Wednesday 30 November 2016 by Dianne Rutherford. 12 comments
Collection, Military Heraldry and Technology, Personal Stories, Vietnam War, Anzac Biscuits

Terry 'Snow' Hendle (image courtesy of the Hendle family)

On 29 November 1966 Lance Corporal Terry Hendle received a tin of homemade Anzac biscuits from his Mum, Adelaide. Terry had been with the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) in Vietnam for six months, beginning his tour of duty on 31 May. He was serving near Nui Dat as part of Operation Ingham, a Search and Destroy mission that took place between 18 November and 3 December 1966.

Terry with his Mum, Adelaide (image courtesy of the Hendle family)

Adelaide and Desley, Terry’s sister, regularly sent him homemade Anzac biscuits while he was deployed, which he shared with the men of his unit, 6RAR’s Assault Pioneer Platoon. Terry decided to wait until he finished his patrol that night before opening the tin to enjoy the biscuits. As well as containing a little piece of home, the tin itself was a reminder of Australia, painted with an artist's impression of the Sydney Opera House that was still under construction at the time.

Sealed tin of Anzac biscuits sent to Terry in Vietnam (AWM2016.460.1)

Sadly, Terry never got to enjoy his biscuits. At 10.15pm, some Viet Cong came up to the perimeter of 6RAR's position and, when challenged by the sentry, opened fire with an automatic weapon before withdrawing. Terry was one of three men wounded in the attack. He was wounded in the chest or the abdomen (reports and accounts vary); another soldier was wounded in the hand and the third in the shoulder.

Terry (bare chested) with Private Stephen Smith in Vietnam. Terry (bare chested) with Private Stephen Smith in Vietnam. P05458.001

Terry and one of the other wounded men (presumably the man with the shoulder wound) were winched out for medical treatment just after midnight by a RAAF Iroquois helicopter and taken to the 36th US Evacuation Hospital at Vung Tau. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, at 2.55 in the morning on 30 November, Terry died aged 20. His body was returned to Australia and buried at Pinaroo Lawn cemetery, Queensland. He was survived by a young wife and daughter.

US Army 36th Evacuation Hospital, Vung Tau US Army 36th Evacuation Hospital, Vung Tau P12132.001

Terry’s unopened tin of biscuits was returned to Adelaide after his death. She kept the tin with her the rest of her life and every time she moved house she would carefully carry "Terry's biscuits" in her lap to her new home. After her death, Desley cared for them.

Terry's biscuits are still sealed in the tin with the original tape Adelaide used

The tin has not been opened since Adelaide first sealed it in 1966. It still has its original masking tape and you can feel the weight of the biscuits inside. The Memorial will never open the tin, just as Adelaide and Desley never opened it. This tin became a family Memorial to Terry and is significant for that reason. After Terry’s death, Adelaide and Desley never baked Anzac biscuits again.

Comments

Kelsie Schulz

Thank you for this story. Terry was my grandfather, and it's wonderful to be able to read a story of him that I hadn't heard before. It fills me with joy to know that he has such an everlasting piece of memory to his name.

Jeanne Parry

What a lovely tale to have as a memory, to pass on to future generations. It really touched me to read it - how very fortunate we are!

Dianne Rutherford says:

Thanks for your message Kelsie, we are very privileged to have the biscuits here now and also lucky to hold the Commander's war diaries for 6 RAR on our website (https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG1029362/), which provided some extra information about what happened to your Grandfather.

Mark Higgins

Thank you for sharing this story. Very touching read

Cathy Stagnitti

Thank you so much for the touching tribute to my Uncle Terry. I am one of Desley's daughters and Uncle Terry's memory has never been, and never will be, forgotten. My children are helping to keep his memory alive as well by listening to the stories and attending ANZAC and Remembrance Day parades.

Owen Corry

A very emotional and sad story. I can understand why Terry's Mum and sister Desley could not bear to bake Anzac biscuits again. He was a very likeable mate. We served in 2RAR and 6RAR together. I will never forget him.

Owen Corry

GREAT MATE

Rosie Miners

RIP Terry Hendle. What a lovely memory and memorial for this hero. Anzac biscuits are such a signficant part of Australian history and this story will be recalled for a long time. God bless Kelsie Schultz and proud memories of your fine Grandfather.

Kris Raineri

Thank you AWM staff for the kindness, care and compassion you have shown towards my family. This has been such an emotional journey for the last 50 years and this has given my mum (Desley, Terry's sister) a real sense of peace and comfort. It is so good to know that Terry's bikkies are forever safe and well cared for. The AWM is a national treasure that we should all be proud of.

Kris Raineri

Thank you AWM staff for the kindness, care and compassion you have shown our family. It has been such an emotional journey over the last 50 years and is comforting to know that Terry's bikkies are safe and well cared for. This has brought such a sense of peace and comfort to my mum (Desley, Terry's sister). The AWM is a national treasure we should all be proud of.

desley chandler

Thankyou Dianne for the story of our Terry. I now feel a sense of peace and calm knowing Terry's biscuits now have a permanent home and he will be remembered forever

Jan-Maree Ball

What a special story but a sad one. I bake and send ANZACS to many of our troops today and truly hope that none of their tins are ever left unopened. May he rest in peace.

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