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Plaque honours courage during battle

Veterans of Delta Company Warren Dowell and Jeff Hannah lay a wreath beside the new plaque to commemorate the Battle of Nui Le at Bribie Island's Vietnam Veterans Park.
Veterans of Delta Company Warren Dowell and Jeff Hannah lay a wreath beside the new plaque to commemorate the Battle of Nui Le at Bribie Island's Vietnam Veterans Park. Kyle Zenchyson

THE 45th anniversary of the Battle of Nui Le in the Vietnam War was commemorated with a new plaque presented at Vietnam Veterans Park on Wednesday.

Members of 4RAR Allan Ottway, Warren Dowell and Jeff Hannah unveiled the plaque just as the sun came out on an otherwise rainy day. It was a moving and peaceful occasion, a stark contrast to the same day in South Vietnam in 1971.

Five members of Delta Company were killed during the last major battle fought in the Vietnam War while facing hundreds of enemy soldiers in fortified bunkers.

Former Lance Corporal Warren Dowell gave a detailed account of the battle to fellow veterans, their family members and honoured guests.

He highlighted the significance D Company had in the Australian and New Zealand Battalion.

"Delta Company was just a normal rifle company of the Battalion. However, Delta Company was about to become unique in the history of the Battalion and, later on, the history of the Royal Australian Regiment,” he said.

"During our tour, Delta Company was to conduct two company attacks against two battalion sized enemy forces.

"Most rifle companies are quite happy not to attack any.”

Coming up against expert communist soldiers leading up to the battle, Mr Dowell said it was "truly an exhilarating but terrifying experience”.

"We'd only just started into our attack when the company was hit by murderous small arms fire from well camouflaged and well concealed enemy fire lines,” he said.

"The noise of the artillery bombardment from the enemy and small arms fire was deafening.

"The enemy attack went on until nearly midnight... Delta Company put in a very, very long night.”

Topics:  battle of nui le, commemorative plaque, vietnam war


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