Trips to the beach - Avis Wilkes

Submitted by Editorial team on

Extract from interview with Helen Frizzell, 14 May 2010

Reproduced with permission of Avis Wilkes

So, we’ve, we’ve got the trolley rounds, the shopping, the Medevac. Trips to the beach and other places?

...trips to the beach, that was again an occupational therapy, if you like. We had a very nice beach. The water was lukewarm; it was pretty unappetizing in a way, lots of sea snakes. But it was a very pleasant place. So I used to, if there were any, you know, the walking wounded, I would pile them into the Land Rover. This was something that, I don't think the Aussie girls ever did this. But I used to pile them into the Land Rover, and I'd take them down to the beach. And if they could, they'd have a swim. And of course it was good, if they had, if they had anything, wounds or anything, salt water was good for them. So they'd get in and they'd have a swim. But they always went in their pyjamas, so that they didn't, they couldn't escape me, they couldn't go anywhere. So I used to cart this Land Rover full of men round in their pyjamas. We used to do, I can remember, we had a little sort of Cook's tour that we used to do round and look at some local pagodas and through the villages and, sort of local, local spots that were, yeah there were, there were some pagodas and, some of the little hamlets were very pretty. asked me, I hadn't, I wasn't, didn't ever visit a Vietnamese home, but I remember going past these little cottages, these little houses. And, one of the things I remember was that sometimes there'd be a little doggie in a little box at the gate and that would be for sale, a little puppy. And people would buy these little puppies and eat them. Didn't like that very much.

Did, did any puppies come back to the base?

No, no.

Did they have pets or...?

Oh, up at Nui Dat, Victor Company, Victor 6 was the company that was there when I was there, and they had a dog that they had got from somewhere. And it was called, it had a boozy name, I think it might have been called Bacardi or something. But I don't really remember, and it was just sort of a local black dog. And that was their mascot. Now, what happened to him when they all left, I don't know.


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

How to cite this page: ' Trips to the beach - Avis Wilkes ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 10-Sep-2013