About the Vietnam Veterans' Roll
Copyright © Sandy Hayes, PO Box 175, Masterton 5840, New Zealand
The Vietnam List: A complete roll of those New Zealanders who served in the Republic of Viet Nam 1964-1975
This is a revised versionof the original gestetner copy of the "Flinkenberg List" compiled by Capt Conrad Flinkenberg, RNZA. Edited by Jack and Sandy Hayes
When we decided to take on this project in 1998, it was at the urging of our children who wanted to have something to show that their father had served in Vietnam. They told us "lots of other children and grandchildren will want this too" and their encouragement has kept us at it despite the time challenges and hard work in assembling and verifying this information. Thanks Michelle and David, we had no idea it would take twelve years to complete!
We would like to record with thanks the great support of the late Alan Nixey; Con Flinkenberg, Major Terry Brown, Anthony Staunton; Bill Rawiri, Howard Chamberlain, Pam Miley-Terry, Liz Cooper, Colonel (now Brigadier) Sean Trengrove; Brigadier (Rtd) Terry Nolan (Australian Army), the various executive members of the EVSA (Inc) and the many Vietnam Veterans and their families who willingly gave of their time and records while we drove them mad with ‘dumb questions' as we tried to verify every name and regimental number. A special thanks also for Air Vice Marshall (Rtd) Robin Klitscher in his role as National President of RNZRSA in completing this project. Thank you all for your patient support.
- This List was transcribed by hand from a rather poor quality photocopy of an original Gestetner copy of the Flinkenberg List. The photo copy was obtained from Alan Nixey, Secretary/Treasurer of EVSA, while I was the NZSAS Association Secretary. Despite vigorous searches, none of the original Gestetner copies seem to exist. Note: The National Army Museum in Waiouru would treasure an original gestetner printed copy.
- The list was word processed into Excel and Microsoft Word format to ensure that an electronic record remains of this ‘nominal roll'. We have added to the original roll an updated honours list, and a new section including all citations for Honours and Awards given to New Zealand servicemen in Vietnam. We have done this deliberately as there are many descendents of Vietnam Veterans who are totally unaware of what their husband, son, father, grandfather, brother or uncle did to earn that decoration.
- The generally negative response by the New Zealand public towards the Vietnam veterans in the early 1970s was part of the reason for this reluctance to speak about Vietnam (apart from when they were in the company of the mates they served with). After leaving the Army, many NZ Vietnam veterans avoided the RSA, seldom attended ANZAC Day Services and attended military funerals in civvies. It took some years for the pain and stigma to wear off. Sadly, there are many Vietnam Veterans who are still very bitter and still refuse to talk about their time in Vietnam.
- As this record is based on the names, Regt no's etc off the PAY RECORDS – there will be some errors in spelling. Many have been corrected with the invaluable assistance from Terry Brown and Howard Chamberlain, but only in so far as the Defence Personnel Records are correct. Where a person has changed names since serving in Vietnam the name recorded in this list will be the name recorded on pay records at the date of their deployment to Vietnam.
- Where it is known multiple tours have been completed by one individual we have shown all of the units served with. We know there are lots of gaps, especially in 161 Battery, where the recording of the number of tours of duty by gunners from Papakura was not always recorded.
- There may still be some names that are missing from this list, especially where individuals were posted from the 1RNZIR Battalion in Singapore as reinforcements.
- Finally a special thank you to my rock – Sandy. She kept me focused and encouraged. She has spent many, many hours checking and cross checking the minute detail. This completed work would not have been delivered without her help.
This work is the result of hours of work by a large number of volunteers who were all motivated by their desire to support their mates who served before, with or after them in a tough military environment. This bond with their Vietnam mates was made an even stronger when they received a generally hostile reception from the public, friends, work mates, and (in far too many cases), their extended family on their return home.
Vietnam was not a popular war in the eyes of the media at the time and the graphic television coverage by CNN did not help the perception of the viewers in New Zealand. It generally bore little resemblance to the operations completed by the professional soldiers who served in the best traditions of the Kiwi soldier. There was no conscription for the NZ service men and women who served in Vietnam – they all volunteered.
Apart from the Long Tan battle, there were few pitched battles between Battalions as portrayed by the Hollywood movie industry. As it is now fashionable to be a "Vietnam veteran", there has come with that a number of false claims of service by imposters and posers who wear medals they are not entitled to – this is simply part of the tableau of war and will not change.
This work is a memorial to those men who died on active service for New Zealand in the jungles of South Vietnam. But it is also in the memory of the many men and women that have died prematurely since their return to New Zealand without official recognition that their death was contributed to by their active service in Vietnam.
We acknowledge with heartfelt thanks, the bold speech by then Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, ONZM at the Tribute 08 gathering in June 2008, where he formally apologised to the Vietnam veterans for the way that their Defence Force failed to meet their needs after completion of their tour(s) of duty. A full copy of this speech is placed on this site as it delivered a valuable contribution to settling the concerns of many Vietnam veterans and their families.
The outstanding support by all members of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NZ Defence Force, the Royal New Zealand RSA and Veterans Affairs New Zealand has been crucial in getting this project completed in its current format.
Jack and Sandy Hayes
The Alphabetical Roll
Notes by the Editor:
- The roll is sorted alphabetically by SURNAME – note – spelt as shown in the Army Pay Records. This may include some errors in spelling for which we apologise.
- The Regimental Numbers shown again are as recorded in the Pay Records and may contain some errors. They do not include the alphabet letter prefix added after the Vietnam conflict ended.
