Tumut honours Vietnam and Pacific veterans

Vietnam veteran Nick Blakeney, World War II veteran Ray Back and service veteran Scott Crampton lay wreaths.

THOSE who served in Vietnam and in the Pacific in World War II were honoured at a combined service at the memorial in Richmond Park on Sunday.

A good crowd, which included veterans of both conflicts, turned up. 

August 18 is Vietnam Veterans Day, as it is the anniversary of the famous Long Tan battle in Vietnam, and it is close to August 15, the day Japan agreed to surrender in World War II, so both occasions are marked.

Tumut Sub Branch president Robert Watson paid tribute to those who served in both campaigns during his address.

“I should never be forgotten that during those critical first six months of the PNG campaign Australia stood up and essentially saved themselves and contributed greatly to the final victory achieved on the 15th of August 1945,” he said.

“Today we also commemorated Vietnam Veterans Day. Over 500 Australians paid the supreme sacrifice with 100s of casualties and many more who suffered from their service.

“Approximately 50,000 men and women served in the Vietnam theatre of war in land operations, in the air and on the sea.

“So today we remember all those who have served and paid the supreme sacrifice or suffered from their service, especially our World War II and Vietnam veterans. There can be never any doubt that our World War II and Vietnam veterans are worthy successors to the original Anzacs.”

Vietnam veteran Phil Bennetts gave the commemoration, wreaths were laid and Adam Farquharson played the Last Post.

Among those present were World War II veteran Ray Back, who was stationed at Darwin during the war, and Nick Blakeney, who served in Vietnam in a unit with Centurion tanks and was there when the battle of Coral-Balmoral was fought.