Vietnam War - Victoria Police Officers
Victoria Police Officers who served in the Military during the Vietnam War 1964-1972
Awards included two Military Medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Mentioned in Disptaches Police members were not exempt from National Service, many were called up whist still in Recruit Training and had their National Service deferred until completion of the then Police Retention Exam which was generally conducted just prior to the completion of twelve months Police service. Members called up for two years National Service did not resign from Victoria Police. All kit was returned to Victoria Police, but maintained their Certificate of Identity and their Police powers. Their seniority was maintained over this two year period, however, unlike some other State Police Forces, their Army pay was not made up to equal their Police pay and still had to contribute from their Army Pay into their Victoria Police Superannuation fund. Arrears accrued in Superannuation whilst undergoing National Service had to be paid upon return to Victoria Police. This was due to incremental increases in Police pay whilst absent. Army pay, in particular during recruit training, was far less than their Police pay and did not really reach the levels of their Police pay until they commenced serving in Vietnam. A Military Policeman in Vietnam in 1968 earned around $70.04, whilst in Australia, pay was around $27.40 and whilst in Army Recruit Training was around $17.22- all this was per fortnight. Equivalent Police Pay at the Rank of Constable would have been around $52.00 per fortnight After completion of two years National Service, members were placed on the active reserve list for a further three years and liable for active service if required during that further three period. Little, if any time, was spent in Vietnam on familiarization or formalized instruction on how to carry out duties and was generally learned as things went along from another who had been in Vietnam a little longer. There is no doubt that the professionalism of the Victoria Police Officers in National Service within the Military Police enhanced the abilities and skills of their regular counterparts. Military Police duties in Vietnam consisted of curfew patrols, daytime patrols, convoy escorts, guarding official visitors to Vietnam, including the Prime Minister of Australia, coordinating the removal, short term holding prison at Nui Dat and transfer and hospital guard of prisoners of war in 1st Field Hospital, Vung Tau, attending and investigating motor vehicle collisions involving military vehicles, traffic control. A Military Prison- Detention Barrack was maintained at Vung Tau for short term Australian Army Personnel sentenced in Vietnam for various infringements, such as disobeying lawful instruction, drunkenness, sleeping on duty. Longer term detainees sentenced for serious crimes, such as manslaughter were transported to Holsworthy Military Prison in Sydney. Generally speaking rivalry between National Serviceman and Regular Soldiers was humorous and without malice towards each other. No real distinction was made by the Military between the two and all were treated as equals. Meals in Vietnam were quite good as the Australian Military were supplied by the USA Military. However not all were so well served with USA food- those in the Australian Infantry were on combat rations supplied by the Australian Army and were very good for weight loss! As per normal military life, Privates and Corporals, had their own Barracks and Messes apart from higher ranks. The first Military Police to arrive in Vietnam were from 1st Division Provost Company in 1966. This was later expanded to become Australian Forces Vietnam Provost Unit. It was disbanded in 1972 at the end of the Vietnam War and upon return to Australia. Most soldiers in Vietnam kept a calendar that counted down from arrival in Vietnam to an estimated departure date and a square was marked off a day at a time, if a particularly difficult day was encountered then it was permissible to mark out half a day at time. One particular activity was to have impromptu speed trials at low tide on the hard wet sand on the South China sea, between our Land Rovers and our USA counterparts in their Willys Jeeps. The victor was determined by who had the stronger nerves of steel as there was no real finish line and soon one or the other of the drivers would cease racing- no injuries were incurred! Local canines were a problem but soon learned to keep out of our way. Return to Australia was usually timed to arrive into Sydney airport around midnight aboard a QANTAS charted flight. A common belief for this was to avoid demonstrations against the Vietnam War which as time went on became more and more unpopular with Armed Services Personnel facing the brunt of public discord. Others thought it related to commercial flight scheduling and nothing to do with demonstrations. Whatever the reason, support for the war was diminishing the longer it went on. The flight home was quite a memorable moment as when the planes wheels left the tarmac at Saigon a huge roar went throughout the whole plane accompanied by stamping of many feet and a few drinks thereafter. On resuming Police duties after a two year absence there was not any retraining or refresher courses or any assistance from Victoria Police in any form whatsoever. In spite of this, members were generally able to assimilate back into Police duties. A difficult time was on return to police duties, in particular in the early 1970's when Moratoriums were being held all over Australia, campaigning for the end of a war that many serving members had just returned from. These members attained various ranks during their interrupted Police Service from Senior Constable through to Commissioner level.
WELCOME TO A COMMUNITY ADVOCACY ALLIANCE PROJECT to
Remember Victoria Police Officers that served during the Vietnam War and Saluting Their Service
Plaque at Victoria Police Academy
Glen Waverley, Victoria
The service given by all involved
should never be forgotten.
Honour Board is located in Foyer of C Block, Victoria Police Academy, Glen Waverley, Victoria
This web site was compiled and researched by Gordon Kenneth Beach with early research
assistance from Malcolm Grant.
My gratitude and thanks to the many others who kindly assisted with identifying members
and their suggestions.
I commenced this project back in 2011 when I discovered that apart from a small generic
wall plaque at the Police Academy there was not any record of those members of Victoria
Police who whilst serving members of Victoria Police were called up for National Service and
served in Vietnam.
All served in the Australia Regular Army in a variety of Corps, a large portion were allocated
to serve in the Provost Corps, now called Military Police.
I then developed this web site to record this information.
After some discussions with Raymond SHUEY and Ivan RAY the concept of suitable
recognition for these members by Victoria Police Force was developed and is ongoing
The CAA Inc. successfully applied for a grant from the “Saluting their Service"
Commemorative Grants Program- Department of Veteran Affairs, which has allowed the
further development of this web site and to undertake other projects in accordance with
the Grant which are ongoing.
With the further assistance of CAA Inc. approval was given by the Chief Commissioner of
Victoria Police, Shane PATTON, APM to develop an Honour Board.
There are one hundred and thirty-four (134) members listed on the Victoria Police National
Service Honour Board to be Dedicated at the Chapel, Victoria Police Academy, Glen
Waverley, Victoria on the 18th of February 2023 and unveiled by the Chief Commissioner of
Fifty-two members served in Vietnam, inclding three (3) who each served in Borneo, Malayasia and Thailand.
A further 82 served wholly withing Australia
There were also both National and Regular Servicemen, who after their service joined
Victoria Police. In those cases, some served in Vietnam and some did not. Also, there were
other serving members of Victoria Police who were called up for National Service who did
not serve outside of Australia and after their two-year service joined Victoria Police.
There were one hundred and thirteen (113) members of Victoria Police who served in the
Armed Forces in Vietnam- mainly in Army and Naval Service and later joined Victoria Police.
There were also twenty (20) members who were either National or Regular Servicemen
who served wholly in Australia and later joined Victoria Police.
In total there were around 266 Victoria Police Officers involved in various capacities during
the Vietnam War Years.