Howard Dillon's story

Howard Frederick Dillon was born on 28 August 1939 in Campsie, New South Wales.

Inspired by his father's service as a chaplain with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in New Guinea in 1942, Howard joined the Australian Army as a chaplain.

Howard married Aileen not long after they met, before he was deployed to South Vietnam. His deployment to Vietnam would change him forever.

In 1969, eager and naive, Howard served with 1 Australian Field Hospital[Australian War Memorial] at Vung Tau, providing pastoral care to the soldiers. He found the realities of war confronting and recalled that, at times, he was unsure that he was even making an impact.

Howard was reminded that when the nursing staff were saving someone's life, his role was integral. He was a soldier's 'normal'. A representative of family. Someone who would, during surgery, hold a hand, stroke a forehead and pray for them.

Back home, Howard continued his career in the Army. He helped with character training courses that were part of basic army training in Puckapunyal, Victoria, and in Sydney, New South Wales. Howard helped reshape the course and highlighted the key role of chaplaincy in the Australian armed forces, while sharing Christian guidance with thousands of service personnel.

In 1973, Howard transferred to the Army Reserve and was appointed rector of St Jude's in Bowral, New South Wales. His service in Vietnam and the suffering he witnessed had a lasting impact. He moved to Melbourne, where he led the Mission to St James and St John, caring for underprivileged people in the community. He believed that the highest calling in his ministry was to show compassion and empathy with the distressed and suffering.

Howard continued his work in the Army Reserve and was elected as a member of the General Synod's Defence Force Board, where he gave advice to the then Chaplain-General and Bishop of the Armed Forces.

Returning to Sydney, Howard became Chief Executive of Anglicare and continued his work to help underprivileged people.

Howad died in 2009, survived by his wife Aileen and their children.


Last updated: 25 November 2022

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Howard Dillon's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 27 May 2023, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories/oral-histories/howard-dillons-story
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