Original Post: 25 April 2006
This is my ANZAC Day tribute posting. ANZAC Day means a great deal for me and my family. I suppose it is because we have a connection to the original ANZACS in 1915 and Gallipoli and to a veteran of a war much fresher in our minds, Viet Nam.
Firstly I pay tribute to my Great Grand-father Harry Crozier. I never really knew him, he died many years ago. Harry served in the Gallipoli campaign and thankfully came home alive albeit with only one working leg. I know he spent considerable time in Rotorua convalescing and learned to carve maori carvings as part of his rehabilitation.
The second person I pay tribute to is a guy who truly epitomises the ANZAC spirit. He is an Aussie, living in New Zealand who fought for New Zealand in Viet Nam. He is married to a Kiwi and has three Kiwi kids, and three Kiwi grand kids. He is also my Father-in-law.
41873 Gnr Atkins KG 161 Bty was in Viet Nam in 1966. Based in Nui Dat and one of the first to arrive and establish the Base and gun positions. “Oz” participated in the famous Battle of Long Tan where the Kiwi guns were instrumental in saving 3 platoons of D Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment(6RAR) and enabling the thrashing of a Regiment of Viet Cong.
Each gun fired over 1200 rounds that day and night in support of the Aussies. The battle was fought in a rubber tree plantation near the village of Long Tan, about 40 km north-east of Vung Tau, South Vietnam on August 18–19, 1966. The battle was fought all afternoon and most of the night in pouring monsoon rain. The guns ran so hot that wet blankets were draped over them in an attempt to keep the barrels cool.
Kevin tells many stories of his time in Viet Nam but they are not at all “warry” to use his term. They speak a simple truth that war is tough and brutal. He often says he hopes his children never have to go to war and thankfully they probably won’t have to.
It seems so long ago, yet for some only yesterday. The Government to this day still treats veterans with disdain with their handling, and obfuscation of the Agent Orange scandal. I say a scandal because that is what it is. You need only ask any veteran about Agent Orange and they will tell you they weren’t just sprayed with they were doused in it, they drank water soaked with it and were often wet to their socks with Agent Orange. Check out this photo of Nui Dat in 1966 . Every country in Viet Nam at the time has acknowledged it happened and compensated their veterans and New Zealand continues to deny it occurred and continues to hold spurious enquiries. [The Government has since said “Sorry”, if it was at all possible to say sorry without actually saying the word, but for me it was too little, too late] Read more »