5RAR Association Website
Tales from the Tiger


australian infantryman's combat badge
Christmas Eve 1969

© Ray Curran
A Coy 2nd Tour

It was the 24th December 1969. Yes, it was Christmas Eve. I was a member of A Company and at about 2200hrs (10pm) an aircraft flew over playing Christmas Carols through its loud speaker. We all had our ration of beer and no doubt were all in Christmas cheer when someone decided to fire off an M72 illumination round. Well that lit up the immediate area turning night into a sort of half day! "Who fired that weapon!" the CSM, WO2 Bob Armitage demanded to know. The silence was deafening, nobody owned up to firing anything! "Well it better not happen again." he roared. Well, boys will be boys; after all what could be done? They couldn't send us to South Vietnam as we were already there!

About 15 minutes later, we held an 'O' Group (Orders Group) and it was decided to fire off an illumination round at 1, 2 and 3 Platoon lines simultaneously! When that happened the look on the CSM's face was priceless, he just turned away muttering something to himself. As the night progressed there were a succession of flares going up all over Nui Dat!

It was a Christmas Eve I will never forget, and one that I often tell what we got up to and it always gets a laugh.