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Vietnam Veterans’ Day: Albany marks 50th anniversary of withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam War

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Keynote speaker Major Mike Murphy (retired).
Camera IconKeynote speaker Major Mike Murphy (retired). Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany marked the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of Australian combat troops from Vietnam on Sunday, with a poignant service at the Albany RSL headquarters on Stirling Terrace.

As rain fell on the South-East Asian Memorial atop Mt Adelaide, the service was moved indoors, with the City of Albany band starting proceedings with a concert of songs from the era.

Albany RSL Vietnam Veterans’ Day.
Camera IconAlbany RSL Vietnam Veterans’ Day. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany RSL president Helen Tasker opened the service, followed by a prayer from the Reverend Karen Cave.

Keynote speaker Major Mike Murphy (retired), the commander of a tracker platoon, recounted the day he left Vietnam as part of the 4th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, the last to leave Nui Dat in November 1971.

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Albany RSL members Andy Roberts, Tim Lowndes and Michael Gilmartin.
Camera IconAlbany RSL members Andy Roberts, Tim Lowndes and Michael Gilmartin. Credit: Laurie Benson

He paid tribute to the service people who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who still bear the scars of war, as well as the tracker dogs who had to be left behind.

Over a decade, about 60,000 Australians served in the defence of South Vietnam, with more than 3000 Australians wounded and 521 killed in the conflict.

Mike Murphy's wreath at the Vietnam Veterans’ Day Service.
Camera IconMike Murphy's wreath at the Vietnam Veterans’ Day Service. Credit: Laurie Benson

Wreaths were laid at the foot of three white crosses, symbolising the three Albany men who never returned home from South Vietnam — Pte Ron Bell, Sapper Alan Duncuf and Pte John McQuat.

City of Albany Band conductor Cynthia Van Dongen.
Camera IconCity of Albany Band conductor Cynthia Van Dongen. Credit: Laurie Benson
City of Albany Band's David Rastrick.
Camera IconCity of Albany Band's David Rastrick. Credit: Laurie Benson
RSL's Roger Smith.
Camera IconRSL's Roger Smith. Credit: Laurie Benson
RSL's Michael Tugwell.
Camera IconRSL's Michael Tugwell. Credit: Laurie Benson
RSL Albany Sub Branch president Helen Tasker.
Camera IconRSL Albany Sub Branch president Helen Tasker. Credit: Laurie Benson
RSL's Steve Morrow.
Camera IconRSL's Steve Morrow. Credit: Laurie Benson
City of Albany Band conductor Cynthia Van Dongen.
Camera IconCity of Albany Band conductor Cynthia Van Dongen. Credit: Laurie Benson
Tributes to three Albany men who lost their lives in South Vietnam.
Camera IconTributes to three Albany men who lost their lives in South Vietnam. Credit: Laurie Benson
Mike Murphy and Brett Ward.
Camera IconMike Murphy and Brett Ward. Credit: Laurie Benson
City of Albany Band's Colin France.
Camera IconCity of Albany Band's Colin France. Credit: Laurie Benson
A wreath to honour tracker dogs was laid at Vietnam Veterans’ Day.
Camera IconA wreath to honour tracker dogs was laid at Vietnam Veterans’ Day. Credit: Laurie Benson

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