|Object type||Personal Equipment|
|Physical description||Brass, Canvas, Cotton webbing, Metal, Nylon webbing, Plastic|
|Location||Main Bld: Vietnam Gallery: Ramp: Operations|
|Date made||c 1970|
Composite webbing set : Trooper D R Barnby, 2 Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment
A composite webbing set, consisting of standard US pattern waist belt, metal buckle and 'H' harness suspender. The suspender has been modified with the addition of five nylon webbing M79 40 mm grenade pouches, cut from a US Air Force survival vest, which are attached vertically down each front suspender strap. A blackened round brass press button secures each grenade pouch cover.
Worn at the back of the belt is a large Australian 1937 Pattern basic canvas pouch and a British 1944 Pattern water bottle and carrier. In place of the standard Australian issue basic pouches at the front are twin US Special Forces M16 5.56 mm magazine pouches and two compass pouches, one containing insect repellent.
Attached to the 1937 Pattern pouch is another compass pouch, containing another insect repellent container and inside the pouch is a field dressing. The webbing set has been hand camouflaged by adding random blotches of green and black paint. A US issue plastic M6 bayonet scabbard is also attached.
The Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in Vietnam, were well known for modifying issued equipment for their own unique purposes, this webbing is an example of this adaptive attitude. This set uses a mixture of webbing sourced from contemporary and World War Two origins, and Australian, US and British sources. This composite webbing set relates to the service of Donald Richard Barnby who was born in Brewarrina, NSW on 8 April 1950. After leaving school and taking on temporary jobs in the Wellington area of NSW, he joined the Australian Regular Army on 17 May 1967 and was allocated the service number, 217585. After completing basic training at Kapooka Barnby sought a combat role, but to his disappointment, was posted to the Royal Australian Ordnance Corps. He completed his Initial Employment Training at Army training facilities at Bonegilla and Bandiana in Victoria and was posted to 2 Base Ordnance at Moorebank, NSW.
A friend joined the SASR and convinced him to so too. In 1970, Barnby passed the cadre course for entry into the SASR, based out of Swanbourne Barracks in Perth, WA. Barnby qualified as a parachutist, and became part of the Free Fall Troop otherwise known as 'F Troop' of the SASR. At this time there was a popular American comedy series called 'F Troop', about American soldiers based at Fort Courage, a fictional army outpost in Kansas, following the Civil War.
From 17 February to 10 October 1971, Trooper Barnby deployed to South Vietnam as a member of Two Five Patrol, F Troop, 2 Squadron, SASR. Based out of the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy Province, they conducted clandestine reconnaissance and offensive operations against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong.
2 Squadron's tour was the last Australian SASR involvement in the Vietnam War. After leaving the Regular Army in early 1973, Barnby travelled overseas for a well earned break, before he joined the Australian Capital Territory Police Force (later to become the Australian Federal Police) on 30 July 1973. Barnby served with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in numerous roles, including community policing, special operations, witness protection, police rescue, motorcycle, Interpol and as part of the protection teams for Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Governor-General Sir Bill Hayden.
In 1990 Barnby was promoted to sergeant. He deployed many times overseas with the AFP, as part of several Peacekeeping and Peace enforcement operations. They included the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and Multi-National operations in both Bougainville and East Timor (UNAMET).
Barnby retired from the AFP in 1998 on a voluntary redundancy. He was requested to re-join the AFP and deploy to East Timor as a United Nations Australian Civilian Police Officer (UN AUSTCIVPOL), with the AFP 1st UN Police Contingent as part of UNAMET in July 1999. UNAMET had been sent to East Timor on 11 June 1999, to organise, conduct and supervise a referendum to allow the East Timorese to choose between autonomy within Indonesia or independence. Following the overwhelming vote for independence on 30 August 1999, the pro-Indonesian militia launched a campaign of destruction, arson and murder, killing approximately 1500 people and forcing 300,000 others into West Timor as refugees.
The AFP 1st UN Police Contingent was un-armed, and witnessed the worst of the killings, displacements and other horrifying incidents during their deployment in 1999. Barnby and his colleagues regularly faced fully armed individuals and groups and endured demanding physical and emotional conditions in the course of this deployment.