Jim Richmond (Australian Army), The Battle of Long Tan

Running time
2 min 23 sec
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Jim Richmond served with the Australian Army in Vietnam, and in 1966 was wounded during the Battle of Long Tan.

Transcript

In August 1966, 105 Australian and three New Zealand soldiers held out against an enemy force of over 2,000. It was in a rubber plantation near Long Tan. Jim Richmond was there.

"There was that much fire coming in - there was small like, the rubber trees around us, they were getting just like a magic finger was taking bits of rubber from the trees themselves. It was just, there was that much noise. You couldn't hear, like you're yelling out to your mates if they were okay but the noise was that bad that you couldn't try to find out how your friends were.

And the enemy fire, they were coming from the trees, from the ground. We were being overrun; we called in for artillery support. And a couple of those shots went, well a couple of drop shots, that they come instead of hitting the enemy, they fell a bit short and that's when I was wounded.

It was like getting hit with about a twenty-eight pound sledgehammer. There was no pain but it felt as if me stomach was driven into the ground and me head and shoulders were like me feet and head were sort of meeting each other at the middle."

When the survivors of his platoon pulled back, Jim still lay on the battlefield. He was badly wounded.

"I started to pray during the night. I've never prayed for a long time. And I just hoped that if I could get through that night I promised the big fellow up top that I'd go back to church again. But I broke them promises when I come back home anyway."

The next morning, Jim's company returned.

"Then I heard Sergeant Buick's voice. So I put me hand up. He's not a good looking bloke Bob, but I nearly could have kissed him that day anyway, so.

The dream I have all the time is all the young blokes that were killed on the day I still see their faces. Like Doug, Shorty, Mitch, Glen, you still tell them that when I wake up in that morning you know, that next morning that they'd all wake up with me, but they never do."

18 Australians died and 24 were wounded. The enemy lost hundreds.

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