Arthur Law's story

Arthur Alfred Law was born on 13 October 1942 in Northumberland, England. Both his parents served in World War II, his father in the Royal Navy and his mother with the Royal Air Force. In 1949, the family migrated to Australia and settled in Port Melbourne.

Arthur served in the school cadets and the Citizen Military Forces. His father had insisted he learn a trade. After school, he trained as a refrigeration mechanic with Frigrite in Port Melbourne. In 1962, before he could put his trade to practice, he joined the regular Australian Army.

Travelling was what inspired Arthur to join the Army. With some encouragement from a platoon sergeant, he applied for infantry in the hope of being posted to Malaya. After training at Ingleburn, he was posted to 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). It became quickly apparent to Arthur that Malaya would be no holiday. As a soldier, when you were not at war, your time was spent training for war.

Posted to Papua New Guinea in 1964, Arthur spent 3 months patrolling in the harsh Papuan jungles before returning to Australia. It would prove a valuable preparation for what was to come.

As a Lance Corporal, Arthur deployed with 1 RAR to Vietnam in May 1965. The battalion was attached to the US Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade. Its role was to protect the Bien Hoa airfield alongside US soldiers. Arthur remembers the distinct differences in tactical warfare between the Australians and Americans.

Only weeks before he was due to return home, Arthur was wounded in Operation Silver City, a heliborne assault. Eternally grateful for the US evacuation and hospital system, Arthur returned to Australia to recover.

It wasn't until he returned from Vietnam that he realised the feelings society had towards the war. Hateful comments were directed at him. Not wanting to cause trouble, and to stay out of fights, he refrained from telling people he was in the Army.

Arthur continued to serve in the Army for a further 17 years.

Last updated: 13 February 2023

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2023), Arthur Law's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 3 October 2023,
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