Army vets honoured

A crowd of more than 100 people from across the South West gathered in Collie over the weekend to mark the 53rd anniversary of The Battle of Long Tan.

Vets Remembered: Paige Scott, 14, of the 515 Australian Cadet Unit at Vietnam Veterans Day in Collie. Picture: Taylar Amonini.

Vets Remembered: Paige Scott, 14, of the 515 Australian Cadet Unit at Vietnam Veterans Day in Collie. Picture: Taylar Amonini.

The Collie-Cardiff RSL welcomed veterans, residents, dignitaries and loved ones from Harvey-Brunswick, Donnybrook, Busselton, Manjimup, Pemberton, Bunbury, Boyup Brook, Darkan, Greenbushes, Margaret River and Augusta for Vietnam Veterans Day on Saturday August 17.

Each year, the commemoration is held in a different South-West town, with Collie hosting for the first time since 2005.

More than 500 Australians lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and many of those who survived are still suffering from the trauma they went through.

The Battle of Long Tan saw 18 Australians killed, the most we had lost in any one Vietnam War battle at the time.

Fifty-four young men from Collie served in Vietnam and two didn't return - Lance Corporate Keith Dewar and Private James White.

Arriving home from the conflict, many were shunned and treated as the enemy due to many Australians not agreeing with the war.

Beginning with a march from the Collie-Cardiff War Memorial, members of South West RSLs, the 515 Australian Cadet Unit and members of the 5th Battalion made their way to Soldiers Park where they received a standing ovation from Collie Senior High School students and community members.

Collie-Cardiff RSL president Gary Benton addressed the crowd, followed by veteran and former Collie resident Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Lovell, who spoke of the war and those from the area who had fought and died.

The laying of the wreaths from each visiting town followed, as well as from the families of Lance Corporal Keith Dewar and Private James White.

Collie Senior High School student Brianah Briggs sounded the Last Post and Rouse while Bunbury's 515 Australian Cadet Unit led the Guard Commander March Of Catafalque Party.

Guests then walked to the Collie-Cardiff RSL club, where they enjoyed lunch and shared stories of their loved ones.