time, but his future is bleak.  John has accepted his situation and yesterday he requested me to organise the military aspects of his funeral and asked me to do the eulogy.  John is ready to go and has signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form.

Frank Heveldt (V6), Brad Stevenson (V6) and myself are rotating visiting John on a daily basis.  His wife says that after we have left, he is in a lot better spirits than usual and he looks forward to our visits.  I will be visiting John again tomorrow morning and will email an update on today's setback.  Regards - Wayne Lindsay
Piece of Trivia - webmaster [8 March 2010]

Have enough light and power sockets in your home..? 

You once shared one per tent.

And did anyone actually see a washing machine in Nui Dat..?

Doug Lewis Tribute08Noticas Doug [Flowers] Lewis mortars- webmaster [7 March 2010]

Doug [location Gisborne] is having treatment for cancer of the bowel liver and lung, on chemotherapy at present with an operation on the liver scheduled soon.  He is in good spirits and looking forward to the November 2010 W3 reunion. 

His family say he is enjoying calls from his mates [but not at night...], so you can either email him or email me for his phone number if you don't already have it.

Noticas Anthony John Mortimer 1Pl - Wayne Lindsay W1 [2 March 2010]
Anthony John Mortimer (John) is terminally ill and in palliative care at Logan Hospital, south of Brisbane.
Should any of his fellow vets want me to pass on their best wishes please reply to me direct and I will do so.

Wayne Lindsay sliderman1@gmail.com
Press and other official media releases - webmaster [2 March 2010]

Media Statement - War pensions and allowances to increase - Hon Judith Collins, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs
This was released by the Minister's Office 1 March 2010.

All War Pensions and Allowances available to veterans will increase from 1 April as part of the annual cost of living adjustment, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Judith Collins said today.  The increase of 1.96 per cent equates to the increase in the cost of living for the year to December 2009, as measured by the Consumers Price Index (CPI).  It recognises that the increased cost of living for veterans is a concern.

“Veterans who rely on their pension and allowances to help fund healthcare and other necessities shouldn’t be disadvantaged by the increased cost of living,” Ms Collins said.

Examples of the increases are:
•A veteran on a 100 per cent War Disablement Pension will now receive a tax free payment of $191.86 per week.
•A Surviving Spouse’s Pension will increase to $141.52 per week, tax free.

The adjustment of War Pensions and Allowances is an annual occurrence.

Cancellation of Legacy2010 - Chris Mullane [February 2010]
Background. You will be aware that Legacy2010 [also advertised as Reunion 2010 and planned for Queens Birthday weekend 4-6 June 2010 in Wellington] was being developed as a group of reunions for various collectives of New Zealand veterans and those who have served from World War II to the present.  The purpose of holding these reunions at the same place and time was to publicly emphasize the value of service and acknowledge the contribution to New Zealand of those who have served and their families.  The concept was for each group to hold its own reunion in Wellington over Queens Birthday weekend 2010 and to also participate in various, centrally organized public activities involving all reunion groups.  Veteran associations and ex-service organizations had been briefed on the Legacy2010 project at various stages.
NZ Defence Force Medal for Service. One of the key ingredients of Legacy2010 was to be presentation of the proposed NZ Defence Force Medal for Service.  This is of particular interest to all whose service has not been formerly recognized.  It is also a Government initiative that deserves nationwide status and publicity.  The expectation of receiving the Medal has played a key role in the interest being shown in Legacy2010 by significant numbers of those who have served since World War II.  A very wide range of engagements and activities have taken place in the 65 years since the end of WWII and, in recognizing the importance of military service to New Zealand, it is essential to ensure that former, currently-serving and future service personnel are treated fairly and equitably.  We appreciate that the matter is complicated, and because there will not be another opportunity it is important to get things right the first time around.  All of this calls for the greatest care to be taken and the government is in the process of considering the options forwarded last year by the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group, which were compiled after the consultation process was completed.
Cancellation of the Legacy2010 Event. We have recently received official confirmation that the Medal for Service will not be available in time for presentation during Queens Birthday weekend 2010.  Therefore, the Legacy2010 event has been cancelled and those who have already registered to attend will be refunded their Registration Fees.  When more information is available regarding the Medal for Service, an alternative event will need to be considered at which to launch the Medal and enhance public understanding and appreciation of military service to New Zealand.

