New Zealand veterans from the Vietnam War will gather at Auckland Museum this evening for the launch of a book that recalls their experiences as part of New Zealand’s longest and most controversial military engagement of the 20th century.
Tuesday 2 September has been chosen for the Auckland launch event because it marks the anniversary of New Zealand’s first infantryman killed in action in Vietnam.
Victory Company section commander Morrie Manton was killed in a mine explosion on the Long Green, a renowned Viet Cong stronghold in Phuoc Tuy province.
No front line book cover.
Manton’s story is recalled in No Front Line: Inside stories of New Zealand’s Vietnam War, a book has been written for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage by historian Claire Hall.
Compiled from more than 150 veteran interviews recorded by the Ministry over five years, No Front Line is told in the voices of those who were there. It is an absorbing, frank and sometimes shocking account of New Zealand’s Vietnam War.
It takes readers on operations with gunners, infantrymen, pilots and troopers to face the fear and heartbreak of devastating loss.
The book includes important reflections from non-combatant engineers, defence and civilian medics, aid workers and administrators. It profiles civilian and service personnel treating Vietnamese casualties in provincial hospitals. Back home in New Zealand, veterans’ families recall the war’s reach into the suburbs – both then and now.
It also places on record the integral role of women in Vietnam as nurses, doctors, aid workers, journalists and entertainers.
The book will be launched at 6pm, in the Auckland Museum atrium, by former SAS troop commander and Auckland Museum visitor host Terry Culley, and Victor Company platoon commander Ray Beatson. Both men are profiled in No Front Line.
Updated on 23rd July 2015