We're indebted to Private Ralph Edwyn Blewitt formerly of 2RAR, SVN 67-68 for the tip about this comprehensive guide to the Long Tan services over the next couple of weeks.
I know that Ralph and Ruby are making the pilgrimage to the Long Tan memorial in the rubber plantation where Ralph spent so much time as an infantryman just on 50 years ago.
Please pass this information on to as many of your friends and family as you can - Lest We Forget.
Commemorative Services & Events – 50th Anniversary of Long Tan
The 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan on 18 August — which is also Vietnam Veterans Day — will be the centrepiece of commemorations honouring Australia’s Vietnam War veterans.
Almost 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam from 1962 until 1975, 521 lost their lives and more than 3,000 were wounded. Many more veterans suffered, and continue to suffer, because of their service.
The Battle of Long Tan took place on 18 August 1966. It was the one of the fiercest battles fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War, seeing 105 Australians and three New Zealanders from D Company 6RAR fighting off and defeating a Main Force Viet Cong Regiment including North Vietnamese troops. A total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds. D Company were greatly assisted by an ammunition resupply by RAAF helicopters, close fire support from New Zealand’s 161 Field Battery, together with additional artillery support from the Australian task force base at Nui Dat, and the arrival of reinforcements in APCs as night fell.
- 13 August, 11.00am – Honor Roll, Belmore Park, 210 Auburn St, Goulburn, NSW
The Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam will be commemorated with a special service in Belmore Park at the honour roll from 11am.
- 17 August, 6.00pm – Parliamentary Reception, Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra
- 17 August, 4.00 pm – Hall or Memory Performance, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
- 17 August, 4.55 pm – Last Post Ceremony, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The public is invited to the Commemorative Area of the Memorial to hear the story of Private Ken Gant. As part of the ceremony, John Schumann and Hugh McDonald will perform “I was only 19”. Australia’s Federation Guard will participate.
- 18 August, 5.30 am – Vietnam Vale Roll of Honour Readings, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Everyone is invited to the early opening of the Commemorative Area to hear cadets from the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College of Duntroon read the names of the 521 Australians who died during the Vietnam War. Visitors may wish to place a poppy on the Roll of Honour.
- 18 August, 7.00am – Stand-to Service, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Organised by the Australian War Memorial, a ‘Stand-to’ Service similar to the Dawn Service will be held at the Stone of Remembrance in front of the Australian War Memorial.
- 18 August, 8.30am – Breakfast in the Park, Reid Oval, Reid, ACT
Catered by the Lions Club of Canberra, a breakfast for Vietnam veterans and their families supported by Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the ACT Government.
- 18 August, 9.30am for 10am start – National Service, Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra
Organised by the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, ACT & District Branch, with assistance from the Vietnam Veterans Stakeholder Committee. The National Service will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. All welcome to attend and the service will be televised on ABC.
- 18 August, 12.00pm – Ainslie Football Club, 52 Wakefield Ave, Ainslie ACT
Join your mates for a quiet drink and a bite to eat. Food and drink available for purchase from the club. For further details visit www.vvaa.org.au
- 18 August, 4.55pm – Last Post Ceremony, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Everyone is invited to the Last Post Ceremony in the Commemorative Area of the Memorial on 18 August to hear the story of Lieutenant Gordon Sharp. Australia’s Federation Guard will participate in the ceremony.
- 17 & 18 August – A Walk in the Light Green, Reading Room, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
A showcase exhibition A Walk in the Light Green uses a range of collection items to illustrate the lyrics of the iconic song ‘I was only 19’, which tells the story of an individual veteran, and at the same time encompasses the broader Australian experience in Vietnam. A showcase exhibition A Walk in the Light Green uses a range of collection items to illustrate the lyrics of the iconic song ‘I was only 19’, which tells the story of an individual veteran, and at the same time encompasses the broader Australian experience in Vietnam.
- 16, 17 and 18 August – Vietnam War Projections onto the Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
From dusk to dawn on these dates images from the Vietnam War will be projected onto the façade of the Memorial. Also projected on one side will be the names of the key theatres of the war, while on the other will scroll the names and ages of the 521 Australians whose names appear on the Vietnam War Roll of Honour.