Yours faithfully, Chris Mullane Chairman Legacy2010

40-years ago:  the Timeline historical series for March 1970 - webmaster [1 March 2010]
40-years ago today W3 Coy continued operations from Horseshoe Hill, but mainly worked with the ARVN sub-units who arrived for operational experience.  The ARVN training period finished with a combined operation [Op RAVEN] from 25 to 30 March 1970.  3Pl was detached back to 6RAR/NZ control on 1 until 5 March 1970 - read the timeline article for March 1970 at this link.

comments, stories and corrections are all welcome - make an effort and send them here

Feedback on the Timeline series - Peter Anderson [slightly edited and abridged - Ed]
I think the “Timeline” and “40-Years Ago” is brilliant.  I am constantly amazed at the amount of material relating to Whisky 3 that still exists after 40 years.  I know that Graeme Briscoe kept a diary during his time in Viet Nam, it was a practice that he got into pre army and kept it up.  Goodness knows where the diary is now, it would be a great day to day historical document.  Graeme Robertson 1 platoon, took a phenomenal number of photos and anyone could have had copies when we were in Singapore, I didn’t, others may have.  I wonder where Robbie is now and what happened to his photos and slides.  He was a sig in 1 platoon.  Also Rusty Naughton, also a sig took a lot of photos.

I only wish I had kept a diary, hind sight syndrome.  I believe John Hoani of 2 Platoon kept a diary, I remember talking to him about it in SVN and again at the Parade 98, I can’t remember what happened to his diary.  I say this because I am at present transcribing my father-in-law’s diaries from WW2.  They go from a week before he left Papakura until December 27 1944.  He was a POW and kept it through his Italian captivity then Germany and Polish coal mining days. I am at present transcribing his letters to his brother and his brothers letters to him that he was able to keep.

The W3 website is far and away the best NZ Viet Nam web site, it is a great pity that the other companies did not have someone to facilitate and expedite the information that is out there and going to be lost as their members pass on.  It is a great pity that more of our members (W3) are not more forthcoming with comments, opinions, photos, information, comments, diary accounts etc.  I sometimes think before I reply or send info that there are other voices out there that can contribute, it is not blowhard or BS stuff and maybe they don’t think that those long ago days are worth remembering or that they don’t have memories worth passing on to future generations.  Myself, I would hate to be regarded as someone who always wants to be in print, but it does gall me when there are no replies or contributions from others.  I see in the latest Army News that one of the things that the army is now aware of is that instead of keeping diaries or writing letters modern troopies resort to cell phones, blogs, tweets, emails etc and there is no paper trail to be kept for future generations.  Information lost is never ever regained easily.

But back to our website, the site is excellent and with the “Timeline” and “40-Years Ago” is going to be of significant military and historical value in the right now and very near future and believe me in another twenty years there will be people saying 'I wish I knew more of what Dad did in Viet Nam and what was the Kiwi role in SVN and just what was Whisky Three'.  It is great that Bob Upton is in charge of an archive for W3, all members should be co-opted to contribute because all have stories and other stuff.  I hope this isn’t boring but once again, the website is a credit and it is always great to click on “Updates” and there it is, more information, invaluable.  Regards Andy

see this blog article featuring the W3 website as an illustration of Andy's historical points

Updates on the Reunion preparation and website improvements - webmaster [6 February 2010]

Reunion:  It is clear now that the mass email message about the reunion sent earlier attracted the attention of various ISP and individual user anti-virus spam filters by mistaking the large number of email addresses as a spam attack.  This means the email would have ended up in the email spam folder rather than the Inbox.  Point to veterans - regularly check your spam email folder.  Point to webmaster - find a solution ASAP..!

Ross and Jill Dunlea have volunteered to provide seafood for the reunion, Bob Newson has a clash of dates with a family wedding and apologizes in advance, Ian Caldwell offered his services to the organising committee, Craig Cocker intends to be at the reunion, Danny Campbell replied to the email with a recipe for a 5-minute microwave chocolate cake [happy to forward recipe on request - my wife thought it pretty good], and Ben Hona intends to be at the reunion and advised a change in locstat.

The reunion has been advertised in Australia through the NZ Sub-branch newsletter, and will be on the EVSA website notice board ASAP.  The RNZRSA newspaper will also advertise the reunion but appear to only do so 6-months beforehand.

Cassandra Brooker has offered the W3 Archive stuff from her Dad's [Gary Brooker] Vietnam stash - Gary wrote a  number of stories about W3 activities so his notes may be among the papers.

Website improvement:  Check out the nominal roll pages for individual photographs beside names.  I'm short a few so would appreciate it greatly if anyone can help with a reasonable head and shoulders view of any missing people taken in SVN.  The nominal roll starts here or under People on the top menu.  Also: can someone identify the appointments  in Coy HQ of the people identified as Coy HQ..?

Duke Henry has suggested a further addition to the website for family stories post-Vietnam - more details later [need to figure out the process first..]

