Denis Stanley Gibbons as a photojournalist for John Fairfax & Sons and UPI interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Accession Number F10663
Collection type Film
Measurement 24 min 13 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Gibbons, Denis Stanley
Swanborough, Greg
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 9 June 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Permission of copyright holder required for any use and/or reproduction.

Photo Journalist with John Fairfax and Sons Ltd, January 1966 to October 1968. Photo Journalist with U.P.I, November 1968 to November 1970. Scene 8, Take 1: Describes having no restriction of movement and seating being set aside for journalists to accompany troops. More journalists went with Americans because they were deemed to have had a major role in Vietnam compared to Australians. Describes consistency of the pictures taken in Vietnam over the years. Scene 8, Take 2, roll 76: Experiencing the war through a view finder with no time to reflect on subject and seeing how well the Australians performed when pictures developed. Most moving shot taken was of Lorrae Desmond in 1967. She had come off stage after a concert at ‘The Quarry’ at task force base and was overcome by the reaction of Australian troops. Entertainers very important for morale. Wounded four times during innumerable operations throughout Vietnam. Rest and recreation leave in Vung Tau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Describes beginning of Tet offensive, 1968 and explosion of fuel depot at Da Nang Airport. Accompanied Americans to textile factory taken by North Vietnamese (NV). Arrived at Baria at latter stage of fighting. NV had occupied the movie theatre. Describes a young helicopter pilot of the 161 Reconnaissance Flight hovering over the theatre with light on to direct troops as an act of bravery. Describes fighting and damage at Hue horrendous. Worst damage done by American Marines and AVN Rangers. Hue University received three million dollars grant after malicious damage done to science laboratories. The citadel palace very badly damaged. Touring area previously with Platoon Sergeant Bill Burkitt (William James Birkett, Sn 13214) in 1967. Civilians upset by damage done. Mass graves found seven months later and describes stacks of bones and skulls. Difficult to keep emotions in check seeing killed and wounded Australians. Scene 8, Take 3, roll 76: Describes carrying a gun for protection. Explains staying so long in Vietnam because of invaluable experience working with best in the world. Scene 8, Take 4, roll 77: Came back to Australia to marry nurse he had met when wounded. APC hit by 180 pound bomb. Returned to news industry when healed. Stress problems have become worse with age. Talks about numbers of regular soldiers and national servicemen and choices available to them. Scene 8, Take 5: Describes artillery fire over stage during Little Pattie’s concert at Long Tan. In 1968, 6RAR, second tour erected a cross at Long Tan. Scene 8, Take 6: Describes only one staged photograph taken on night of Tet offensive. Considers war overwhelmed by too many governments, military and corruption. Talks about SAS involved in American Phoenix Program in Cambodia and Laos. Scene 8, Take 7: Start of battle at Binh Ba in 1969 and 5RAR clearing out tunnels. VC and civilians casualties indistinguishable in ‘black pyjamas’. Worst time was when in Laos with Americans under heavy attack and overrun by NV regulars, fighting for his life and being wounded.