Extract from an interview with Helen Frizzell, 12 June 2009
Reproduced with permission of George Gordon
So, you mentioned there the [South] Vietnamese police – is this the White Mice?
This is who were commonly called the White Mice. I don't know how they got that name. But, Denver Calder, who came to us as a, as a general practitioner for a six-month term, I remember Denver had quite a frightening first awareness of the White Mice. It was a Sunday morning and Denver had just arrived, and I said, ‘I'm going down the [city]. Would you like to come? We'll go walking down and have a look at the shops Denver and you'll see what the city's like?' He said, ‘well that'll be a good idea.'
So, we were walking down a street call Gia Long (?) Street which was busy, just like Princes Street in Dunedin, or Queen Street in Auckland. It was, you know – the part of the hub of the commercial centre and there were people everywhere. And, as Denver and I were strolling along looking at all these interesting shops and pots and pans, and all the other commodities of life, there was a burst of two or three gunshots. So, I gave Denver a nudge and said, ‘on the floor in that shop'. So we dived into this shop and lay on the floor. Then there seemed no more gunshots so we got up and went out. And, it was a one way street and a policeman on duty had seen a couple of cyclists coming the wrong way down the one way street. And, they didn't stop when he shouted at them, so he encouraged them to do so with a couple of gunshots.
So I indicated to, to Denver there and then, ‘make sure you follow the traffic laws when you're around here Denver. It's not like home – you won't just get a ticket'.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage