The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2790880) Private Wayne Edward Teeling, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam.

Places
Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.157
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 6 June 2019
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 (2790880) Private Wayne Edward Teeling, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam.

Speech transcript

2790880 Private Wayne Edward Teeling, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
KIA 6 June 1969

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Wayne Edward Teeling.

Wayne Teeling was born on 14 February 1948 to William and Ethel Teeling of Bondi Junction, Sydney. He grew up in Bondi Junction and was always close with his older brother and younger sister.

While he was still a young boy, Wayne’s father died suddenly at the age of 49, leaving Ethel to bring up her children. She later re-married and would have another child.

Growing up, Wayne attended Waverley Public School and went on to Wellington Street High School. He was a good student, completing subjects in maths, English, woodwork, metal work, science, and biology.

Though relatively short in stature, he was an excellent sportsman who played representative rugby league and cricket for his school and enjoyed surfing.

Wayne loved tinkering with all things mechanical. After leaving school at the end of his second year, he began an apprenticeship as a mechanic. However, his employer laid him off prior to completing his apprenticeship as he wanted to employ his own son.

Wayne went on to work as a baker’s assistant, but after 18 months found a job as an assistant engineer in an envelope manufacturing factory. He had been in this role for three months when he received his call-up for national service.

Wayne Teeling entered Kapooka for basic training on 24 July 1968, and in early October he began infantry training. After completing his training, he was posted to the Infantry Training Centre reinforcement wing.

From a young age, Wayne and his siblings were friends with a young lady by the name of Carolyn. Wayne lost contact with her for a while, but in his late teens, they met again and began a relationship. Whenever he was able, Teeling would return home to catch up with his friends and family and spend time with Carolyn. They were married in January 1969 while he was home on Christmas stand-down leave.

Teeling flew out of Sydney in the evening of 8 May 1969, and arrived in Saigon the following day. He learned that Carolyn was pregnant and was overjoyed at the news that he was going to be a father.

Teeling was posted to the 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on 23 May, but it was not until the morning of 6 June that he became a member of 10 Platoon, D Company. With D Company suffering reduced manpower due to courses and postings, Teeling found his new platoon being led by Sergeant Brian London.

D Company was the 1st Australian Task Force’s ready reaction company that day. Shortly after Teeling’s arrival, the company received a notice to move to the village of Binh Ba after being notified that two Australian armoured vehicles had been attacked as they drove past the village.

At 10 am, D Company, mounted in Armoured Personnel Carriers and escorted by Centurion Tanks, left Nui Dat for Binh Ba, arriving half an hour later.

After some preparatory fire from Royal Australian Air Force helicopter gunships, D Company, along with Centurion tank and APC support, began their advance into the village from the east. Fighting was heavy, forcing D Company’s platoons to break up into smaller teams to clear the houses as they advanced. After reaching the centre of the village, the assault stalled, and the Australians withdrew to take stock.

Further preparatory fire by Australian gunships hit the village to assist the men of D Company again with Centurion tank and APC support, in their next attack. As 10 Platoon neared the first line of houses, they again came under fire. Teeling was shot in the head and neck and was killed instantly. Sergeant London and another comrade ran to his aid, but found him already dead. They dragged his body out of the line of fire and continued clearing houses.

Teeling’s body was repatriated to Australia. He was laid to rest with full military honours in the Botany General Cemetery in Sydney on 18 June 1969. He was 21 years old, survived by his son Wayne, who was born after his father’s death.

Teeling’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with 521 others who died as a result of their service during the Vietnam War, and his photograph is displayed today 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 Private Wayne Edward Teeling, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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