Time brings perspective

Morris Danks. Picture: Jon Hewson. d441758
Morris Danks. Picture: Jon Hewson. d441758

Sixty thousand Australians were involved in the war from 1962 to 1973, including conscripts like Mr Danks forced to serve or spend two years at the Karnet Prison Farm.

In just one day, on August 18, 1966, 18 Australian soldiers died and many more were wounded in what is remembered as the Battle of Long Tan.

�My old man had a farm in Kukerin I was working on and I was called up to the National Servicemen. When I first got the papers I was 18 but went over about 19 or 20,� Mr Danks said.

Before he left for Vietnam as a driver for the 86 Transport Platoon he proposed to Barbara who was living in Balga at the time. They fostered their love during the war, sending messages recorded on audio tapes because Mr Danks said he was a bad writer.

When he entered Vietnam he was expecting adventure and said the experience no longer holds difficult memories, eased by the support of his family and the fact he was removed from the frontline by providing transport.

�I never shot anyone, no one shot me. But I realised afterwards we could have been blown up at any time.�

He said the hardest part was coming home.

�When we came back we were the bad buggers for going,� he said,

Eighteen years later, a welcome home parade was held in Sydney which he initially felt embarrassed about attending but said it offered healing.

A few years ago, he returned to Vietnam at Barbara�s beckoning to visit the memorial placed on the site of battle.

�I was never really that fussed about going back to Vietnam but Barbara wanted to go and I�m glad I did,� Mr Danks said.

�They were good soldiers, well-trained. I respect the blokes that fought.�

Tuesday�s service will be at the Kwinana War Memorial, Pace Road, Medina at 11am.