Brian Cunningham has sent me a lot of emails with information that will probably be of interest to most "Ninth Intake" people.

Rather than send each email out to everyone I've put them on a web page.

Terry Fogarty






This is to certify that…………………………………………………………………...having completed an arduous tour in the Republic of Vietnam will be returning to Australia in the very near future.


You should appreciate that he is no longer the sweet, unspoilt boy who left Australia fired with the patriotic fervour and zest for adventure. He is now older, probably thinner, wiser in the ways of the world, and possibly short tempered.


One of the earlier indications of the changes of character you will notice will be the periodic hot and cold flushes, accompanied by shortness of breath and trembling of the knees. This could be due to malaria, the rigours of the Australian winter, or to mini-skirts which he has never seen.


He will gaze in awe and fascination at blonde hair, blue eyes, clean white sheets, hotels and tight sweaters. Remember that his only contact with white women has been via the centre page of “Playboy” magazine, and he is still probably under the impression that all girls have staple marks on their stomachs.


Be careful not to use the following phrases – “LET’S GO FOR A WALK”, or “I WISH IT WOULD RAIN”, or “YOU BUY ME SAIGON TEA”. This is important as he may react in a violent and unpleasant manner.


If he walks across the garden or lawn and climbs through the window, then humour him. He doesn’t trust the path as it may be mined.


Flushing toilets will be a source of constant wonder to him after he overcomes his initial fear of them. If he picks up a shovel and heads for the back garden, merely direct him to the nearest correct room and gently take the shovel from him.


If he is reluctant to rise at a suitable hour – we suggest midday is appropriate – simply whisper, “STAND TO – LIGHTS ON THE WIRE”. Then stand back as he will leap out of bed with a strangled cry and grovel under the carpet.


NEVER ask him if it rains in Vietnam, as he may answer you in really offensive language. Similarly, if you ask him if the women are really flat-chested, he will either break into hysterical laughter or cry. Neither of these reactions is good for him.


Encourage him to drink out of a glass. If you give him a can, he will certainly drink it, but he may fling it over his shoulder with a roar of “UP THE OLD RED ROOSTER”, and the furniture and windows may suffer serious damage.


Force of habit may cause him to do some apparently odd things: sleep with his boots on, shower in public, swear fondly at his loved ones, and grind his cigarette butts into the floor.


If he happens to be driving a car and the postman blows his whistle, hang on tight. You can expect a sudden stop, because in Vietnam the second blast of the whistle is followed by bullets if you do not stop.








He will constantly look at trees, not because he is particularly fond of trees, but because he suspects snipers. He will distrust bus stops because they have an unpleasant association with grenades in Saigon. If a litterbug throws something from a passing car, he will scream loudly and dive for the gutter. This can be quite an amusing sight, but you will have to explain his actions to other people.


Please explain to visitors that he is not used to normal Australian customs if they complain when he searches them before they enter the house. This is normal practice to prevent bombs being smuggled into buildings.


If you are in the car with him driving, you will have to keep reminding him to keep to the left, or he will edge over to the right all the time with his hand on the horn. You will have to remind him that excessive horn blowing is illegal in Australia.


If he wants a taxi, be kind and get one for him. He may stand on the kerb, waving as you would goodbye, and he may get abusive if people wave back. After getting him a cab, explain that the driver is not a cheat, or DINKY DOW (crazy), or even NUMBER TEN, and he has to pay the price that is showing on the meter when the journey is completed. Also remind him about using pedestrian crossings and traffic lights, as he has not seen these things for the past year.


If you should arrange a meeting in a hotel lounge, don’t be surprised if he drags you into the darkest corner, and before he gets fresh will say to you, “ME NO BUY YOU SAIGON TEA”.


Never question him about powdered eggs, American bacon, hard rations, ice cream, rubber trees, chlorinated water, swamps, Chomper ants, mud, or the Viet Cong. If your family is fond of ham and lima beans, corn beef, sweet corn, or Vienna sausage, then serve them when he is not around.


If he has a slightly pained expression on his face and starts to head for the nearest fence or brick wall, keep him moving until you can direct him to the nearest public toilet. This will save attracting a curious crowd, which he doesn’t like anyway.


If he complains of being thirsty and is looking for a twenty litre container, explain to him that the water in the tap is potable (drinkable).


He should be a rational human being again in about a year or so. Try to make him feel important and occasionally whisper to him, “UC DAI LOI NUMBER ONE” to boost his morale.


Explain to him that mini-skirts are respectable, the rain is necessary at times, barmaids are not easily won in Australia, and that taxi-drivers are not thieves or rogues. Point out to him when necessary that Vietnam is far away, everybody loves him, and mosquitoes will not hurt him.


Above all humour him. The Viet Cong could not shatter his composure, but civilisation might. His rehabilitation is up to you.


If you need any assistance in the matter please phone the Vietnamese Police at Vung Tau or Saigon. They will not be able to help you, but they like to use the telephone as it makes them feel important.






Source: Retyped by Brian Cunningham: Humorous handout for Diggers to mail home to their families in advance of their repatriation.