40-years ago:  the Timeline historical series for February 1970 - webmaster [30 January 2010]
40-years ago today W3 Coy continued operations to the west of Route 2, enjoying further success in a number of contacts with NVA or VC.  Mid month they were withdrawn for their first 48-hour recreational leave in Vung Tau and then replaced A Coy 6RAR/NZ as the garrison at the Horseshoe SE of NUI DAT and on the outskirts of DAT DO - read the timeline article for February 1970 at this link.

comments, stories and corrections are all welcome - make an effort and send them here

40-years ago:  30 Jan 70 - 1122H at YS438862 2Pl had two patrols about 200 metres away from the main ambush area.  The lead scout of Cpl Goodman's patrol contacted 2x VC moving through thick jungle, after a brief engagement at 30 metres distance both VC were WIA [BT] but fled the scene.  Cpl Goodman's patrol tracked the VC by following the blood trail [BT] while the second patrol under Sgt Heyward moved to block the VC withdrawal.  Pte David McLeod 2Pl W3 Coy, WIA 30 January 1970

At 1145H at YS434865 Cpl Goodman's patrol contacted 6x VC, and during the fire fight 2x VC were KIA, a further 2x VC WIA [poss].  The VC were identified as being from 74 NVA Arty Rocket Regt.  During the engagement three NZ were WIA, being Wright, McLeod, Ryan.  Wright and McLeod were seriously wounded and CASEVAC'd back to 1AFH at 1ALSG Vung Tau while Ryan with a more minor wound remained in the field.  After treatment at 1AFH Vung Tau McLeod and Wright were evacuated from SVN and admitted to Repatriation General Hospital, Concord Sydney.

Repatriation General Hospital, Concord was originally commissioned in 1939 as a general hospital for the Australian Army, with 2000 beds it was then the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere.  In 1947 113 Australian General Hospital became a repatriation hospital for returned servicemen under the federal jurisdiction of the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs and was renamed Repatriation General Hospital, Concord.  When a seriously wounded serviceman was evacuated from SVN he was always initially admitted to Repatriation General Hospital, Concord for assessment and further treatment.  [The hospital was transferred to state control in 1993].  Dave Wright was too unwell to immediately travel back to New Zealand and he remained at Concord for his health to improve.   Dave McLeod's time before arriving back in NZ is unclear but he and Wright were the first in W3 to be seriously wounded and unable to return to duty in SVN.  The rest of W3 paused for a reality check.

40-years ago:  27 Jan 70 - 1931H [after dark] at YS451865 1Pl initiated their ambush after trip flares close to the killing area were ignited.  No VC were sighted but the area was engaged with claymore, M60 and other small arms fire.  Artillery fire was also directed into the area.  Two M67 HE grenades were thrown into an area to one side of the track under ambush, at least one bounced off vegetation and landed back close to the section in contact.  Consequently four 1Pl soldiers were WIA with minor fragmentation wounds, they remained on duty overnight but were casevac'd the next day.  The four WIA were Teller, Davie, Caldwell RA, Naughton.  Given the lack of reaction from the VC party it could be assumed that animals may have tripped the flares.

Cpl John Barkle [the ambush commander] offered this useful piece of hindsight in his contact after-action report:  "Grenade should, if it has to be thrown be used with extreme caution, especially at night."

The four 1Pl WIA [the first in W3 Coy to be injured on duty] immediately qualified for the Vietnam Star which was presented to servicemen who were wounded or killed on duty, captured, or who had otherwise served in SVN for at least 180-days.

The platoon took no chances on this occasion: the contact after-action report noted the M60 fired 500 rounds, M16 x100, SLR x100, claymores x6 and M61 [sic] HE grenade x2.

The timeline article for January 1970 is at this link

Reunion email has failed addresses - webmaster [10 January 2010]
An email about the November reunion has been sent to all veteran and their families at the email addresses notified to the website [around 50% are known].  There have been two delivery failures - can anyone offer corrections..?
wairingiringi@xtra.co.nz   Tom Konia's email
trevorphilip@optusnet.com.au     Ginge's email
It is intended to use email for most reunion administration so having a complete and accurate list of email addresses is vital.  If YOU are part of the 50% who have not registered your email address with the webmaster please do so ASAP......?

send corrections here

40-years ago:  the Timeline historical series for January 1970 - webmaster [1 January 2010]
40-years ago today W3 Coy were enjoying Christmas Day dinner and New Year celebrations having finished Op BLUEWATER, before doing unit sports, throwing a new model hand grenade and preparing for deployment on Op NAPIER - read the timeline article for January 1970 at this link.

Comments, stories and corrections are all welcome - make an effort and send them here

link to more news from before January 2010 - news archive