W3 Company - 'Voices from Vietnam'

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 804520 Sergeant Denny KING, RNZIR

 1 Platoon, Whisky 3 Company 1969-70

 Getting Some Time Up

The platoon sergeant in Vietnam was the ‘old hand’, the backbone of the team.  He was the senior soldier and usually the most experienced in the platoon.  He was like the glue that held the whole thing together.  I don’t mean to boast by saying those things, but platoon commanders were often only about a year out of their respective training establishments and lacked the years of experience I had accumulated one way or another and most of the soldiers had only been in the army two or three years on average.  Whereas the platoon sergeants, like me, had done their time in the ranks, had been section commanders, and had at least ten to twelve years’ service behind them.  Most of the sergeants in Vietnam also had operational experience in Malaya and Borneo.

Sergeant Denny King’s claim to ‘old hand’ status was backed up by a service career that began in 1960 in Hokitika on New Zealand’s West Coast.  He had been a candidate for army service two years before, when he would have been due to be called up for Compulsory Military Training (CMT).  But, the second Labour Government disbanded the national service scheme as part of its election manifesto.  Denis King was born in 1940 and saw his father head off with 2NZEF for the Italian campaign in 1943.  He had a brother, Don, in the Navy and another, David, in the Territorial Force (TF) as Company Sergeant Major (CSM) of the local sub-unit in the late 1950's.  His brief experience in civilian employment just did not prove exciting enough, so he enlisted in the army's regular force as soon as he was old enough.
Within his first two years of service Denny completed his basic and corps training and an instructor’s course.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal and was a section commander in 1961-62 with with what was then known as LTCOL Les Pearce’s Battalion in Malaya. He found the training regime, which Pearce and his senior staff had modelled on General Freyberg’s World War II divisional training ideas, strenuous but rewarding
1. The unit trained non-stop.  Other units would go on leave; but the Battalion would be either in the bush working on their jungle training or participating in organised sports events.  They were fit too.  The Kiwi Battalion won every sports event going, rugby, tug ’o war, swimming…the lot.  The competition between them and their Australian and British rivals was fierce.  In Malaya the then CPL King contracted a severe illness, acne vulgaris, which was to complicate his service in South East Asia for many years.  The condition was exacerbated by carrying a heavy infantryman's pack, continual perspiration in the tropical climate, wearing wet and dirty clothing and not being able to to regularly wash the effected area.  He was repatriated in 1962 with a temporary medical downgrade.  The condition turned out to be worse than anticipated and it took him five years, until 1967, to get back up to full fitness.
1 2NZEF veterans included the Battalion 2ic and most Company Commanders, the RSM, some CSM's and platoon sergeants. A large number of veterans who had served in 'J' Force, 'K' Force and the Malayan Emergency were also placed in training and leadership appointments.

His journey back to a completely healthy state was certainly a drawn out affair.  He had to struggle to convince the authorities that he could take his place in a combat unit again.  He used his love of sport as a means to reach peak fitness and to show the Army why he should be medically regraded to operational standard.  He served as the cadre NCO in Blenheim with the 2nd Battalion (The Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast) Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment's TF Company.  Sergeant King played representative rugby for Marlborough and Combined Services in his time there.  The highlights for him were taking the field against the 1965 Springboks and the 1966 Lions.
2  After that, the Army had to upgrade him and move him out of the wilderness after five years.

2 Denny King played for the Combined Unions Marlborough – Nelson –Golden Bay – Motueka as a loose forward against these overseas teams. The Combined teams lost both games: 6 – 45 vs. the 1965 Springboks and 14 – 22 vs. the 1966 Lions.

He became a Four-Star Instructor at the Battalion Depot in Burnham in 1967-68 under the unit's Training Officer Warrant Officer Class I Roly Manning (a former member of 1NZ Regiment1961-63.  King was part of a special training team that Manning had assembled (predominantly NCOs' from 1 NZ Regiment 1961-63) to prepare soldiers and NCOs for operations overseas.  In November 1968 Sergeant King was posted back to Terendak Garrison in Malaysia with his family – he had married Jeanette, a childhood sweetheart from the Coast in 1963. They had two children by the time King was called forward to serve in Vietnam in 1969.

It was the intense training programme that the Kiwi infantry units in Burnham and Malaysia went through that best equipped Denny King to become a knowledgeable and experienced NCO.  His personal training and preparation for Vietnam was enhanced in the training units by being able to rub shoulders with veterans of the early companies that had deployed to Vietnam by the end of 1968.

