Australian veterans return belongings and artefacts taken during war in Vietnam

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Australian veterans return belongings and artefacts taken during war in Vietnam

Post by Guest on Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:54 am

Decades after the war in Vietnam there are still what locals call “wandering souls” – Vietnamese people killed during combat, whose bodies were never recovered.

Two years ago a small group of Australian veterans began a journey to help mend the wounds of their one-time enemies, and named their mission Operation Wandering Souls. This week, under the stewardship of Dr Bob Hall from the Australian Defence Force Academy, they went back to Vietnam. The purpose of the trip was to return artefacts and belongings taken by Australian soldiers during the war to their rightful home. Items being returned included a wrist watch, a note book of song lyrics, photographs, a collection of letters and book of handwritten poems.

Ian Williamson went to war when he was just 20 years old. In June 1971 he shot dead a Viet Cong soldier during his first battle in a foreign land. “He was hit by three rounds and he would have been dead before he hit the ground, so I was quite relieved he wasn’t going to suffer,” Mr Williamson said. “I was there to do a job and I was trained to do it,” he said. “I did it and I didn’t even think. I was just trained so well.” Later that day Mr Williamson said his platoon commander gave him a hammock and compass belonging to the Vietnamese soldier.

Mr Williamson later learned that soldier had been just 15 years old.



http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/australian-veterans-return-belongings-artefacts-taken-war-vietnam.html

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