Jennifer Leeson as a volunteer soldier's wife interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Place Oceania: Australia, Victoria, Puckapunyal
Accession Number F10615
Collection type Film
Measurement 16 min 29 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Leeson, Jennifer
Swanborough, Greg
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra
Date made 27 May 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copy provided subject to permission from copyright holder

Roll 16. Take 1; background to husband Peter Leeson's battalion 7RAR, raised specifically to go to Vietnam; queries training for tropical warfare in the Jameson Valley, Victoria; the men were always away on constant exercises for 18 months before leaving for Vietnam; how the wives got together to establish social activities and mess; their were very few wives and she got to know each other quite well; hardship being a new mother and new to the Army; explaining to a child why a father is absent and preparing the child for the return of the father; families had to explain to the children about the war; loneliness; writing letters and listening to husbands audio tape recordings from Vietnam; the sounds of the war in the background on the tapes; at Puckapunyal fearing the sound the duty vehicle stooping and two sets of footsteps, duty officer and chaplain, which would indicate the notification of a casualty; mentally preparing oneself for the worst; the negative responses to the war of the general public; the issue in the 1970s even after Vietnam, that we shouldn't of been there; Leeson feels that the troops should have been supported in their work and that this affected their morale; she found it hard to keep a stiff upper lip; being on her own taught her to take responsibility and didn't do her any harm; Roll 17 Take 2; thoughts on the Save Our Sons movement; felt quite threatened by the protestors at the gates to Puckapunyal; had glowing comments about National Servicemen; friendship with husband's driver who was a National Serviceman; National Serviceman officer delivers flowers from the battalion when she had a baby; wasn't angry that her husband could not see the child; believes it was a serious time and that the men of all services took their training very seriously and were therefore well prepared for Vietnam; in hindsight she believes going to Vietnam was the right decision; her children are now proud that their father served in Vietnam; her daughter didn't have a father for two years. Take 3. all servicemen, their wives and families are placed in similar situation irrespective what they have to do there are the emotional dimension that are in common; the excitement of her husband's return and that they were now a family unit; concern at how her daughter would react; no recognition when the troops arrived back in Australia; Take 4 the one thing she remembers most was the supportive environment at Puckapunyal and community of the wives of 7RAR.