I was able to benefit greatly by this contact with these experienced soldiers.  I took every opportunity to pick their brains on all kinds of subjects and down to the finest detail.  I would ask them what operational issues were different in Vietnam from what we had done in Malaya back in 1961-62.  For example, I learned that while personal weapons had to be meticulously cleaned in Vietnam, they should not be over-oiled because of the dusty conditions in the dry season.  I also discovered a shift-up in the size of operational organisation that the infantry would run in the field.  In Malaya the basic organisation was undoubtedly the section; small six to ten man patrols formed the best fighting package to take on the CT (Communist Terrorists).  We learned that, in Vietnam, the optimum size had become the platoon operating within a fully deployed company.  The contact reports and after-action summaries that we received from the units in Vietnam told us this sort of thing.  So that is how  we structured our training.

On his return to Malaysia in 1968, and during the frequent training exercises he was involved in, his acne condition returned.  He realised that he required assistance to manage the condition, and needed something to keep the pores of his skin unclogged.  Largely on his own initiative, he acquired a container of solution, similar to liquid soap, and with assistance from his radio operator, applied this regularly to the affected area.  This regular washing routine continued ion Vietnam, and was successful in keeping the condition under control.

Before he arrived in Vietnam with Whiskey 3 Company (W3), Sergeant King had reached some important decisions about his role. Because of his length of service and experience in the ways of the army, and because he had received all the training in operational skills at the tactical level, he felt that he had to accept some responsibility for leadership of those junior to him in rank and to provide unstinting support for the commanders more senior to himself.  In the platoon setting he saw himself as the glue that held it all together.  He was responsible for mixing and setting the resin that was composed of four interconnected elements:

Morale, standards and discipline

As platoon sergeant I was well placed to sense and react to the feelings and moods of the troops.   We could lay down the standards of behaviour and job performance expected of the members of the platoon, but it was up to the individual soldiers themselves to take ownership of their special role and to do it to the best of their ability.  It was not so much a matter of discipline within the platoon but one of self-discipline on the part of each person.  I did not have to do much to monitor the behaviour or performance because they knew when things were not going right and their mates certainly told them.  But I had to make sure there was back up for any individual in case he was taken out of action.  So we crossed trained all members of the sections to do each other’s jobs as well.  To keep morale, standards and discipline at high levels all we had to do was to encourage soldiers to be mature, to learn and to make every day’s performance better than the one before. 

Security of the Platoon.

On operations, especially when we were in contact with the enemy, my role was always to keep an eye on things from the rear and to watch our tail.  The platoon commander, quite rightly, was usually concerned with what was going on up front and with other things like fire support.  But I was always alert to the fact that the most dangerous time for the platoon was in the aftermath of contact with the enemy; when there was a tendency for soldiers to let their attention stray towards the sound of action rather than pay attention to their own responsibilities.  With adrenalin levels running high we were most prone to lapses in security; it was my task to ensure that those lapses did not occur.  My approach was to ensure we consolidated our position first then moved back to the normal routine gradually.  I was usually on to people all the time.  I made sure they checked their weapons, and that they were aware of the situation around them.  I would usually be in charge of conducting the sweep to secure our position after any contact.  That usually involved collecting bodies, seeing to the wounded and gathering up prisoners, captured equipment and documents.  This was a dangerous time and the platoon commander and I carefully coordinated what was going on.  Sentries had to be posted, claymore mines rearmed and every single soldier had to know what was going on.

Logistics and Administration.

If the platoon ever ran out of resources with which to fight, we were going to be defeated in battle.  It was my job to ensure that the resupply system ran like clockwork on its three to five day cycle.  So I ordered ammunition, rations, water and equipment, as they were required.  I simply consolidated the demands from the sections and sent them along to the company sergeant major (CSM) at company HQ.  I then had to distribute the supplies once they had been delivered.  I had to arrange the evacuation and replacement of manpower.  Some men would depart for and return from leave, others would need medical attention.  Then, there were things like mail, fresh rations and small luxuries (clean clothes, cigarettes, toiletries, etc) that helped keep the troops happy in the field.  Our system worked like a charm and its success was largely due to the reliability and efficiency of air transport services.  We had the freedom of the skies in Vietnam and the maintenance demand (maintdem), operational demand (opdem) and casualty evacuation (casevac) services were used to maximum effect.  It was the urgent deliveries that were most critical and the high standard of service never wavered.  If we lost a radio in a contact a helicopter would appear over the trees and a new one would be lowered onto the smoke marker.  We could not have asked for better.

