Anzac Ode at Saturday's game in Ballarat was read by William 'Bill' Akell

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footscray1973

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As onfield is depressing atm, just a slight diversion.

As I stood uo before the game with everyone else on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised (in fact a chill went down my spine) when the announcer said the Anzac Ode would be read by retired Major William Akell.

For any who know details of the battle of Long Tan in Vietnam, Bill 'Yank' Akell was a signalman in that battle, later mentioned in dispatches. As soon as he started with "they shall not grow old..." I recognised his distinctive voice from numerous Long Tan documentaries I've watched.

I never realised he is a Ballarat resident.

It was a privilege to be in the presence of a genuine Australian legend.

Also, when Bill Akell took part in the rubber plantation battle at Long Tan, he was a 19yo private. Two of my boys are 21 and 18. It's just mind-blowing.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
 

_Mike_

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This was a pretty fair docco on Long Tan including interviews given by members of D Company. Some have now passed, such as Cpl Buddy Lea & Cpt Morrie Stanley who gave some pretty harrowing accounts of what they experienced.

 

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footscray1973

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This was a pretty fair docco on Long Tan including interviews given by members of D Company. Some have now passed, such as Cpl Buddy Lea & Cpt Morrie Stanley who gave some pretty harrowing accounts of what they experienced.


Yeah, that one is excellent, one of the best Vietnam docos I've ever seen, have watched it so many times I know parts of it by heart.

Morrie Stanley was the Kiwi forward observer embedded with the Aussie patrols to co-ordinate NZ artillery. The part where he talks about having to call in artillery strikes virtually on top of the platoons at the point of being over-run, and his voice catches with emotion even after so many years, gets me every time.
 

_Mike_

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Yeah, that one is excellent, one of the best Vietnam docos I've ever seen, have watched it so many times I know parts of it by heart.

Morrie Stanley was the Kiwi forward observer embedded with the Aussie patrols to co-ordinate NZ artillery. The part where he talks about having to call in artillery strikes virtually on top of the platoons at the point of being over-run, and his voice catches with emotion even after so many years, gets me every time.

Had it not been for Morrie's efforts, arguably D Company would have been lost in battle
 

footscray1973

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Had it not been for Morrie's efforts, arguably D Company would have been lost in battle
There's a video I've seen where Harry Smith and Bob Buick (I think) amongst other Aussie Long Tan vets surprised a very frail and terminally ill Morrie Stanley in NZ for a presentation of an Australian Govt retrospective bravery award.

I saved this link, but can't find the video atm.

 

Chicago1

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One of the diggers in the procession at the MCG yesterday was a former colleague of mine who served in Vietnam. Great guy. Retired after a bazillion years at the school.
 

_Mike_

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There's a video I've seen where Harry Smith and Bob Buick

There has been a bit of controversy surrounding Bob Buick’s alleged actions during the battle which weren’t portrayed in either the movie or docco. Fair point to say that those who were there in 11 platoon and who survived know what went down.

Whichever side you believe he got the survivors of 11 platoon out.
 

footscray1973

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There has been a bit of controversy surrounding Bob Buick’s alleged actions during the battle which weren’t portrayed in either the movie or docco. Fair point to say that those who were there in 11 platoon and who survived know what went down.

Whichever side you believe he got the survivors of 11 platoon out.
Yeah, I know _Mike_ . I've read Don Tate's version (who also alleges Smith was arrogant and incompetent), and there are other assessments of Buick as a bully in camp and a coward under fire.

Having read fairly widely on the battle, I tend to give more credence to Kendall, Sabben, Stanley and the pilots as their versions are generally not in dispute.

Either way, I wasn't there and have to rely on the various versions from various authors, whilst always being conscious that everyone will have their own biases (conscious or not) - whether they actually participated or not.

Isn't history great?!
 

D Mitchell

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Don't forget the Iroquois helicopter pilots of 9RAAF who supplied the diggers in the dark of night despite USAF refusal to risk valuable helicopters.
 

footscray1973

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and Grandin, 2 pilots in each Iroquois. They had to fly around a couple of times too, as they saw the wrong coloured smoke:


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