5RAR 1st Tour
On the morning of 17 August 1966, the day prior
to the Battle of Long Tan, BHQ returned to the
base from Operation Holsworthy and after
cleaning weapons and general maintenance, I
retired to the Sergeant's Mess for a fresh meal
and some fluid intake (not water).
the conversations after lunch, we could hear a
concert taking place down on the 'Dust Bowl', so
a plan was hatched between me and Vince Cleary
to kidnap the entertainers and bring them back
to 5RAR, as so happened it was Col Joye and
As we were leaving the mess a vehicle, driven by
Smokey Dawson was passing, so we hijacked it and
ordered Smokey to take us to the Dust Bowl, as
we got there the entertainment party were all
heading for the helipad. We followed and when
the vehicles stopped we raced forward, with me
to grab Col Joye and Vince to get Little Pattie.
Col was boarding the chopper when I grabbed his
arm and led him towards our vehicle, telling him
that there was a change of plans. As Col and I
climbed in the back of the Landrover, Vince
jumped in the front and yelled, "Go", with me
thinking he had Little Pattie.
Smokey headed for the 6RAR area as a decoy and
then we worked our way back to 5RAR lines. On
arriving at BHQ we hid Col in the Post Office
with Sgt Gerry Brendish and later that evening
the party moved to B Company's OR's (Other
Ranks) canteen and from there to A Company,
where I understand Col was rescued by Task
the night Col spent most of his time in a weapon
pit, with a Sergeant Smith of Ordnance Corps, as
that was the night the VC mortared Task Force
As for myself, I hid for two days, but was
finally cornered by an angry RSM Les Foale, and
an even more irate Battalion 21C, Stan Maizey.
After 43 years and 7 months I thought this was
all forgotten, but thanks to Col, it has been
revived. Thanks Col, Vince and Smokey. One day
all four of us may have our own reunion.
Article courtesy 'Tiger Tales'
The official newsletter of the 5RAR Association.
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