As in all previous wars, and Vietnam was no exception, various items have been kept as mementoes or souvenirs of the soldier’s experiences.
Cartoons reflected the mood or opinions of the population to major events happening at the time. A small selection of cartoons from the Vietnam War period are included to give a brief glimpse of what was happening to the Diggers at the time. The Unions were not popular with the troops and this is reflected in several cartoons.
The National Service scheme was introduced by the Menzies Government in November 1964 and operated until 1972, when the newly elected Whitlam Labour Government suspended it. The scheme was based on a birthday ballot of twenty-year-old men who had registered their names with the Department of Labour and National Service (DLNS). If balloted in, these men were called up to perform two years’ continuous full-time service in the Regular Army Supplement, followed by three years’ part-time service in the Regular Army Reserve. Between 1964 and 1972, 804,286 twenty-year-olds registered for National Service and 63,735 were actually called up for National Service and served in the Army. Of the 63,735 who served in the Army, approximately 19,450 saw service in Vietnam and of this number, 98 served with the OFP. In the following pages you will see a series of letters which follows the call up to discharge of a National Serviceman.
Vietnam Campaign Medals
Left to Right
Australian Active Service Medal
1945-75 with Clasp Vietnam
Vietnamese Campaign Medal
Cartoons are a reflection of opinions or events at a particular time in history.
The following cartoons are from the Vietnam War period.
It was not a joke at the time
NOTE:- Sign says “The state branch of the Amalgamated Postal Worker’s Union complained today that ‘punch-a-postie’ posters had been put on notice boards in all Australian army camps in South Vietnam.”
(Courtesy – Trevor Rackley)
Congratulations! – You’ve won the lottery
The letter every twenty-year-old hoped would never come.
Now we need to get serious with you
Congratulations you passed the medical
Your country needs you
Back to civy street again
What every new soldier needs to know
Note the section about “Overseas Service”
Some Guys get to cruise the Pacific
Jan 1968 – Certificate awarded to Colin Cross for crossing the equator on HMAS “Sydney”.
Some Guys got the slow flight home
13 December 1969. Card handed out by the Navigator of a RAAF C130 returning troops to Australia. (Card courtesy – Kevin Dwyer)
Rules for Australian Army Forces in Vietnam
These rules were promulgated to every Australian serving in Vietnam, demonstrating the diplomatic significance for the Australian government.
Pocket Book issued to everyone prior to going to Vietnam
Drivers Licence (This one is for a Forklift)
Military Payment Certificate (MPC). The certificates were used in the Post Exchange (PX) or in the Canteen, but could be exchanged for limited amounts of Vietnamese currency. They could also be exchanged for US or other currencies by Allied servicemen going on Rest and Recreation leave (R&R). (Mike Grosse)
South Vietnamese currency (Dong) which was supposed to be used when making purchases from the local traders. This very rarely happened, as the traders would take the Military Payment Certificates (MPC), although this was not strictly legal.
Just the place to spend your hard earned MPC
Lock up your daughters – the Yanks are coming!
Newspaper clippings announcing the arrival of the first R&R flight to Australia on 4 October 1967.
Twenty-five Australians were on board, including Bob Nash from 6 OFP (Det)
He’s coming home – be prepared.
Book of matches from Camp Alpha Transit Centre – Saigon
Free at last – The ticket home (Ron Holten)
Qantas charter briefing note
“THE MERCURY”- HOBART – July 1, 1996
Lost dog tag back with Vietnam Veteran
Vietnam veteran John Galpin, of Bellerive, with his well-travelled dog tag.
(Photograph courtesy of ‘THE MERCURY’)
A CHANCE find by a Victorian tourist in Vietnam has led to the return of an identity tag lost by a Tasmanian serviceman in 1969.
About a month ago John Galpin received a letter forwarded to him via the Defence Forces home Loans Scheme. The letter was from Paul Serong of Tarrawingee, who had returned from Vietnam with the dog tag, one of two lost by Mr Galpin.
“It was a complete surprise,” Mr Galpin, 46, of Bellerive, said. “I’d forgotten about it. “Dog tags were issued to all servicemen, and two had to be worn around the neck at all times. They listed surname, service number, blood group and religion.
Mr Galpin, who grew up at Wynyard, was a corporal in the regular army. He served in Vietnam for 13 months from August 1969 until September 1970, in a specialist stores unit based at Nui-Dat. Now a storeman at Incat Tasmania in Hobart, he doesn’t know how he lost his tags, but he reported them missing and was issue dwith two more – which he has kept.
Mr Serong came across the tag at Nui-Dat, where he gave a child 10c to have a look at it. The child ran off, leaving him with the tag.
The Centre of Attention
Photo signed by entertainer Lorrae Desmond. Centre of attention is Denis Blakey
“To Denis, It was an honour for me to visit with ‘my boys’ – Made me very proud to be an Aussie. Love Lorrae Desmond XX”
(Photo supplied by Denis Blakey)
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year
Christmas card from the President of the Republic of Vietnam.
Political & Protest Posters about the Vietnam War