GILLSON, PETER RAYMOND Remains return announced 06/2007
Name: Peter Raymond Gillson Rank/Branch: E1 Unit: Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Australia Date of Loss: 08 November 1965 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: YT164234 Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body not Recoverd Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 0188
Other Personnel in Incident: Richard H.J. Parker (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK, with information from Australia's Tony Blake, Vietnam Veteran 70-71, 7RAR. Updated 2007
NOTE: Australians use the abbreviation PTE for Private, for someone with "no rank". PVT/PFC is a U.S. designation.
SYNOPSIS: In 1984, the Australian government sent delegates to Vietnam to find fresh evidence on missing Australians. It was abandoned when the party failed to learn anything about the men's fate. Australian foreign affairs minister, Bill Hayden, recommended the cases be closed, that the Vietnamese government had cooperated fully with the search and the subject of the missing men, and it should no longer be an issue between the two countries.
Yet reports continue to be received in the U.S. from refugees and intelligence sources convincing many authorities that hundreds of servicemen are still being held captive. The veterans of Australia, like those of Canada and the U.S. refuse to accept their governments' dismissal of the issue.
At least five Australians are missing who were not directly associated with U.S. forces. Two of them are Pte. Peter R. Gillson and Pte. Richard H.J. Parker, lost on November 8, 1965. Parker and Gillson are the first two Australians listed Missing in Action.
Gillson and Parker were with a unit which came in close contact with the enemy during fierce fighting for the Battle of the Hump twenty-one kilometers northeast of Bien Hoa. The company came under heavy fire and Parker was last seen lying on the ground during the ambush. Although he was heard to groan, he did not answer calls.
Gillson, according to some sources, was injured about 9 kilometers northeast of Parker's location, but according to U.S. records, Gillson and Parker were lost at the same location. The unit was forced to withdraw. Gillson was thought to be dead, but Parker's condition was not really known.
Australian comrades were furious when U.S. orders prevented them from returning to the site to locate Gillson and Parker. Both men were listed presumed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
While Gillson and Parker's military unit is not known, it is nearly certain that their unit was working with the 173rd Airborne Brigade at Bien Hoa, and they were possibly part of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) which arrived in Vietnam in May 1965.
Gillson and Parker do not appear on most U.S. lists since they were not U.S. citizens. However, as thousands of U.S. veterans would confirm, the "Aussies" were welcome additions to any mission. Their bravery was well known, and they were well-liked. 47,000 Australians were sent to Vietnam between 1961 and 1971; 504 were killed and 2,500 were wounded. None were captured -- or were they?
The Australians sent their young men to help in a war that was not their own. It is fitting that Americans should include their missing in their quest for freedom for those still prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.
Gillson, P R Number: 37857 Rank: Private [Pte] Unit: 1 RAR (RA INF) Service: Army Conflict: Vietnam, 1962-1972 Date of Death: 08/11/1965 Place of Death: South Vietnam Cause of Death: Killed In Action Memorial Panel: 3 Cemetery or Memorial Details: Next Of Kin: Wife - Mrs L K Gillson Notes: Source: AWM153 Roll of Honour cards, Vietnam
Transcript This is a transcript from AM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 08:00 on ABC Local Radio.
You can also listen to the story in REAL AUDIO and WINDOWS MEDIA and MP3 formats.
Vietnam battle victims finally brought home AM - Monday, 4 June , 2007 08:28:00 Reporter: Gillian Bradford
TONY EASTLEY: When Lance Corporal Richard "Tiny" Parker and Private Peter Gillson died during a fierce battle with the Vietcong in 1965 it was just too dangerous at the time to recover their bodies.
But finally, 42 years after they were killed in battle, the bodies of the two fallen Vietnam veterans will soon be on their way home......
Australian Vietnam War dead return home 40 years on
Tue Jun 5, 2:35 AM ET
The bodies of two Australian soldiers killed in the Vietnam War arrived home Tuesday, more than 40 years after they were listed as missing in action fighting the Viet Cong.....
Four remain missing from Vietnam war By Max Blenkin
As the bodies of two Australian soldiers killed in Vietnam in 1969 begin a belated repatriation, four others remain missing from the conflict which ended three decades ago.