Reunion a time for Vets to reflect

THE song ‘I was only 19' stirs up vivid images of what it must have been like for soldiers serving during the Vietnam War.

The fact that the song is about a real war and real people makes it all the more moving.

The soldiers Redgum singer John Schumann is singing about were part of the Royal Australian Regiment Alpha Company 6th battalion and over the past week about 80 members of that battalion gathered for a reunion in the Whitsundays.

Six of those soldiers, who are survivors of a mine explosion mentioned in the song, were present at the reunion and spoke about the events of that day at a dinner on Friday night at the Proserpine RSL sub branch.

They still remember it like it was yesterday.

“It was ten to ten on 21st July, 1969,” one of the group, Merv McInnes, immediately recalls.

As they speak about the events of that day it is clear that it is never far from their memories.

“It still affects us everyday,” Peter Hoskin said.

While the aftermath of the war is still being felt today there was also plenty of time for laughs and old stories during the reunion dinner on Friday night.

Organiser Ian Lade, of Sugarloaf, was very happy with how the night went.

“It is always a great chance to catch up with mates,” he said.

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