A home away from home DPR/TV/406&407

Accession Number F03779
Collection type Film
Measurement 11 min
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Cunneen, William James
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province, Nui Dat
Date made 28 June 1966
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Soldiers of the Fifth and Sixth Battalions, The Royal Australian Regiment, in Vietnam have found the monsoon season no great aid to their task of digging fortified positions in their constant search for Viet Cong in the Phuoc Tuy Province, south of Saigon. the digging of weapons pits is a continual struggle against the monsoonal downpours and the red mud. Before the rain sets in Private Wayne Anderson of Seven Hills, Brisbane, uses a chain saw to clear his section's area. Weapons pits are essential for the camp's security and mortar men busy themselves in the construction of their pits. Privates Peter Hart of Kulin, W.A., and Dennis Williams of Myrtleford, Victoria, fill sand bags before placing them in front of their pit. In the morning following heavy downpours it is necessary to bail the pits of water and clear the mud. The mud clings to everything, and keeping weapons clean is the first priority of these mortar men. Soldiering in these conditions makes for big appetites, and for breakfast it will be corn cereal, milk, bacon and eggs, and coffee. There is time for a quick snip at the company barbers and its back to work again. In the afternoon the rains come in blinding storms as regular as clockwork. But the soldiers get used to it; they sleep in, eat in it, and fight in it. Once again the ground is turned into red mud and weapons pits fill within minutes. The small nylon "hootche\ie" tents are ideal for sheltering from the heavy rain. When it stops, the routine starts over again as weapons pits have to be emptied, and mud has to be shovelled from the pits. Private Jeff Darby of Bundaberg, Queensland, shows plenty of gusto as he cleans out his weapons pit. Personal belongings including money are laid out on the sandbags to dry by Private Roy Hughes, of Balgowlah , Sydney. Private John Goodes, of Corrimal, in NSW, cleans his rifle. The armourers then test the rifles for faults. Craftsman Win Paul, of Box Hill, Victoria, tests an Armalite rifle. The armourers check the sights and barrels for rust and wearing. Craftsman Bob Service, of Bundaberg, Queensland, checks a rifle bore. Time for a wash in a bush shower and a clean-up provides a welcome relief from the humidity. After being covered in mud and sweat few things are more delightful than a good lather. At odd moments a soldier can always find time for a can of beer, even if its warm. And despite the mud, the rain, the heat and the Viet Cong, these soldiers show they can still find a laugh in Vietnam.

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