- The rank shown is again off the pay records and may not always reflect the rank worn by New Zealanders in the Vietnam theatre. As far as we are able to establish, the rank recorded is the substantive rank at that time of deployment. The NZ Army did allow a number of NCO's and Officers to wear "acting rank" to allow them parity in status with their US or Australian peers – even though they may not have qualified for that rank by the regulations of the time.
- Where a second tour was served, the rank will generally show the rank at the time of the first tour.
- The unit shown was as recorded, we are aware that a number of personnel moved during their tour in theatre – this list records the unit through which they were paid.
- Where a second tour was served, the first unit was listed first and the second unit listed second. If the same unit was involved the number (2) is shown. Note that in the rifle companies, many soldiers served in two units in succession on the one TOD.
We welcome feedback on any errors and ask that you show photocopied proof of your request for changes e.g. discharge papers, birth certificate for names etc. Please send any requests for change through the Vietnam War Oral History Project: firstname.lastname@example.org or to Mrs Sandy Hayes, PO Box 175, Masterton 5840, New Zealand.
Please note that we have decided not to change the recorded names of those servicemen and women who have changed their names by deed poll or marriage after they served in Vietnam. They served their country on active service in that name and to record names changed after that service will lead to confusion. Footnotes record the changes that we are aware of and have been documented.
Finally, we have shown the decorations awarded in Vietnam against each individual's name. There are many that have deservedly been the recipients of awards from other theatres or through meritorious service following Vietnam - they are not recorded. The focus in this list is to recognise those awards made as a direct result of their service in Vietnam.
Notes by the Editor:
- All of these records have been added to the original Flinkenberg List produced by Con Flinkenberg.
- Strictly speaking ‘citations' are drawn up for bravery and gallantry while on operations e.g. Military Cross (MC), Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) etc. The award of an ‘Honour' e.g. an MBE is usually based on a ‘statement of Service', a ‘Recommendation' or on ‘Biographic Notes'.For ease of reference by families, these are all shown as ‘citations'.
- We have deliberately included citations for awards after service in Vietnam in the Queens Birthday or New Year Honours Lists where the citation referred to their service in Vietnam as a significant element in the award. This was because the New Zealanders served generally within the Australian Army rules and "the quota" for awards limited the opportunities for outstanding service to be recognised. It was realised that there were clearly cases that deserved recognition but it was not going to be achieved within the Australian system. These are shown with Queens Birthday or New Year and the year (QB 1969 or NY 1969) behind the award.
- For some years there has been little information available on what the individual citations said. Sadly, for a range of reasons, the family were often not aware of the citation wording. As time marches on and those with the personal knowledge of the events die, these citations will become an invaluable resource for the children and grandchildren of those men and women who proudly served New Zealand in Viet Nam.
Citations for Awards
The citations for as many of the awards as can be located are attached. The Commander of the Unit involved generally wrote these citations and if not based on their personal observation, they were certainly verified by others who did observe the action/s leading to the citation. Typically, the recipients regard these awards as a reflection of the support of their comrades in arms.
We would like to point out that in the past NZ Defence Dept did not make it a standard practice to present a written copy of these citations to the recipients. The recipients may have seen a signal, heard it read out on a Unit Parade, or partly listened while nervously standing in the Governor General's residence before the medal presentation - but most recipients and their families still do not have a copy in writing.
This exercise is dedicated to those men and women who were recognised by their peers for doing more than the average.
Finally, we have cross-referenced the names of the men wounded and killed where those actions are cited in the gallantry award citations (MC, DCM, MM, and MID's). We have done this deliberately to remove the anonymity associated with the convention of citation wording. Where further information is available on the incident/s from Regimental Histories, we have added these as additional notes so the families can understand some of the circumstances leading up to the action and the names of those men who were directly involved.
We would like to record with thanks the excellent work completed by Terry Brown, a succession of Military Secretary's, and the Personnel Branch team in HQ NZ Defence Force, Wellington for their willing assistance in locating copies of many of these awards. The staff at the Honours Secretariat, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) are also thanked for their patient searching and advice as we trawled through old newspapers and records to find the awards presented "out of theatre" – generally as part of the New Year or Queens Birthday Honours List after their return to NZ.
The DCM citations have been confirmed from NZDF records. They can also be found in the excellent reference book "The Complete NZ Distinguished Conduct Medal" by Alan Polaschek.
The RNZAF Citations have been confirmed from NZDF records. They are also available in full (along with a wide range of other citations) in the excellent reference book "By Such Deeds" by Group Captain Colin Hanson, OBE, RNZAF (Retired).
Note that there are a number of gaps in the RNZAF citations – this was due to the citations for all RNZAF Awards between 1949 and 1979 being destroyed by a Records Clerk in a fit of enthusiasm. Lost citations are noted by the words "No citation available". Many of the RNZAF citations also have ‘Notes to the Citation' thanks to the excellent research work completed by Colin Hanson. Finally, some of the RNZAF citations for awards made long after their service in South Vietnam have been edited to keep the focus on their Vietnam service contribution to the award. We have noted those citations with (edited). Full copies of these citations are available in "By Such Deeds" by Colin Hanson.
Family members are encouraged to copy these citations and to record them in a suitable format so that the descendants of these brave men and women will understand a little better what those medals stand for.
Awards are listed in order of seniority, then by rank in alphabetic order. Dates of the award are not always included as we have not been able to untangle the conflicting dates cited in the documentation associated with each award.
There is still work to do on some awards where there is little recorded in the NZ Defence Force Personal Files, the Gazette offices in Wellington, Canberra and London and the numbers of survivors continue to lower each year.
Finally, we commend two websites to you for detailed reference and background to thee awards.