WHEN a group of local war veterans visited the National Vietnam Veterans Museum during a trip to Phillip Island recently they noticed a glaring omission.
There was hardly anything dedicated to the Royal Australian Navy’s involvement in the war.
They found 90 per cent of the display was dedicated to the army.
The group of veterans from the Jervis Bay Vietnam Veterans Association decided something had to be done the correct the imbalance.
A subcommittee was formed and a hunt started to collect memorabilia.
Veteran Glen Maher said it was important the imbalance was corrected.
“You would not even know the navy was over there,” Mr Maher said.
A sailor’s uniform, a model of a ship and a couple of Wessex helicopters, hidden out the back, are all the museum has from the RAN’s war involvement.
The group hopes more memorabilia will be donated.
They do have some interesting pieces.
A collector from Sydney donated the binoculars from the HMAS Brisbane, local veteran Rob Simpson will donate a lighter with the Brisbane’s insignia on it and Keith Murrell donated a mounted etching of the same ship.
Mr Simpson got the lighter from a sailor from HMAS Brisbane in the 1970s and Mr Murrell’s etching has a story to it.
The etching was found in a garbage bin and another local veteran Graham Anderson cleaned it up and presented it to Mr Murrell, who was a member of HMAS Brisbane’s commissioning crew.
“I would be proud to see it in a museum,” Mr Murrell said.
During the war, HMAS Brisbane provided important artillery support to the troops on the ground.
Without the RAN many Australian troops would not have got to Vietnam in the first place.
The converted aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney carried about 16,000 Australian troops to the war and became known as the “Vung Tau ferry”.
People with suitable memorabilia can contact Mr Maher on 4443 2596, Mr Simpson on 4443 3106 and Mr Murrell on 4443 2765.