- 19 August, 12.00-3.00pm – Southern Cross Yacht Club, Mariner Place, Lotus Bay, Yarralumla ACT
Wind down on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin with the local band Old 45 playing Vietnam era rock and roll music. Food and drinks available to purchase from the club. Should there be inclement weather this event will be moved to into a marquee.
- 18 August, 11.45am – Hobart Cenotaph
Commemorative Service and Wreath laying at the Hobart Cenotaph.
- 18 August, 11.00am – ANZAC Park, King Street, Smithton, Tasmania
The Circular Head RSL World War One Centenary Committee is looking to commemorate this battle with a service at Anzac Park, Smithton on Thursday August 18 at 11am. There will be a light lunch at the Circular Head RSL for the Vietnam veterans and their families and guests following the service.
The committee invites any Vietnam veteran now living in Circular Head to contact Rod Wells on 0408 522 249 or Lizzy Gale on 6452 1393 or email [email protected] to find out more about the day.
- 18 August, 3.15pm – Commemorative Parade, Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Brisbane (Not open to the public)
Organised by the Australian Defence Force at Enoggera Barracks. Members of the Long Tan Veterans Association and the 6RAR Association have been invited to attend a Commemorative Parade and Reception at the Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.
The Andrews Labor Government will provide free public transport to help veterans mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Veterans and war widows will travel for free on public transport between August 17-19, and on metropolitan services on August 18.
- 18 August, 9.30am to 12.15pm – Shrine of Remembrance, St.Kilda Road, Melbourne
11am: Marchers Step off from Police Memorial
11.20am: Marchers approach the Shrine Forecourt
11.30am: Keynote address by Victoria’s Governor The Honourable Linda Dessau AM
11.35am: Address by Victoria’s Premier The Honourable Daniel Andrews MP
11.40am: Long Tan Cross siting re-enactment
12 noon: Wreath laying on the Shrine Forecourt
- 18 August, 11.00am to 12.00pm – Vietnam War Memorial, Torrens Parade Ground, Victoria Drive, Adelaide
- 18 August, 12.00pm – Memorial Gates on the corner of Wileman St and Bradford St, Whyalla
The Whyalla RSL will conduct a Service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan, which was fought in South Vietnam on 18th August 1966. All community members of Whyalla are invited to attend the service.
- 20 August, 10.00am – Diamond Park to Murray Bridge Town Hall, Murray Bridge, Adelaide
Katherine, Northern Territory
- 18 August, 6.00pm – Memorial site, corner O’Shea Terrace and Katherine Terrace (Stuart highway)
Memorial Service and after the service Veterans will be invited to partake in a meal with the RSL Members.
- 10 August, 10.30am to 12.00pm – Ranking Gardens, Cnr Rokeby and Hamersley Roads, Subiaco, WA
The City of Subiaco and the City of Subiaco and Shenton Park RSL Sub Branches propose to mark the passing of PTE Richard Aldersea, this 50th Anniversary year. The public are invited to join in a ceremony comprising of a commemorative service, a tree planting and unveiling of a special plaque, followed by a morning tea.
- 18 August, 10.00am – York Street, Albany and Anzac Peace Park, Princess Royal Drive, Albany
March down York Street, Albany
Memorial Service, Anzac Peace Park, Princess Royal Drive, Albany
BBQ “The Forts” Mount Adelaide, Albany
- 18 August, 10.30am to 12.00pm – Bedford Park Memorial, Hamersley & Weld Streets, Broome
- 18 August, 10:30am to 01:00pm – Memorial Hall Monument, cnr Carrington Street & Rockingham Road, Hamilton Hill.