Battle Second in Command (2IC).

Above all else, as platoon sergeant, I had to be ready to step in to command the platoon should anything untoward happen to the platoon commander (the boss).  I felt the weight of this responsibility greatly because, to be able to take his place effectively, I really needed to be aware of everything he thought, saw and did.  I maintained my awareness by backing him up continually; I was part of the navigation checking team so I always knew where we were.  I attended all the O (orders) groups so I knew what he had told the sections and the mortar fire controller.  After he had sited the guns and claymores in defensive positions, it was my job to check every one and to look after the detail.  The personal and professional relationship between the Lieutenant and me, the sergeant, was critical.  I was fortunate indeed to have cultivated a sound relationship with Lieutenant (LT) (Bill) Blair from the outset.  When he joined our platoon in Malaysia he accepted my request not to make any changes for a three-month period after assuming command; he looked, evaluated and decided in full consultation with me.  That was a successful process for all of us.  To his credit he delegated me certain responsibilities and kept me up to date so that I could take up the reins if required.

A Successful Mix
After the first contact that the platoon had in Vietnam, any fears that Sergeant King might have held for the capabilities of the company to which he belonged were dispelled.  The toughness of the competitive training in Malaysia and the programme of inspired self-discipline all seemed to have paid off.  The platoon’s (and W3 Company’s) efforts were rewarded in the best possible way; by the receipt of glowing praise from their Australian Commanding Officer.  His words to the W3 Company Commander during an after-action wash-up were relayed to the troops.  He had said ‘ Well done, Major. The standard of your soldiers in W3 is at the level that my soldiers achieved after six months on operations.  You have arrived at that point’.  These comments boosted the morale of No 1 Platoon and the members continued to strive for perfection.  Denny King noted some key indicators of excellence of their performance in the facts that:

  The platoon lost not one soldier killed in action throughout the tour of duty.
  Soldiers’ personal discipline in health and hygiene procedures held up well; No 1 Platoon suffered no casualties from malaria or tinea pedis infections,
  Platoon members continued to help each other out; some would volunteer to relieve their mates of sentry duty on the Nui Dat perimeter, others would share their water selflessly when supplies ran low,
  Any arguments, disagreements or unpleasantness were resolved in-house,
  There were no offences within the unit related to the use of drugs,
  There was only one accidental discharge of a weapon and that occurred off-patrol and in a base area, and
  Soldiers learned not to repeat mistakes that might endanger themselves or their mates.  (On one occasion in contact with the enemy a section member threw a grenade in the direction of the enemy in a heavily wooded area. The grenade bounced off a tree and returned to the thrower’s position wounding one soldier in the explosion. There were few, if any, grenades thrown after that.)

After seven months as platoon commander 1 Platoon, Lieutenant (LT) Blair was promoted to Captain and became W3 Coy 2ic and was replaced by LT Jim Cutler.  The outstanding leadership that Bill Blair displayed during his tenure in charge was going to make it difficult for his successor to continue at such a high level.  The platoon NCO's, realized that they still had a job to do for a further five months and they had to maintain the same level of professionalism that they had established.  They decided that they would have to work harder in their respective roles whilst LT Cutler was coming to grips with the complexities of being the boss of everything that happens in a platoon on operations!  To the credit of all concerned everyone accepted the challenge and the platoon performed well for the remainder of the tour.

At the completion of the tour of duty, W3 Company received four gallantry awards for their service in Vietnam.  That two of the four awards went to 1 Platoon seemed just reward for the members.

A Platoon Sergeant’s View of a Contact with Charlie
The middle of the afternoon was a hot, sticky time of the day in a Vietnamese jungle.  Denny King sat out of the sun under his half-shelter.  He sipped his newly brewed tea from his aluminium mug with the usual tentative kisses blown onto the rim with a bottom lip scarred from previous scolding's.  Even brewing tea had a tactical dimension to it for the ever-alert platoon sergeant; he had stirred the tea with a plastic spoon so it would not rattle on the side of the mug and break the vow of silence that the platoon maintained. The humidity did not deter nature’s creatures from their routine pursuits.  He carefully eyed a patrol of red ants marching like storm troopers up the trunk of a tree and hoped they would not mass for an attack on his cosy spot.  He had already shooed off a banded crate and a scorpion that had gatecrashed his picnic.  He was trying to complete his maintdem signal in his green field notebook.  It was a peaceful moment and he was able to reflect on the fact that after five weeks in the jungle on operations they had yet to experience any contact with the enemy.  Had they all left the area?

