3793130 Trooper (Tpr) Norman John 'Normie' Rowe, A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Royal ...

Accession Number EKT/69/0009/VN
Collection type Photograph
Object type Colour - Film original transparency (positive) other
Maker Combe, David Reginald
Place made Vietnam: Bien Hoa Province, Fire Support Base Kerry
Date made February 1969
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


3793130 Trooper (Tpr) Norman John 'Normie' Rowe, A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC), of Melbourne, Vic, relaxes with his guitar in a tent at Fire Support Base Kerry. Prior to his conscription into the army, Rowe was a popular recording star in Australia. He began his singing career while a young teenager and gathered a youthful following. After producing his first record in 1965, he quickly rose to national fame, becoming Australia's 'King of Pop' in 1968. Rowe's musical career was interrupted in late 1967 when he was called up for National Service. His basic training at Puckapunyal, Victoria, was closely followed by the press. He subsequently completed a tour of duty in Vietnam with A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, RAAC from January to December 1969. During his tour of duty he rose through the ranks to corporal, and eventually the crew commander of an armoured personnel carrier. He described the work as "out on the highway, protection for vehicle convoys and land-clearing team . . . taking in infantry, and things like that". Whilst serving in Vietnam, Rowe also lent his musical talents to the entertainment of the troops, performing in several concerts with other Australian entertainers at the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) base at Nui Dat, South Vietnam. He also featured in the 1969 Christmas show, broadcast on the United States Armed Forces television network throughout South Vietnam. After his discharge from the Army in February 1970, Rowe found it difficult to recapture the massive success he had enjoyed prior to his military service. Nevertheless, he gradually re-established himself in the entertainment industry and later moved into television, theatre, and recording. In 1987 he had an important role in the stage musical Les Miserables. He closely identifies himself with Vietnam veterans groups and actively supports them. Rowe has said of his National Service days: "You can look at your life and say that wasn't fair and that killed your career . . . or you can look back and take out of that segment of your life whatever was good. The best friends that I've got are Vietnam veterans".

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