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Byron Shire
September 22, 2023

Remembering Veterans in Ballina

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A sunset service was held at the Ballina cenotaph. Photo supplied.

A sunset commemoration service was held at the Ballina cenotaph on Friday as the Ballina RSL Club and Ballina RSL-Sub Branch marked a significant milestone – the 50th Anniversary of the withdrawal of combat troops from Vietnam.

The event was held on Vietnam Veteran’s Day, August 18, chosen as the day to commemorate Veterans on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966.

This service was followed by a veterans-only dinner and show event in the Ballina RSL auditorium.

Lest we forget. Photo supplied.

The guest speaker, Murray Broomhall, one of the three New Zealanders from an artillery forward observation party from New Zealand’s 161 Field Battery at the Battle of Long Tan, offered a moving perspective. The Australians largely credit their survival against a force of approximately 2,000 Viet Cong and PAVN soldiers to the actions of these three observers. 

This battle saw 17 Australians killed and a further 25 wounded, the highest number of Australian casualties in any one engagement during the Vietnam War.

The community is grateful

Ballina RSL CEO Bill Coulter said the community is always grateful to have these opportunities to honour our veterans and the sacrifices they made for us. ‘This is such an important milestone and we’re glad to have the opportunity to support the sub-branch in putting this event together.’

The President of the RSL Sub Branch said this 50th anniversary is a time for our veterans to reflect on what happened to them and their mates in this conflict. ‘It is also a time for the community to reflect on what these veterans did for us, the sacrifices they made.’

The Ballina RSL Club and Ballina RSL-Sub Branch have said that they extend their deepest appreciation to all who participated in this special commemoration and continue their unwavering support for veterans in the Northern Rivers area.

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