VIETNAM VETERANS: Pte Lawrie Smillie and Pte Jeff (Tub) Meilland donated a plaque to the Nanango RSL during the Armistice Day ball on November 10.
VIETNAM VETERANS: Pte Lawrie Smillie and Pte Jeff (Tub) Meilland donated a plaque to the Nanango RSL during the Armistice Day ball on November 10. Jessica McGrath

Veteran makes sure history is remembered

A VIETNAM veteran has made sure memories of the wars are preserved for future generations in his home town.

Nanango resident Private Lawrie Smillie donated a plaque to the Nanango RSL club during their Armistice Day Ball on November 10.

Ball attendees were greeted by members of the Nanango 177 Australian Army Cadet Unit at the doors of Tara's Hall, as they all gathered to remember the centenary Armistice Day.

"Remembering all the mates that didn't make it, that's what it's all about," Pte Smillie said.

"I'm not just talking about Vietnam, I'm talking about France, Germany, no matter what side they were on, it's all those people we care about."

The plaque was made for Pte Smillie by fellow B Company ninth Royal Australia Regiment (9RAR) serviceman Pte Jeff (Tub) Meilland.

The plaque features the Vietnam 9RAR battalion badge, the battalion mascot 'Stan the Ram McArthur,' and helicopters.

"Vietnam was all about helicopters, they were everywhere," Pte Meilland said.

The pair were called up for service as part of the Australian Reinforcement Unit in July 1968, and after six months of training found themselves in Vietnam.

"From there we were shipped to a battalion to take over the blokes that had been injured or wounded," Pte Smillie said.

They have gathered for a few reunions over the years and have kept in touch since their days serving alongside each other in Vietnam.

Pte Meilland said it was important future generations still learn about WWI, as well as the WWII battle of Kokoda and the Rats of Tobruk.

He said on Armistice Day he thought about the bravery and victory at the Kokoda Track.

"Imagine what life would've been like if the Japanese invaded," Pte Meilland said.

"That's what I think about, they saved Australia, if they hadn't gone through there, you and I would be all gone."

The new Vietnam War plaque will be on display alongside the other war memorabilia at the Nanango RSL.