Photographer soldier in Vietnam

Wartime 86 features the story of 20-year-old Tasmanian Paul Macmichael, an ABC cameraman conscripted for service during the Vietnam War. Rather than serve with the Education Corps, Macmichael opted for front line service with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Below are more of his candid photographs, a personal record of war.

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Kate Dethridge, Curator
Photographs, Film and Sound

25 May 1966. Family and friends farewell Australian soldiers as HMAS Sydney departs for Vietnam. Identified in the orange coat, centre, is Patricia (Pat) Macmichael, Miss Tasmania 1961 and sister of the photographer 6708256 Trooper Paul Nicholas Macmichael, who was departing with 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron for service.

Personnel Carrier Squadron, sits on top of an APC on the deck of HMAS Sydney (en route to Vung Tau). Cpl Clements died on 27 August 1966, aged 21, from wounds received at the Battle of Long Tan.

June – August 1966 Framed by the Long Hai hills, a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter hovers over M113A1 APCs of 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron on the beach in the village of Xa Long-Hai.

June 1966 – April 1967. Australian infantry and men of 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron rest momentarily on a group of M113A1 APCs. Identified in the image are 16666 Trooper (Tpr) William Gordon (Bill) Gelhaar (front right, helmet), 14574 Tpr Noel Lowes (hands on head) and 214560 Sergeant Francis Alan (Frank) Graham (wearing black beret), all of 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron.

19 August 1966. The body of a Viet Cong soldier lies on the rubber plantation floor following the Battle of Long Tan.

19 August 1966. Dust off at Long Tan during Operation Smithfield.

June- December 1966. Men of the 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron gamble on a dice game. Identified left to right: 1731106 Trooper (Tpr) John Joseph Delacey (face concealed), 3787066 Tpr John Callow, 2782108 Tpr Robert Charles (Bob) Tetley (holding note at rear of table), 3786844 Tpr Noel Francis Milikins, 216502 Tpr Douglas Thomas Lennox (beret on, cigarette in mouth), 16666 Tpr William Gordon (Bill) Gelhaar (collecting cash), 37413 Corporal James (Jim) Stone and 4717545 Trooper Maxwell Leigh (Max) Nicolson. On 22 October 1969, during his second tour of Vietnam with B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, the then Sergeant Stone was wounded in the neck during an ambush near Phu My in the western sector of Phuoc Tuy Province. His injuries resulted in quadraplegia. James Stones died on 23 December 1991.

June 1966-January 1967. Men of 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) inspect a FIAT Millicento 1100 at a highway check point. The photographer of this image, 6708256Trooper Paul Nicholas Macmichael, an APC driver with 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron, raced this make of car at the Touring Car Handicap at Longford Circuit, Tasmania in 1965, just prior to being called up in the first intake of national service in June 1965.

June 1966 – February 1967. 216502 Trooper Douglas Thomas (Doug) Lennox, 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron, 'brewing up' (a cup of tea) on a petrol "choofer" stove in the back of APC 22A (Alpha).

17 February 1967. 2 Troop, A Squadron, 3 Cavalry Regiment (left row) and 3 Troop (right row) prepare to move during Operation Bribie. Identified in the foreground with the blond hair is 215419 Corporal David William "Surfie" Davies. Cpl Davies served a second tour.