Mid-afternoon was not known as a time for serious engagements with the enemy.  But then, that is the fog of war in action; the enemy will turn up when least expected.  As guardian of platoon security Denny was confident that their position was safe enough from intrusion.  Preparations for the night were well advanced.  The platoon ambush had been set at the junction of two streams; Mr Blair had marked out the gun pits and support positions and Denny had followed up with his usual checks of the fine points.  The troops were keen and awake to the chance of a contact that evening.

It was at this point that things started to go wrong.  One of the platoon sentries had reported that some soldiers from Company Headquarters (attached to No 1 Platoon for the time being) had gone outside the perimeter and down the hill to fill their water bottles.  This was an absolute No! No!  The platoon commander went to fetch them back and Sergeant King quickly warned the other soldiers what was going on.  To be outside a platoon perimeter in Vietnam was extremely dangerous and some soldiers had already learned that lesson the hard way.  Things began to happen very quickly.  LT Blair had reached the spot where the errant water gatherers were and was frantically trying to attract their attention, (as quietly as possible).  However, it was too late.  To his dismay he realised three enemy soldiers, armed with AK47s were entering the water from the other bank.  The enemy had noticed the two soldiers with their water bottles and were set to open fire.  The sharp crack of rifle fire split the silence that the platoon had lived with for five weeks.  Fortunately, the fire was from 1 Platoon's sentries who had spotted the the enemy and had been tracking them for the last few minutes.  Two enemy were felled in the initial opening burst.  A third enemy soldier was hit but disappeared in the jungle near the waters edge.  Several actions happened at once.  LT Blair and his terrified water-gatherers made a dash back into the platoon harbour.  They all wondered who would shoot them first, the enemy or their own men, as they attempted to rejoin the platoon inside the safety of the perimeter cord.  Sergeant King meanwhile was endeavouring to control the platoons not insignificant fire power.  By this the time the machine guns and grenade launchers had joined with the rifles in sweeping the the platoon frontage. The bush was blue with smoke , and the bitter taste of cordite hung in the air.  Bits of foliage flew from the vegetation as bullets cut their path into the ambush zone.  This was where SGT King's experience told.  He calmed the soldiers so their firing was directed and effective.  He exerted control over those initial panicky reactions that are inevitable in a contact.  In minutes it was all over.  SGT King took command of the sweep of the ambush area.  Two bodies of Vietcong soldiers, plus their weapons an d equipment, were recovered.  A third body was discovered some days later by Australian tracker dogs following up the incident.  The platoon had undergone its first action with the enemy and had emerged safe, sound and triumphant.  Needless to say no one slept very much that night.

Out of the Line
Denny King discovered early in his tour of duty in Vietnam that his job was not done once an operation was finished and the platoon was back in Nui Dat.  To the contrary, he found that the week or so out of the line was a period of more work for him rather than less.  He found that, since the platoon commander became intensely involved in other duties that he, as the sergeant, virtually took over day-to-day command.  He held short administrative parades each morning then sent the sections away under their corporals’ directions to ready themselves for the next foray.  The No 1 Platoon routine included a complete reissue of ammunition including claymores.  Weapons were taken to the armourer for checking and adjusting while boots and clothing were also exchanged.  He had to arrange for medical inspections to ensure freedom from infection (FFI) was maintained.  Any reinforcements who had arrived had to be trained and they spent hours at a time on the range preparing their weapons and learning the drills.
One of the first events after an operation for W3 was the company barbeque.  After a shower and a change of clothing for everyone, the company assembled before a quarter-ton trailer full of ice and beer while the cooks prepared sizzling steaks on a grill.  There was much noise, joshing of those whose minor misdemeanours made headlines, sharing of jokes and songs to the standard guitar accompaniment.  Revelry might have lasted well into the night, but the next morning it was parade again and back to work.