- 18 August, 10:45am to 12:00pm – North Beach, Charles Riley Memorial Reserve, North Beach
This RSL service will comprise a Commemorative Service with a march, starting at 10.45am, from the North Beach Bowling Club to the Memorial Precinct and wreath laying. The service starts at 11.00am and provides the opportunity for the Northern Suburbs Vietnam Veteran community, Vietnamese Veterans, and the Vietnamese community, the wider ex-service community and school students to come together to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans. At the service a new commemorative plaque created for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and Vietnam Veterans’ Day will be unveiled by the Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency, the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO. All welcome and for further information please contact Chris Rampant on 0429 454 116 or [email protected]
- 18 August, 11:00am to 12:30pm – Moora War Memorial, Corner of Clinch Street and Gardiner Street, Moora
Moora RSL will conduct a 50th memorial wreath-laying at the Moora War Memorial. The ceremony will move to the Moora Cemetery where respects will be paid at the graveside of Moora resident Cpl Peter Clements who died of injuries at Long Tan. A light luncheon will be available at the Drovers’ Inn. All former and current servicemen welcome. RSVP. Contact: Arthur Tonkin, 0428 518 166 or 9651 8010.
- 18 August, 5.00pm to 6.30pm – Nollamara RSL Sub-Branch, 68 Sylvia Street, Nollamara
This RSL service starts at 5.00pm. It comprises of a short service, wreath laying, Ode, Last Post, Reveille and then those present are invited into the hall for refreshments and food.
- 18 August, 5.00pm to 6.30pm – RSL Memorial, Shire Office Garden, Cnr Newman & Laver Drives, Newman
Newman Sub-Branch is holding a Commemorative Service for Vietnam Veterans Day. A wreath laying is included. Contact details: Ian Thompson –[email protected] 0409 876 942.
- 19 August, 6.00pm to 8.00pm – St Georges Cathedral, between Pier St and Barrack St – 38 St Georges
Partners of Veterans Association Western Australia Inc and St Georges Cathedral warmly invite all Veterans, partners of veterans and their families to attend this very special service. There will be a choir and the service includes the Blessing of Unit and Association Flags. An opportunity will be allowed to lay wreaths during the service. The lighting of candles and the opportunity to lay rosemary before the Memorial to the WA Fallen of the Vietnam War which is located in the Cathedral is welcome. A light supper follows the service. Dress: Smart, medals. Cathedral Avenue provides wheelchair access to the Cathedral and lavatories in the hall are fully accessible. For more information: Partners of Veterans Association Western Australia Inc 9228 3350/0488 878 292.
- 17 August, 6.00pm – Long Tan Anniversary Concert, Maxims, Vung Tau
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. The cost for this concert is inclusive of the fees paid by those people attending the 50th Anniversary Long Tan Reunion. The concert to be held at Maxim’s will have headliners Little Pattie, Lawrie Thompson and Lucky Starr who all performed in Vietnam during the war. The Long Tan Boys Band (see below) has been booked to support the entertainers at this historic event. More details – http://www.buddhas-place.com/avietnam_2016_8concert.html
- 18 August, 3.30pm – Long Tan Memorial Cross, South Vietnam
The Australian and New Zealand Ambassadors / Consulate Generals will be hosting the 50th anniversary service at Long Tan 0n the 18th August 2016. The service will commence @ 3:30pm. The service shouldn’t take any longer than 30 minutes.
- 18 August, 6.30pm – Gala Dinner, Pullman Hotel, Vung Tau
In attendance will be 40 Vietnamese members and several guests of honour from Australia including Lt Col Harry Smith SG MC (Ret), WO Keith Payne VC (Ret) along with members from all branches of the Australian military veterans, including 10 member from Delta company.
Australia has a strong presence in Vietnam with many Vietnamese students in Australia and a population that has assimilated into to Australia’s way of life. In 2016 a gala dinner has been organised to bring stronger bonds between both countries. We have strong bonds and trading with Turkey (Gallipoli) Germany (Western Front) Japan (Kokoda) South Korea and now Vietnam.
The dinner will be held at the Pullman Hotel in Vung Tau which is a new five star resort with seating capacity of 2000 people. Veterans, partners, children, friends and public are invited to attend this dinner of friendship on the 18th August.
Money raised on the night will go to several charities in Vietnam, including some are the Vietnam Veterans and Friends and to the war disabled.
This is an opportunity for both sides to get together as both sides lost their youth in Vietnam and is now a time for healing. People interested in this event can now purchase tickets via www.longtancross.com
Attire for this gala dinner event will be “smart business casual”. Dinner will commence at 6.30pm. More details – www.longtancross.com/information