Where are Britain's Vietnam war dead buried?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Pteranadon, Aug 15, 2012.

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  1. thThe wikipedia entry for the 1945-46 British occupation of Vietnam states that 40 British Empire troops were killed on operations including at least at least one British soldier. War in Vietnam (1945

    There are no CWCG graves in Vietnam. If the occupation of Vietnam was not recognised by the Commonwealth as part of the Second World War, there is no reason why they should be. But what happened to the dead ,and are they commemorated anywhere? The dead Briton should be on the Armed Forces Memorial. Does anyone know who he was?

    Sorry of this has been answered somewhere on the "Did British Forces Serve in Vietnam "thread., but I don't recall seeing the answer to this specific question, I did read he first 30 +pages, but can't face rereading all 45 pages.
  2. CWGC - Cemetery Details

  3. Pterandon, I don't know for sure but it is an excellent question so I'll have a stab at it.

    General Gracey's dead in the very short period he was in the southern half of Indochina,September 45 to January 46, although Commonwealth were not necessarily Britons. Gracey's troops were overwhelmingly Indian and Ghurka.

    One of Gracey's principal missions was to repatriate Commonwealth POW's held by the Japanese in Indochina who for the most part were engaged by the Japanese in airfield construction tasks. Given the famine conditions in Indochina in 1945 and the normal routine of Japanese maltreatment I would expect that these POW casualties would dwarf the Occupation Force casualty numbers. These too would have a memorial and a CWG somewhere?

    In addition the RAF was responsible for the air campaign in Southern portion of Indochina from late 1944 onwards. The RAF flew B-24 Liberators out of airfields in India on interdiction missions on railways, bridges etc. At least one RAAF officer seconded to the RAF is still listed as MIA in Indochina from a wartime crash there. I expect that the RAF crew losses would also be greater than those of Gracey's occupation force.

    There is some conjecture that some of the RAF Liberators were downed by US Night Fighters operating out of fields in Southern China. I think it more likely that the RAF losses were due to the long distances involved and the appalling weather conditions encountered. These serviceman too must have a memorial somewhere even if their remains were unrecovered.

    Australian 'advisors' were operating with the French in Indochina only 4 years after Gracey left. The earliest I have been able to find was a para seconded from FARELF in Malaya in September 1952. The Australians joined the US advisory effort in Vietnam in July 1962 although they did not suffer a fatal casualty until June 1963. From 1963 to 1967ish Australian casualties were repatriated back to Malaya and interred either at Terendak Cemetary or Kranji now in Singapore. This was accomplished courtesy of the RAF and their regular Hastings shuttle service around the region.

    It was not until a political furore erupted when (fantastically generous) US advisors who operated alongside Australian's KIA personally paid for the Australian dead to be returned to Australia that the Australian government was embarassed into a change in policy. That and the fact that National Servicemen were starting to be killed in significant numbers.

    From 1962 until the task force was established in 1966, Australian casualties were treated at either the US Navy facilities at Subic Bay or the British Military Hospital in Singapore. I think the fact that Australian dead were interned and officially commemorated in Malaya was part of a long standing practice.

    If I had to have an educated guess where the Commonwealth dead from the Indochina occupation troops, the Indochina POW's and the RAF aircrews were officially commemorated I'd look to Malaya. In 1946 it was still regarded as a part of the empire upon which the sun would never set.

    Best regards