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John Gillespie
8 Field Ambulance Courtesy of Australian War Memorial
8 Field Ambulance Nui Dat


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Lance Corporal Gillespie repatriation

The remains of Lance Corporal (LCPL) John Gillespie, a Medical Assistant, formerly of 8th Field Ambulance, were repatriated from Hanoi to Australia today.

LCPL Gillespie was killed when the 9th Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) UH1H (Huey) helicopter he was travelling in was shot down over South Vietnam on 17 April 1971. The helicopter was tasked to evacuate a wounded South Vietnamese soldier in the vicinity of the Long Hai hills near Vung Tau, South Vietnam.

On impact, the helicopter caught fire. LCPL Gillespie was trapped in the wreckage of the helicopter and could not be rescued because of the ferocity of the fire. Due to the intensity of the fighting, the remains of LCPL Gillespie could not be recovered.

In recent times, a group of former servicemen formed an organisation, Operations Aussies Home (OAH), dedicated to finding and repatriating the remains of the six Australian Servicemen left in South Vietnam after Australia withdrew from the country. So far, OAH, in conjunction with the Australian Army, has identified and repatriated three of the missing servicemen.