The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3794895) Private Allen Roy Brown, 6RAR, Vietnam War.

Place Asia: Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province, Nui May Tao Mountains
Accession Number AWM2016.2.128
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 7 May 2016
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (3794895) Private Allen Roy Brown, 6RAR, Vietnam War.

Speech transcript

3794895 Private Allen Roy Brown, 6RAR
KIA 18 December 1969
No photograph in collection – provided by family

Story delivered 7 May 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Allen Roy Brown, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Allen Brown was born in April 1948, the second of six children of Allen and Betty Brown, who worked a dairy at Swan Hill in north-west Victoria. He attended primary school at Murrawee and Murraydale, and had started technical school at Swan Hill before moving with the rest of his family to Dingee, where he attended White Hills Technical College in nearby Bendigo. In 1964 Brown started an apprenticeship as a carpet-layer with Swintons Furniture, and later worked as a trainee engineman for the Victorian Railways. In his spare time he played flamenco guitar, and enjoyed painting, shooting, and tinkering with cars and motorbikes. A natural mechanic with an inquisitive mind, Brown modified his Ford Anglia for drag racing in Bendigo.

Less than a month before turning 20, Brown’s birth date was drawn in the seventh National Service ballot on 15 March 1968. As a national serviceman, he was required to serve full-time for two years in the regular army, followed by three years part-time in the reserves, with the possibility of overseas service in Vietnam. After basic training at Puckapunyal, Brown was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and spent the following months training as a rifleman with the 3rd Training Battalion in Singleton, New South Wales.

Brown was later posted to the reinforcement wing at Ingleburn and spent the following months making final preparations to deploy to Vietnam. His number soon came up, and he flew out on a Qantas charter flight from Sydney to Saigon on 20 May 1969. On arriving in country he was posted to 3 Platoon in A Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

Based at the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province, 6RAR’s numbers had been bolstered with the addition of a rifle company from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment to form what became known as 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC). Over the following months the battalion was involved in aggressive operations throughout the area, seeking out and destroying the Viet Cong in its base areas, denying it access to the civilian population, and helping to create a secure climate for the South Vietnamese people. These operations involved extensive patrolling, which was always demanding, dangerous, and exhausting. Brown was the lead scout of his section in 3 Platoon, and found the time between operations to send his family small paintings of the scenery in Vietnam.

In December 1969, 6RAR/NZ carried out a month-long reconnaissance-and-ambush operation, codenamed Operation Marsden, in the province’s north-east. In the mountainous Nui May Tao area the battalion uncovered a large number of Viet Cong installations, medical facilities, and bunkers as well as caches of weapons, food, and ammunition. It also had frequent contact with the enemy. Early on 18 December Brown’s platoon was engaged in a brief fire fight after being ambushed with a claymore mine while patrolling down a creek line.

Later, when the platoon returned through the same area, a small party of Viet Cong troops opened fire with RPGs and automatic weapons. Both Private Brown and his section commander were killed, and their platoon commander was mortally wounded. Once the casualties had been evacuated the enemy positions were silenced with artillery, mortars, and an airstrike.

Allen Brown was just 21 years old. His body was returned to Australia and his ashes interred at the Springvale Botanical Garden in Melbourne.

Brown’s death had a profound and lasting effect on his parents, Allen and Betty, and his siblings Carolyn, Hilton, Malcolm, Jennifer, and Janine. His mum and dad never fully recovered from losing their kind, good natured, and happy eldest son, although some of his army mates would visit regularly to give them ongoing support. Today his family remains proud of Brown’s service and sacrifice, and he is fondly remembered at family gatherings.

Allen Brown’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among more than 500 others who died while serving in the Vietnam War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Allen Roy Brown, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3794895) Private Allen Roy Brown, 6RAR, Vietnam War. (video)