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Gatton commemorates Vietnam Vets Day

Vietnam veterans at the Gatton parade.
Vietnam veterans at the Gatton parade. Derek Barry

FORTY-EIGHT years on, the Battle of Long Tan still resonates with the single largest loss of Australian life in the Vietnam War.

Eighteen Aussies were killed on August 18, 1966, part of a platoon of 108 men defending a rubber plantation who were overrun by Viet Cong forces until reinforcements arrived.

The North Vietnamese lost 245 dead in the firefight and many more wounded on the day.

On the third anniversary of Long Tan, 18 August 1969, a cross was raised on the site of the battle by the men of 6RAR. Veterans from the battle gathered at the cross to commemorate the fallen, and the day was commemorated by them as Long Tan Day from then on. Over time, all Vietnam veterans adopted the day as one to commemorate those who served and died in Vietnam.

In 1987, Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that Long Tan Day would be known as Vietnam Veterans Day. Since then, it has been commemorated every year as the day on which the service of all those who served in Vietnam is remembered.

Gatton held its commemoration at the Weeping Mothers Memorial this evening with RSL president Les Nash hailing two local men who died in the Vietnam conflict.

These were Private Francis Brett Topp Rainf who died at Long Tan and is buried at Helidon and Trooper Robert George Young who was killed in action in 1969 and is buried at Gatton.

The Lockyer Valley Celtic Pipe Band led the parade and Rev John Tyler read the prayers.

Topics:  gatton, vietnam veterans day


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