The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2786939) Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.281
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 08 October 2017
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (2786939) Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War.

Speech transcript

2786939 Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
KIA 24 November 1968

Story delivered 8 October 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands.

Terrence Langlands was born on 13 February 1945 in Wallsend, New South Wales, the last of three sons born to Harry and Dulcie Langlands.

Known as “Terry”, he grew up around Lake Macquarie and spent much of his time swimming, sailing, and fishing with family and friends. He attended Bolton Point School and Booragul Public School before spending his first year of secondary school at Newcastle Boys High. He transferred to the newly opened Booragul High School the following year.

The new school suited Langlands. He was popular with both students and teachers, and in his final year he was made a school prefect and boys’ vice-captain. An excellent sportsman, he was also a member of the school’s A-grade cricket team, captain of the A-grade soccer team, and was champion in his age group for swimming and athletics.

After leaving school, Langlands worked as a clerk with Bull and Company in Newcastle, and later at BHP.

Sport continued to be one of his major interests, particularly soccer. He played in the Toronto-Awaba Soccer Club first grade team, and coached junior teams. He also had a passion for motor bikes and came close to having a professional career as a rider.

After not being drafted in the initial National Service ballot in 1965, Langlands volunteered for national service. He was accepted as part of the Regular Army Supplement (National Service) for general enlistment. Stamped across the top of his personal data sheet were the words “Potential Officer”. He had been studying a bachelor of commerce degree, but discontinued his studies upon enlisting.

In mid-April 1967 Langlands was sent to the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Kapooka, to begin basic training. His leadership qualities quickly became evident, and in May he was transferred to Officer Candidate School in Scheyville, where he became a member of 2/67 Class.

One day at the school Langlands was using black boot polish to try to darken the colour of his slouch hat’s brown leather chinstrap, but failed to get the effect he had intended. Instead of a smooth, dark finish, the chinstrap took on a mottled appearance. At the next inspection, the Scottish-born warrant officer in charge of proceedings picked up on the colour difference, and delivered a thickly-accented tirade: “It’s supposed to be brown, Langlands, but it’s brindle isn’t it?!”
From that moment on, Terry Langlands was known as “Brindle”.

Graduating on 8 October 1967, he was commissioned as a probationary second lieutenant and posted to the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, based at Holsworthy, New South Wales. His sister-in-law, Helen, represented the family at his graduation ceremony and pinned his lieutenant pips to his shoulders.

In March 1968 Langlands, rather than waiting for deployment with 5RAR in early 1969, volunteered for immediate service in Vietnam. Two months later he landed at Tan Son Nhut airport and was sent to the 1st Reinforcement Holding Unit at Vung Tau. After two months of training and acclimatising to the tropical conditions, he was promoted to
substantive second lieutenant and posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. A few weeks later he joined his battalion in the field, taking over 1 Platoon, A Company.
Langlands’s battalion was involved in numerous operations, and he spent a lot of time in the bush. At the beginning of November he was deployed in the north-east of Phuoc Tuy Province; known to be a heavily fortified North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong stronghold.

In the early hours of 24 November, A Company, 1RAR, was flown to its landing zone. As the men began patrolling, they came under fire from nearby bunkers, and there were several casualties.
As Langlands and his platoon moved forward to clear the bunkers, a claymore mine was detonated, and one of the men was wounded. As Langlands moved towards the wounded man, he encountered a lone Viet Cong soldier standing in the open. The soldier opened fire and Langlands was hit, collapsing to the ground.

Corporal Fred Annesley tried to provide suppressing fire to help other members of the platoon recover their fallen officer, but he too was hit. When the platoon’s medic arrived, Langlands ordered him to first look after Annesley. Finding Annesley already dead, the medic returned to Langlands, who died soon afterwards.

The firefight lasted over two hours, ending when A Company overran the bunker system and the enemy withdrew; 1RAR suffered two men killed and five wounded, one of whom died in hospital later that day.
The Langlands family were devastated on hearing the news of Terry’s death. He was 23 years old.

His remains were returned to Australia, and on the 5th of December he was given a funeral with full military honours at Christ the King
Anglican Church in Lake Macquarie before being cremated and interred in the Wall of Remembrance at the Beresfield Crematorium.

Langlands’s former Officer Candidate School classmates at Scheyville named their association newsletter “The Brindle” in his honour, and his former school, now Lake Macquarie High School, named a house after him.
Langlands’ name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with more than 500 others from the Vietnam War. His photograph is displayed beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2786939) Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War. (video)