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2nd Lt Dave Paterson commanded 8 Platoon - Killed In Action 20 March 1971 Huey Charlie Company Site Banner, displaying the RAR Corps Badge, US Presidential Citation, Vietnam Campaign Ribbons & Infantry Combat Badge
Stories

The Missing Camera

After six months or so, every last one of us in 9 Platoon was told that if everything went to plan we could all have a week off. The Skipper called it R&R. I didn't really care what it was called, if it started with an "R" I'd be in it. As I understand it, some of the troops went to Bangkok, Australia or, other places of interest. John Adams stepped up for his 5 or 6 days in the land of glory (Bangkok) and he didn't have a camera. For the life of me I don't know what the hell he wanted a bloody camera for. Before his departure, we were all in the J and no one had time to go buy John this little toy.

He'd been bugging me for days about giving my camera to him, with the promise that if it was lost he'd buy me another on his return. Now the camera that I had bought myself, was the best thing that I'd ever owned, and the photos that I took with it were outstanding. For days I was trying to give John reasons why he couldn't borrow it. It wasn't that I didn't trust him. I just had a feeling that if I let him, or anybody else for that matter, borrow it, it would be gone forever. I loved that camera. Marko never lent his stereo to anyone did he, well not while he was still in Vietnam. (He's still got the bloody thing wrapped up in the shed at home). After John gave me the biggest sob story of all time, and told me that after the War he would take me flying, (I'm still waiting) I relented and gave it to him. His face lit up like a Christmas tree. Gee! If I'd known it meant that much to him I'd have given it to him sooner. As he climbed onto the chopper he was still telling me how the camera would be looked after. At that very moment I knew it was the last time I would lay eyes on my Yashica.

Pte. Adams was now somewhere in Bangkok, and having a wonderful time with my camera. I couldn't help but wonder how many shots he was taking. Most of the guys that I'd run into who had been to Thailand said they didn't have time to take photos. After all, there are better things to do while in Bangkok. Six or seven days had passed, and Johnny the camera man was back. The soldier that left us a week earlier was now a different person, his eyes were sort of closed, his skin almost white and his hair was all over the place. He was still wearing the same clothes that he left in. I've seen John when there's been a few drinks to be had, but he's never looked like this before.

Obee with his YashikaAfter telling us all about the trip and what he got up to, it was time to ask about my camera. I could tell he was avoiding the whole bloody subject, and there was no sight of my camera around his neck. It didn't look good. He told me that for most of the time he was away, he was drunk and couldn't remember very much. While being in that state, he had run out of money and needed to buy a few items (coffee I think). The only thing he had left was my camera. Guess what! He sold the damn thing. My camera was now a thing of the past, as far as I was concerned anyway. One thing a digger could always count on, was his mate. Yes! If someone was going to stuff up, it was always a mate. John did, however, buy a replacement. It was the same as the one that I'd lent him, but it wasn't as good and I was never to take a decent photo again.

(Paul O'Brien)

We did our job

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by Bob Wood, Tony Cox, Bob Lewis & members of C Coy
1999 -
Disclaimer:This site has no official links with the Army, Department of Defence, The Royal Australian Regiment or 3 RAR. The site is purely a personal page of recollections & photos of our great adventure and the blokes that shared that adventure. Any errors or omissions are accidental and regretted. Please email the Author and they will be corrected.
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