Service as a medic - Colin Whyte

Submitted by Editorial team on

Extract from an interview with Louisa Knight, 20 March 2008

Reproduced with permission of Colin Whyte

Colin, could you just tell us, you served in Vietnam in 1968, what were the details about that service, who were you serving with, what was your role?

I was a medic with the 161 Battery, New Zealand artillery at Nui Dat. We were based at Nui Dat, we went out mainly from there, and my job covered everything from hygiene in the camp and wherever we went, water supply, treating anyone who was ill or wounded, dealing with problems, where there's mental problems. I also had to do the normal things a soldier does like perimeter defence, standing guard duty, which I hated. Getting up about 2 o'clock in the morning to stand up in a tower and gaze out for a couple of hours, then try and go back to bed and go sleep. I hated that, but never mind. Also I did other jobs like perimeter defence, and any other jobs that the BK would ask me to do and the BK loved to give me jobs. Major Stewart, he'd get me to set up the officer's tents and [putting me] in charge of men, things like that. He seemed to think I was a spare hand so when they set up the command post, there's about 300 sandbags have to be filled and stacked a certain way, and it has to be dug out and it has to be set up, and they just come and move into it, you know, and things like that. So, I was really a dog's body as well as a medic.


Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage

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