Olympus camera : Private D M O'Shea, 7 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Accession Number REL43565
Collection type Technology
Object type Optical equipment
Physical description Aluminium, Glass, Metal, Plastic, Vinyl
Maker Olympus Optical Company Ltd
Place made Japan
Date made 1968 -1971
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Standard Olympus Pen EES-2 model 35mm half frame camera with automatic exposure and fixed focussing. Features aluminium casing and vinyl grip band, hot shoe fitting and plug point for a flash unit, and a 30mm f/2.8 lens. The base is impressed 'Made in Japan', accompanied by the serial 5257877. There is a black nylon wrist strap attached to the proper right side of the case. The original lens cap is present. Stored in a black soft vinyl zippered carry case with carrying strap, also containing the original owner's instruction pamphlet, folded to be stored under the camera in its case.

History / Summary

Raised at Puckapunyal, Victoria on 1 September 1965, 7 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR) served two tours in Phouc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. The owner of this camera, 3789406 Private Dennis Michael O'Shea served during the battalion's first tour, from 8 April 1967 to 26 April 1968. 7RAR travelled to Vietnam aboard HMAS Sydney III. It relieved 5 RAR at 1 Australian Task Force (1 ATF) in Phouc Tuy Province.

Over the space of a year, 7 RAR were involved in 26 major operations, patrolling and resettlement activities in the Xa Bang and Nui Dat areas, as well as the Xuyen Moc Operation, Operation Ballarat and the subsequent Battle of Suoi Chau Pha (August 1967) and Operation Santa Fe (May Tao Zone, October 1967). In December 1967 1 ATF was expanded when 3 RAR and elements of the Armoured Corps joined 7 RAR in Phouc Tuy. The battalion's final major operation was support of Operation Coburg during January to March 1968, along the Bien Hoa -Long Khanh border during the Tet Offensive. It was during this operation that Private O'Shea was photographed helping to secure a wounded Viet Cong defector after an ambush in February during Operation Coburg. O'Shea appears to have had a degree of affinity with the South Vietnamese troops serving with his unit, as one of his souvenir photograph albums contains a high percentage of images depicting them in casual poses at 1 ATF.