85 Transport Association

The home of past and present 85'ers

Our Contribution to the Army Museum

During WW2 and into the early 1960’s, the Army had a very large Ordnance centre at Bandiana in Northern Victoria. It had its own railway line, sidings and a mass of buildings that housed all sorts of stores and military equipment. In one of the old buildings (around 1940’s vintage) is the Army Museum. It houses an impressive collection of historical items and would take about a half day of time to see everything properly. It is open to the public, except on Sundays and Public Holidays.

We spent the morning there on Friday, along with other past and current members of 26 Transport Company / Troop and 85 Transport Platoon, to present an historical flag to the museum.  The flag had flown over the Company HQ during its first year in Vietnam and was the first flag of the RAASC (Royal Australian Army Service Corps, now the Royal Australian Corps of Transport) to fly outside Australia since World War 2. It has not been on display since 2001 when we at 85 Transport carried it in the Vietnam Veterans Day March iin Melbourne in 2001. We 85’ers paid for the restoration and framing of the flag so that it could become a permanent exhibit in the museum.

The flag was presented by Brigadier (Ret) Geoff Christopherson who was the first OC of 26 Company in Vietnam and was unveiled by WO2 Naomi Rockliffe and Robert Bruce of the 85 Transport Association.

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In addition to presenting the flag, Lt Col (Ret) Paul Asbury handed over a disk containing a collection of photographs that illustrate the history of the unit in Vietnam to Major Marcus Luciani, the current OC of 26 Squadron RACT. Members of the various units that served under 26 Company contributed to this album and further contributions are most welcome.

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Bruce Wilson of 85 Transport presented  a copy of his diary that he had kept in Vietnam to Major John Nelson the Manager of the Museum for him to include in the museum library. It can be read on his website at http://www.wilsons.id.au/vietnam-diary-march-1969-70/

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One Response to “Our Contribution to the Army Museum”

  • John Neenan says:

    I’m sorry to have to disabuse the worthies of 85 Platoon of their romantic notions about the flag.

    First of all, I ought to state that I raised the Logistic Support Company that served with 1 RAR at Bien Hoa in 1965-66. I didn’t get there myself (That’s another story) but I don’t think they would have flown an RAASC flag because, though the HQ was certainly RAASC, it was a unit of several
    corps.

    At very short notice, I took command of 87 Transport Platoon at Puckapunyal on 13 Apr 66 for movement to SVN. The night before we left for Sydney, HQ 26 Coy threw us a party, in the process of which some of my newly acquired band of brigands inscribed the Company flag with some very rude and lewd profanities. To redeem the miscreants I thought it only fair to pay the acting OC the price of a new flag. That desecrated RAASC flag was the first to fly over the sand hills at Vung Tau. It was subsequently stolen by, we believe, the criminal classes of 1 Platoon, and has never been seen since, despite its historical significance and searching inquiries over the last 49 years.

    A month or so before Christmas 1966 I received a letter from a Sutherland Shire organization that wanted their local lads in Viet Nam to get a present from Santa. What would I like? they asked. A new Corps flag I said. It duly arrived for Christmas, and that was the second Corps flag to fly in Viet Nam. It now adorns my home office.

    Do I hear delusionary weeping?

    Did I mention whose was the first Australian transport platoon in Viet Nam?


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