One of the first events after an operation for W3 was the company barbeque. After a shower and and a change of clothing for everyone, the company assembled before a quarter-ton trailer full o f ice and beer while the cooks prepared sizzling steaks on a grill. There was much noise, joshing of those whose minor misdemeanours made headlines, sharing of jokes and songs to the standard guitar accompaniment. Revelry might have lasted well into the night, but the next morning it was parade again and back to work.
Occasionally there would be an extended period of leave and recreation taken at the leave centre in Vung Tau.  These were times when there would be serious mischief, if  any mischief was to occur.  The most common offence for 1 Platoon was that a soldier might be late returning to the truck; he would be charged and might have to serve a field punishment.  Lesser offences might have resulted from some form of frivolous insubordination or from over-indulgence.  Denny King recalled one such instance involving his soldiers and a senior Australian warrant officer at Vung Tau.

We arrived at the Badcoe Club down at Vung Tau.  This Aussie Warrant Officer PTI briefed the boys.  He was dressed in spotless white T-Shirt with a red band around the neck, ironed white shorts with pockets in them and sandshoes whiter than a virgin bride.  He was an arrogant s.o.b. and he did not like Kiwis.  He gave them the ‘rewles of the Pewl’ (rules of the Swimming Pool) as if they were kindergarten kids.

‘No.1. Swimmers must shower before entering the pool.
No.2. Bathers must be worn at all times.
No.3. No swimming after 1900 or before 0800.
No.4. Swimmers must not enter the pool under the influence of alcohol.
No.5. No bombing off the board or skylarking.’

I just knew, in the light of this provocative talk, that something was going to happen.  It did!  That night…very late…well, after 1900 hours, every Kiwi who came back to the Peter Badcoe Club, pissed as a chook, belly-flopped into the swimming pool, fully clothed, unshowered and swam to the other side before retiring to his bunk.  One actually bombed off the diving board, in the nude, holding a can of Fosters at midnight!  I had to turn a ‘blind’ eye to all this, because my own vision had become somewhat blurred by that time.!

So, it seems that even the strongest glue can come unstuck albeit on the rarest of occasions.  But the inability to supervise late night swimming activities probably did not come within the scope of any of the infantry courses completed by Sergeant King that were devised to prepare him for Vietnam service.  If this NCO was ever to be judged on his overall performance in his role as Platoon Sergeant 1 Platoon, W3, then the judgements would rightly have to be made by those who knew him best, his troops.  He trained them, selected them, fed them, armed them, checked their feet, and cared for them.  If they were down he encouraged them.  If they erred he corrected them.  He knew what they needed even before they did.  He had been where they were going and he had done what they were about to do.  He understood.  After all, he was the backbone of the infantry platoon.  This combination had been successful for generations of soldiering and it was no different in the war in Vietnam.

LT Bill Blair and SGT Denny King had much in common personally, and they established a sound and successful working relationship within 1 Platoon, W3 Company, in the ANZAC Battalions.  It helped that both of them were West Coasters.  They were delighted when they discovered that Denny was Hokitika born and bred, and Bill was a Reefton man.  Both their fathers had served in 2NZEF in North Africa and Italy.  It turned out that both had joined the Army as teenagers, had married hometown girlfriends, and both were determined that their platoon would be successful.

Bill Blair and Denny met infrequently during their service after Vietnam.  They did not server together again until Bill was appointed Commanding Officer of Burnham Camp, where Denny was completing his final year in the Army prior to discharge.  They were, however, invited to make presentations, based on their experiences in Vietnam to selected groups.  During the 1980's, they travelled to Waiouru for the annual Platoon Commanders/Platoon Sergeants Courses.  Before each Battalions deployment to East Timor in the early 1990's, they spent time with each Company's command staff making similar.  On these occasions, they also included George Preston, a former section commander with 3 Platoon, W3.

Denny King had nothing but praise and gratitude for the Army after Vietnam.  He served on for a full NCO career until his retiring age for rank and reached all his personal goals.  He attained the rank of Warrant Officer Class I and held the following appointments:

1978 - 80 RSM, 5th (Wellington, West Coast, Taranaki) Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
1980 - 82 RSM, Army Schools, Waiouru
1982 - 84 RSM, 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, Singapore
1984 - 87 RSM, Burnham Military Camp
1986 (Apr-Nov) Training Warrant Officer, Multinational Force and Observers, (MFO), Sinai
1987 - 90 Senior Instructor, Training Wing, 3 Task Force Region
1985 - 90 Advisory Warrant Officer, 3 Task Force Region (dual appointment)
1990 - 94 Warrant Officer (Territorial Force) Instructor, Training Support Unit

He served as an NCO on overseas tours of duty to South East Asia four times; to Malaysia (twice), Singapore (twice), and once to the Middle East, the Sinai.  In New Zealand he was posted to Burnham four times, Waiouru twice, Blenheim, Wanganui, and Christchurch.  He came to specialise in in the design of training courses for NCO's in the Regular Force and for Territorials.  Denny's military service was recognised in in 1983 with the award of the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) and, again, in 1988 when he was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE).

