Francis Adrian Roberts - Long Tan - Part 4

Running time
2 min 16 sec

Department of Veterans' Affairs


That's when the CO finally got to us and he asked my troop officer who was carrying... which I did and the fire was enormous. One of the things that stays with me is all the rubber trees exploding with white sap. It doesn't look like any more like it did then but then it looked like a great big green cathedral, fairly clean underneath, so we did that and then he asked us to break it off and we did and we came down at an angle and formed a line between D Company and the enemy but there was no more fighting.

All we could see was just, because it was quite dark by that stage, all you could hear was the groaning noise of people crawling away, whatever. We stayed there for, I don't know, an hour or whatever it was while the CO and Harry Smith made up their mind what they were going to do next.

I was looking at my map. We had these wonderful Picto maps that were photographs but they've got the grids on, see that out to the west where we were at the edge of the rubber was a banana plantation which looked pretty clear ground so eventually we loaded up D Company and I put the dead on the front carrier in case we were hit going out, told the blokes to herring bone, that's, all, if we were hit but nothing happened.

The CO of 6RAR of A Company, a little number of B Company that was there, they followed us out and when we got out of the area, formed a hollow square with the cargo hatches open and the interior lights on and I stood out in the middle of this square with my radio operator, Jock McCormick and we guided the helicopters in. I'd never done that before. I didn't actually know. A couple of years later I was on a special course and I learnt how to do that.

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