Vietnam War 1962 - 1973.

From 1962, approximately 50,000 Australians, including ground troops, air force and navy personnel served in Vietnam. 521 died and close to 2,400 were wounded.

It is important to highlight that many young men were conscripted to serve in Vietnam. From 1965 to 1972, 19,450 national servicemen served in the Vietnam War, with 202 killed and 1,279 wounded. The National Service Scheme was abolished on 5 December 1972.

43 Australian Army nursing sisters were sent to Vietnam between April 1967 and November 1971, undertaking tours of up to twelve months. The nurses were assigned to a military hospital in a war zone with no advance preparation for what they'd encounter: caring for horrifically injured soldiers straight off the battlefield, understaffed, using basic equipment and often in difficult working conditions.

About 210 Australian nurses traveled to South Vietnam between 1964 and 1972 to care for injured civilians during the war.

Many Australian entertainers went to Vietnam to entertain the troops and were gratefully received.

It should be noted as well that the efforts of organisations like the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army, Everymans Welfare and Australian Services Canteens, were greatly appreciated by Australians who served in Vietnam.

Click here for the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (website).  The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) had its advent in the Vietnam Veterans Action Association, formed in late 1979 as a result of Vietnam Veterans exposure to chemicals that was causing problems with their health and the health of their children.  The chemicals, known by the generic name of Agent Orange included 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, a byproduct of which is the extremely poisonous substance TCDD or dioxin.  The problems ranged from minor irritation to lethal, with symptoms such as skin blisters, itching, flushes, nasal problems, blurred vision, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, gastro-urinary muscular and nervous system disorders, cancers and tumors.  This was often exacerbated by psychological disorders caused by what was later diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder.  The VVAA is a wholly volunteer body, whose sole interest is the welfare of veterans and the families of veterans.

Click here for The Casualty List (website).  Many young Australians were killed or wounded in Vietnam. This website gives you the opportunity to read the names of those killed or wounded.  You will see how young many were.  You will also see where those that died are laid to rest.

Click here for the Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans (website). Also lists the names of people like merchant seamen, war correspondents, entertainers and others who were civilian participants.

Click here for the National Vietnam Veterans Museum (website).

The remains of three Australian servicemen killed in Vietnam have returned home.

In April 2007, the burial sites of Lance Corporal Parker and Private Gillson were discovered by members of Operation Aussies Home and their remains have now been returned to Australia.

Lance Corporal Parker and Private Gillson had been members of A Company 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). In 1965 - 66 1 RAR formed the third battalion of 173d Airborne Brigade. They were killed on 8 November 1965.

Lance Corporal Gillespie became the third Australian MIA in Vietnam to be found last year by veterans' group Operation Aussies Home, 36 years after being killed in combat. His remains have now returned home.

Lance Corporal Gillespie was a medical orderly aboard an Australian Army helicopter sent to rescue a wounded South Vietnamese soldier in an area known as the Long Hai Hills.  As the wounded man was being winched aboard the helicopter it was hit by machine gun fire, crashed to the ground and exploded. The pilots escaped but Lance Corporal Gillespie, who was pinned under the wreckage was killed. Three other soldiers also died.

The Battle of Long Tan was a defining event in what was Australia's longest war until the Afghanistan War.  It was one of the most intensive actions Australian soldiers fought in Vietnam.  On 18 August 1966, a rifle company of 108 men from D Company 6RAR, cut off and outnumbered by at least ten to one, withstood repeated, massed Viet Cong attacks for four hours.  Many of the Australian soldiers were conscripts, barely out of their teens.  The bravery and tenacity of the Australian soldiers became legendary. 18 young Australians lost their lives.  17 from D Company 6RAR, and 1 from the armoured personnel carriers (APC's).  24 were wounded. Of those that died, the youngest was 19 years old and the eldest was 22 years old. 11 were National Servicemen (conscripts) and 7 were Regular Army enlisted.


Vietnam Veterans Day, celebrated on 18 August each year, is an opportunity to honour those Australians who served during the Vietnam War and remember those who died.

The 18th of August 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Comments regarding the Australian War Heroes Song that plays in the video above...

"I thought the music was a modern reflection on Australia's war dead... As a Vietnam veteran I would have to say that it is a wonderful tribute to all who have fallen."- Edmund 'Ted' Harrison

"I am taking a funeral tomorrow of a Vietnam Vet who died last week of cancer.  The family would like to use your song... I am asking for permission to use it at the funeral." - E-mail from a Reverend

"Last year I was contacted and asked if the song could be played at an Ardrossan service in honour of Lance Corporal Richard (Tiny) Parker and Private Peter (Gilly) Gillson.  The service, conducted at the Ardrossan Soldiers Memorial by Pastor Brian Tugwell, was attended by veterans from Ardrossan, Adelaide and the Copper Coast. The incredible effort and commitment taken to bring home the fallen soldiers, is one of the greatest examples of mateship I have ever seen." Peter Barnes (Author of the song) - this comment was created some years ago. 

The first video that was created for Australians who served in Vietnam is called Vietnam War Heroes. Click here to watch the video on YouTube (the video has passed 214,000 views).  The author of the song (Peter Barnes) has been deeply affected by the stories of some Vietnam Veterans he has met and how poorly many were treated on their return to Australia.  Many Vietnam Veterans have been damaged for life because of the rejection and abuse they faced when they came back from Vietnam.  One Vietnam Veteran told Peter he has never marched on ANZAC Day and will never forget what happened to him. Vietnam War Heroes, in a sense, is how Australians should have welcomed back those that served in Vietnam so long ago.  Many Vietnam Veterans have died over the past 40 years feeling Australia and Australians let them down. This also has greatly affected many families and the loved ones of Vietnam Veterans.  For those Australian Vietnam Veterans alive today, it's not too late to tell them they are heroes.

Vietnam Veterans from 1RAR sent photos to the author of the song to be included in a video with the song. Click here to watch that video on YouTube.

Some years ago a Vietnam Veteran in South Australia invited Peter to an anniversary service for the Battle of Long Tan where the heroes song was included in the commemorative service.  Peter has never felt more proud to be an Australian. The service included a helicopter pass over and he will never forget the experience of being with Vietnam Veterans at that time.

Topics covered on this webpage include: vietnam war heroes - anzac day - song - australia - australian - tribute marching - remembrance - schools - spirit - mateship - sacrifice - youtube - words - killed - wounded - long tan - veterans day - vietnam veterans day - died heroes - australian soldiers

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You can now download the Original Version (2001) of 'Can You Hear Australia's Heroes Marching?' FOR FREE at the song's official website download page HERE

As we are in the ANZAC Centenary 2014 - 2018, with the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli, which was on April 25, 2015, the author of the song has made available  the original version of the song to be downloaded for free, as this is a very special time for Australia.

You can also download a longer 4 minute version of the song FOR FREE as well at the same download page.

You can download the lyrics to 'Can You Hear Australia's Heroes Marching?' HERE

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