TRUE TO LIFE: The film Danger Close tells the story of the Battle of Long Tan.
TRUE TO LIFE: The film Danger Close tells the story of the Battle of Long Tan. Donna Jones

Vietnam veterans remembered on screen and at services

AS MOVIE screens bring Hervey Bay veteran Harry Smith's Battle of Long Tan story to life on the big screen, veterans throughout the country remember the sacrifices made during the Vietnam War.

Maryborough RSL and cricket club joined venues throughout the region, and the nation, in commemorating Vietnam Veterans Day yesterday.

At the same time, crowds gathered to see Danger Close, a film chronicling the Battle of Long Tan.

Hervey Bay veteran Harry Smith provided inspiration for the film's main character, portrayed by Hollywood star Travis Fimmel.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the day was a chance to pause and reflect on the bravery, teamwork and endurance that was displayed throughout the battle and wider war.

"Almost 60,000 Australians served during the Vietnam War, and tragically 521 of them died with a further 3000 wounded,” Mr Chester said.

"We commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day and the 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, where we remember the sacrifices of those who died and say thank you to all those who served.”

The Battle of Long Tan took place in a rubber plantation not far from the small village of Long Tan and is widely known as one of the fiercest battles fought by Australian soldiers, who faced wet and muddy conditions due to torrential rain and the loss of their radios.

"We also remember the actions of more than 100 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who were vastly outnumbered, facing a force of 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops,” Mr Chester said.

"Tragically, some 18 Australians died and more than 20 were wounded. This was the largest number of casualties in one operation since the Australian task force had arrived a few months earlier.

"This Battle formed a significant part of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War - a decade long campaign.”