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Rising Sun

A Boy Called Mot

During Mot the later part of 1967 a Vietnamese male named Mot was admitted to the 8 Field Ambulance hospital. He may have been a terrorist, but he was only about nine years old. Mot had been used as an ammunition carrier and abandoned by a VC group during a surprise Australian attack. He was in an appalling condition. He was too weak to walk, filthy, emaciated and anaemic. The laboratory said his haemoglobin was 2G/100ml which was barely compatible with life. He had malaria and he had intestinal parasites – medical problems, not surgical.

It was astonishing how rapidly Mot recovered under medical and nursing care. The malaria and worms were eradicated; he began to eat like a horse. Each day saw more flesh on his scarecrow limbs. After a week he was chirpy and active, prancing around the unit with a slight limp from a deformed foot. He was spoiled rotten by the nurses and Red Cross girls, he was taught the worst Australian slang by the Diggers and he become a sort of unit mascot, our keenest supporter at inter-unit volleyball matches.

VC patients on recovery were expected to be handed over to the government authorities for internment in prison camps. Mot the darling of the sisters and the Red Cross was most certainly not going there. Ever more inventive nursing and medical pretexts were found for him to stay ‘in hospital’. He became more and more outrageously spoilt. Eventually he was sent off to school each day. His Mot with medicsmanner with the other children then decided the issue. Mot did not mix; he was better than them. He lived with the Uc Da Loi and travelled to School by truck.

Right: Cpl Paul Crowe, Cpl Brian Connelly with Mot,
Pte Geoff Harris and Pte Peter (Bruno) Davis.

Continuing this unnatural life was obviously disastrous. The military authorities by now had probably forgotten about him. Mot was packed off in rage and tears to the local orphanage. How did he cope? Where is the middle-aged man today?

“With Permission” from the author of – SURGERY, SAND AND SAIGON TEA - Major Marshall Barr (Ret) Anaesthetist with 8 FD Ambulance 1967/68.