When he retired from the Army he was able to extend the training knowledge that he had acquired in a career spanning 30 years to his work as a civilian.  He established a Training Activity Centre with two former long serving NCO's, (ex WO1s) Jack Powley and Manu Lee, and ran special courses under a government sponsored training scheme for unemployed people.  The company was then contracted by the Army to write the highly popular and successful Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) training scheme that the Army conducted for youth volunteers.  Denny King and his colleagues found in the LSV scheme that the principles they had used to care for, train and discipline their men in combat were equally relevant to the civilian 'troops' assigned to the programme.  The LSV scheme conducted in Burnham ran for more than fifteen years, the longest running of any LSV programme in New Zealand.

Denny ventured more deeply into private enterprise for a couple of years after the LSV course had been implemented as he and his wife owned and operated an industrial takeaway in Christchurch.  Finally, for the ten years leading up to his retirement Denny King was employed as a Training Officer for Canterbury Regional Council Civil Defence.  He was responsible for operational readiness and providing courses and training for the Regional and Christchurch City Council staff and volunteers on emergency management.  Denny formed a small Civil Defence Training Team, comprising mainly former Army officers and NCO's, that developed courses and conducted training activities for council staff and community volunteers.  They also introduced regular exercises to simulate situations that could be expected to happen during a major event.  No major events had occurred in Christchurch since the Waimakariri flooding of the 1950's.  However minor events did occur and on those occasions the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated and staffed until the emergency was over.  Selected elements of the Civil Defence were mobilised to provide assistance and support to Emergency Services and establish and operate Civil Defence Welfare Centres.  As had been done in Vietnam, where Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) were refined from the lessons learned, Civil Defence teams went through a detailed debrief after each event.

Behind Every Good Man
In his nearly fifty years of working life, both inside and out of the military, Denny King served in appointments which required him to provide staunch support for those for whom he worked.  However, he acknowledged that none of that could have been achieved without the pillars of strength behind him - the members of his family.

Throughout my career, the support of my wife Jeanette was magnificent.  The nature of a soldier's job means long periods of separation from the family, and we were no exception.  Jeanette knew, and accepted, that being married to a soldier was going to be different to most marriages, and encouraged me to achieve my goals.  Without her support, I would not have been able to devote the time and effort I needed to qualify on courses, and to put in the extra hours involved in many of the appointments I held.  Good military wives are exceptional people, and I was fortunate to love and marry one.  I have always been most grateful for her love, loyalty, encouragement and advice.  My family lived in Singapore for the duration of Whisky 3 Company's 12 month deployment in Vietnam.  At that stage, we had two pre-school children.  Jeanette and the other wives had no family support, and relied on friends and neighbours for assistance.  The military support system was available in the event of any serious situations, but most events the wives dealt with themselves or with assistance from the street warden.  As with each long separation, my return was exciting for all, but it brought problems that took time to resolve.  Decisions, purchases, children's activities etc, had been made without my input, but then I was back and wanted to be involved again; it was difficult, but we got there eventually.

Our four children accompanied us on our postings to Malaysia and Singapore, but the constant moving with postings did make it difficult for them to establish normal relationships, to make friends and to get to know their extended family. They all became very adaptable individuals, and successful in their adult lives.  By 2008 Jane became a registered nurse and gained 24 years experience in nursing, including time at Burwood Hospital in the elective orthopaedic surgical ward. Bruce worked with Gourock New Zealand for twelve years; he became Manager - Marine, responsible nation-wide for the manufacture, fitting and selling of marine equipment for the commercial fishing industry.  Paul served as a regular force infantry officer in the New Zealand Army, and undertook tours of duty to Bougainville, East Timor and Afghanistan. Megan, too established personal links with her fathers old profession.  She served for more than sixteen years in a non-uniform appointment with the Canterbury Regiment, a Territorial Force unit based in Burnham, where she became the Administration Officer.

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