Did any British Forces Serve In Vietnam?

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer

exspy

LE
I’m sure I came across a serving officer a few years back with some kind of Vietnam Medal as he was based in the Embassy.
It was discussed on here previously as to whether or not Embassy military personnel qualified for a Medal or bar to the GS medal should a war or other conflict be going on in the country to which they are assigned. They did not. No Saigon British Embassy military personnel were awarded any decoration for having been stationed in SVN.

Cheers,
Dan.
 
*in a small voice* for the love of christ . . .

I’m sure I came across a serving officer a few years back with some kind of Vietnam Medal as he was based in the Embassy.
Nope: service as DA or as DA staff was not operational service. If he was entitled to the Vietnam Medal:

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it would stem from service with Australian or New Zealand forces.



And an ex Kiwi Army chap who transferred to the British Army who had a Vietnam Medal with the Queen’s head on it.
See above.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
And an ex Kiwi Army chap who transferred to the British Army who had a Vietnam Medal with the Queen’s head on it.
Are you sure you are not talking about Guy Brandsby who was a Royal Artillery Officer stationed in Germany in the sixties who left the RA and accepted a commission in the RNZA. He did a tour in SVN attached to an ANZAC battalion on ops with I ATF in Phuoc Tuy Province.

When he returned to NZ he attempted and passed the selection for Ranger Squadron NZSAS but as they had no officer vacancies he returned to SVN for a second tour attached to the AATTV in 1972 training the Cambodian FANK battalions.

He wrote a book about his experiences called 'Her Majestey's Vietnam Soldier. He returned to the UK rejoining HM forces as a Flt Lt in the RAF Regiment. Apparently he spoke Spanish and served in the Falklands war in 1982 as an interpreter/interrogator. He also wrote a sequel about his experiences in the Falklands: Her Majestey's Interrogator: Falklands. There is one used hard copy going on Amazon for £452.41
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
You'll have to wait for him to:

a) sober up, and
b) get to google.
What's wrong petal, still upset you were proven wrong about the RLI going to Korea ?
 

Euclid

War Hero
Are you sure you are not talking about Guy Brandsby who was a Royal Artillery Officer stationed in Germany in the sixties who left the RA and accepted a commission in the RNZA. He did a tour in SVN attached to an ANZAC battalion on ops with I ATF in Phuoc Tuy Province.

When he returned to NZ he attempted and passed the selection for Ranger Squadron NZSAS but as they had no officer vacancies he returned to SVN for a second tour attached to the AATTV in 1972 training the Cambodian FANK battalions.

He wrote a book about his experiences called 'Her Majestey's Vietnam Soldier. He returned to the UK rejoining HM forces as a Flt Lt in the RAF Regiment. Apparently he spoke Spanish and served in the Falklands war in 1982 as an interpreter/interrogator. He also wrote a sequel about his experiences in the Falklands: Her Majestey's Interrogator: Falklands. There is one used hard copy going on Amazon for £452.41
The chap I was talking about was a Royal Anglian colonel. He had been a Kiwi Officer before transferring. I guess he would have retired mid 2000s
 
I was looking at an old book I had bought in Australia in the early nineties : The Team In Pictures 1962-1972 about the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV). I haven't looked through it for a long time, but on page 147 was an interesting caption.

Wounded in action on the Demilitarised Zone during his first tour with the Team. 300 parachute jumps, a Royal Marine commando and Ethiopian Naval commando veteran - part of the service of MATT advisor, WO2 RG (Ray)Davies who served in Phuoc Tuy Province. February 1971.

Australian Vietnam veterans nominal roll shows :


NameDAVIES, Raymond George
ServiceAustralian Army
Service Number216756
Date of Birth03 Dec 1928
Place of BirthGLAMORGAN UNITED KINGDOM
Rank(Temporary) Warrant-Officer Class 2
National ServiceNo
CorpsRoyal Australian Infantry Corps
HonoursNone for display
Unit History
Unit NameStart DateEnd Date
Australian Army Training Team Vietnam01 Sep 196713 Aug 1968
Australian Army Training Team Vietnam28 May 197026 May 1971


In the book 'The Team Australian Army advisors in Vietnam on page 402 it says:

Operating well south of Ostara in Binh Thuan province, another Australian advising with a PRU. Warrant Officer 2 Ray Davies, enjoyed consistently rewarding results. Working always on intelligence, the PRU succeeded in apprehending members of the VCI on most of its operations.
As in the case of Ostara, Davies operations included raids, ambushes, surveillance, cordon and searches, and small snatch operations:

12 July: Acting on information obtained by interrogation of prisoners, it was decided to execute a further series of snatch raids in Ap Xuan Hoi, and detain six more VCI. We left our compound at 0330 hours and moved across country to our objective at Ap Xuan Hoi. We moved quitely into the area and set up our blocking force. It was now 0500 hours and having ensured we had adequate defences in the case of VC attack we sent our snatch teamsin. Six three- man snatch teams moved into their targets. Everything went like clockwork, and at 0545 hours we withdrew with our six VCI.

Davies ended his narrative with:

One female was rather indignant about being detained. She said we were not playing the game, we would never have detained her if we did what the GVN troops do and not enter the area until 0645 hours.

Using detailed intelligence, often built up slowly and confirmed from different sources, snatch raids were a feature of Davies methods. Sometimes a fire-fight developed, but more often not. With careful planning and stealthy, speedy execution, suprise was usually achieved so that operations were over almost before the enemy realized they had begun. Occasionally, however a series of raids would be mounted but the suspects would be gone ; it was obvious then that a leak had occurred. The sentiments revealed by the woman in the above example were of a kind sometimes heard in this crazy but pitiless war. They would stupefy the newcomer.


The Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU) were part of the Phoenix programme targeting the Viet Cong infrastructure.

Old Taffy Davies appeared to have an exotic background and seems a nails sort of bloke. As he doesn't have a 311 service number so he doesn't appear to have joined the Australian army direct from Australia House in Charing Cross, London. And as he started his first tour of Vietnam in 1967 he doesn't appear to have completed the full 22 years service in the Royal Marines. I have not been able to find anything about his service in the Royal Marines as Ray Davies is just too common a name. He would be 91 if he was still alive.
 
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I was looking at an old book I had bought in Australia in the early nineties : The Team In Pictures 1962-1972 about the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV). I haven't looked through it for a long team, but on page 147 was an interesting caption.

Wounded in action on the Demilitarised Zone during his first tour with the Team. 300 parachute jumps, a Royal Marine commando and Ethiopian Naval commando veteran - part of the service of MATT advisor, WO2 RG (Ray)Davies who served in Phuoc Tuy Province. February 1971.

Australian Vietnam veterans nominal roll shows :


NameDAVIES, Raymond George
ServiceAustralian Army
Service Number216756
Date of Birth03 Dec 1928
Place of BirthGLAMORGAN UNITED KINGDOM
Rank(Temporary) Warrant-Officer Class 2
National ServiceNo
CorpsRoyal Australian Infantry Corps
HonoursNone for display
Unit History
Unit NameStart DateEnd Date
Australian Army Training Team Vietnam01 Sep 196713 Aug 1968
Australian Army Training Team Vietnam28 May 197026 May 1971


In the book 'The Team Australian Army advisors in Vietnam on page 402 it says:

Operating well south of Ostara in Binh Thuan province, another Australian advising with a PRU. Warrant Officer 2 Ray Davies, enjoyed consistently rewarding results. Working always on intelligence, the PRU succeeded in apprehending members of the VCI on most of its operations.
As in the case of Ostara, Davies operations included raids, ambushes, surveillance, cordon and searches, and small snatch operations:

12 July: Acting on information obtained by interrogation of prisoners, it was decided to execute a further series of snatch raids in Ap Xuan Hoi, and detain six more VCI. We left our compound at 0330 hours and moved across country to our objective at Ap Xuan Hoi. We moved quitely into the area and set up our blocking force. It was now 0500 hours and having ensured we had adequate defences in the case of VC attack we sent our snatch teamsin. Six three- man snatch teams moved into their targets. Everything went like clockwork, and at 0545 hours we withdrew with our six VCI.

Davies ended his narrative with:

One female was rather indignant about being detained. She said we were not playing the game, we would never have detained her if we did what the GVN troops do and not enter the area until 0645 hours.

Using detailed intelligence, often built up slowly and confirmed from different sources, snatch raids were a feature of Davies methods. Sometimes a fire-fight developed, but more often not. With careful planning and stealthy, speedy execution, suprise was usually achieved so that operations were over almost before the enemy realized they had begun. Occasionally, however a series of raids would be mounted but the suspects would be gone ; it was obvious then that a leak had occurred. The sentiments revealed by the woman in the above example were of a kind sometimes heard in this crazy but pitiless war. They would stupefy the newcomer.


The Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU) were part of the Phoenix programme targeting the Viet Cong infrastructure.

Old Taffy Davies appeared to have an exotic background and seems a nails sort of bloke. As he doesn't have a 311 service number he doesn't appear to have joined the Australian army direct from Australia House in Charing Cross, London. And as he started his first tour of Vietnam in 1967 he doesn't appear to have completed the full 22 years service in the Royal Marines. I have not been able to find anything about his service in the Royal Marines as Ray Davies is just too common a name. He would be 91 if he was still alive.
No "Lazing on a sunny afternoon " for him then.

Top bloke!
 
As previously mentioned, several British Military were attached to Embassy in Saigon, but none of them received the GSM or bar, however I believe and I know several members of the RMP, RAOC, REME and RCT did get the medal after they left the forces. As regards other personnel, a RAF Wing Commander Pinkerton served for about three days during which he received a civilian decoration for his work on the Huey Gunships computer. I believe several Special Forces were attached, but again no GSM.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
As previously mentioned, several British Military were attached to Embassy in Saigon, but none of them received the GSM or bar, however I believe and I know several members of the RMP, RAOC, REME and RCT did get the medal after they left the forces. As regards other personnel, a RAF Wing Commander Pinkerton served for about three days during which he received a civilian decoration for his work on the Huey Gunships computer. I believe several Special Forces were attached, but again no GSM.
What's the odds they told you this in hushed tones from the corner of a bar ?
 
Some one commented on how did I find out that some ex forces got medals. I was in Australia at the time of the Vietnam War, serving with dept of Rehabilitation which was responsible for repatriating servicemen injured in Vietnam. My job was to collect injured personnel off the USS America and HMS Melbourne (both aircraft carriers). On a couple of cassions, I had to travel back with British Servicemen injured, but there was no publicity whatsoever. So no one knew who they were. I eventually joined the Royal Military Police and served for 19 years, about four years after I left, I heard about several RMP who served in Saigon and most of them eventually got the bar 'Vietnam' on their GSM. About five years ago I bumped into a ex RAOC clerk, who told me that there were at least 20 military personnel at any time serving at the Embassy and most of them bought the bar.
 
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