Long Tan remembered in the West

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia, Mandurah, Western Australia

Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett from the Royal Australian Navy Band Western Australia plays the Last Post during the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan Commemorative Service at the Memorial of Remembrance in Rockingham, W.A.  (photo: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko)
Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett from the Royal Australian Navy Band Western Australia plays the Last Post during the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan Commemorative Service at the Memorial of Remembrance in Rockingham, W.A.

Current and former Australian Defence Force members gathered recently at the Memorial of Remembrance in Rockingham and the Mandurah War Memorial, Western Australia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

The battle, which took place on the evening of 18 August 1966, was a protracted, intensive fire fight in a rubber plantation at Long Tan,South Vietnam.

One hundred and nine members of Delta Company Sixth Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, were up against an estimated 2,500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers, resulted in a total of 18 Australians and an estimated 250 Vietnamese soldiers being killed.

A number of group and individual citations were awarded after the battle which is regarded as one of the most significant battles in Australia’s military history.

At the Mandurah commemoration, Reviewing Officer Lieutenant Commander Alan Donovan said it was a fitting way to remember those who lost their lives in the engagement, and to honour those who survived.

“The event was very well attended with a large number of Navy, Army and Air Force veterans taking part," he said.

“There were also a number of Vietnamese military veterans who attended the service.

“A unique aspect of the parade, which marched from the Mandurah town centre to the war memorial, was the 62 Australian flag bearers who represented the 62 Western Australian servicemen that were killed in Vietnam.”

The Mandurah and Rockingham events were two of many similar commemorations that took part across Western Australia and around the country.

In Canberra, a national service was held at the Australian War Memorial where a number of veterans were joined by Chief of the Australian Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.