The Royal New Zealand Artillery
The ANZAC Day service started to look very interesting this year about 2 weeks out from the day. First got a request to assist with a visiting party from HMNZS Te Mana, which was going to be in Ho Chi Minh City at that
time. They were going to send a group of 10 pers to attend the service, included in the group was the grandson of Graham BIRCH.
I had also received an email from a V. Vet. who was living in Thailand. This was from John GOSNEY, who was with the LAD detachment at Vung Tau and Nui Dat in 1966. Before that, John had travelled to England with the Gunners on "Powerhorn". After retirement from the Army, John had continued to work on the "big outside" before moving to Thailand where he has been for the last 6 years. For personal reasons, John has only ever attended one ANZAC Day service but after some emails, he decided to come to Vung Tau and attend ANZAC Day 2013, at Long Tan. This was a very big step forward for John and I think that the end result was more than worth it. We both killed many brain cells as a lead-up to ANZAC Day. I had also offered to lay wreaths at Long Tan on behalf of the EVSA and the Gunners Assn. I had ordered two wreaths/floral displays from my local florist and made up two signs for them, stating they were from the President and members of each Assn. In the end, John laid the EVSA wreath and I laid the Gnrs Assn one. A couple of photos are attached.
John has since moved on to Hoi An and Hanoi and is due back in Vung Tau at the end of this week.
The service at Long tan had a great Kiwi flavour to it as there was a North Island tour group there, local Kiwis from Saigon/Vung Tau and the group from Te Mana. The NZ Ambassador spoke very well but was hidden from our view because of the crowd, which I guess to be around 400 plus. It was good that I was able to hand out Kiwi poppies where I could and have asked the Christchurch RSA to send me over some more for next year.
This is my second year of attending the ANZAC Day service at Long Tan and I have to say that it is very moving and, as with all ANZAC Day services , a great display of the true ANZAC spirit.
It was a pleasure to lay those wreaths on behalf of the EVSA and NZ Gunners Assn. and would be quite happy to do it again next year. I have since found a printer who will print off for me, a banner to go with each wreath.
I hope ANZAC Day went well for everyone and I hope the year ahead finds everyone healthy and wealthy.
Regards to All,
Coming to you from Vung Tau. Find me if you can.