I worked on writing this book alone, closeting myself away with a mountain of memorabilia of all forms collected over a lifetime. During my army years, this hoard of books, newspaper clippings, photographs and old files was generally
stored at my late parentsí house at Kingsgrove, much to their unspoken inconvenience I suspect.
Initially I used an Olivetti word processor, then an IBM laptop in UK during 1995. Back in Australia I worked on an Apple computer, then two successively faster PCs, finding the burgeoning technology both a mind-blowing challenge and a wonderful aide to my endeavours.
Once the writing was done, I pestered my friends and acquaintances to read what I had set down, both to confirm that it was not all a figment of my imagination, and to bring to my attention any errors of fact or discretion.
Specifically, I must thank the following for their assistance along the way:
- For generosity with her time and resources on matters relating to computers, Ms Danele A. Allwood BA.
- For reading the unfinished manuscript in conjunction with producing the television film, ‘Shellshocked’, and giving strong encouragement for me to seek publication of the book, Mr Stephen Ramsey BA(Hons.Phil), of Ramsey Films.
- For greatly contributing to the book by allowing the use of the letters he wrote home from Vietnam; for reading the whole manuscript twice and offering invaluable advice; for spending weeks helping to sort and caption photographs; for helping to assemble the index, and for the vast amount of time he spent compiling the list, shown at Annex A, of
those who served with C Company 6RAR in Vietnam 1966-67, I must especially thank
Mr Mark Minell.
- For reading the whole manuscript three times and offering sound advice on a wide variety of matters, Vietnam veteran, Colonel James A. McIntyre RFD, SC, LLB, barrister and member of the Australian Army Legal Corps Reserve.
- For reading the whole manuscript twice and offering invaluable advice and for spending weeks helping to sort and caption photographs, Mr Eric O. (Rick) Bensley.
- For assistance with finding material for my story of the 'old days' in Sydney, Mr Phillip M. Davies.
- For assistance with family history, Mr Anthony J. Ridgway BA.
- For reading the OCS Portsea chapter and offering advice and support, Colonel Ronald G. Lange (Retired).
- For reading relevant parts of the manuscript and offering advice and support, particularly on Papua New Guinea aspects, Brigadier Laurie J. Lewis (Ret), Colonel Eric R. Philip (Ret) and Colonel John R. Burns (Ret).
- For reading the manuscript and spending much time offering invaluable advice and support, Colonel Ken S. McKenzie DSM (Ret).
- For the provision of photographs and general assistance, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew McGarry MA, United States Army (Ret).
- For allowing me to quote extensively from his book ‘Allies and Mates’, Mr Gordon J. Steinbrook BS, MEd, (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), author, high school history instructor and Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army Reserve (Ret).
- For allowing me to quote extensively from the book ‘Vietnam Task’, the 5RAR Association and the author, Dr Robert O’Neill AO, Intelligence Officer 5RAR during my first tour in Vietnam and currently Chichele Professor of The History of War and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.
- For articles, extracts and letters from other books and periodicals, used under the fair dealing provisions of the copyright laws, my thanks go to the publishing companies and individuals whose names are mentioned in the bibliography and in the text.
- For advice on various aspects of artillery matters relevant to my story, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Griggs (Ret), Major Jim A. King (Ret) and Captain Mike F. Dakin, Royal New Zealand Artillery (Ret).
- For confirmation of events at task force headquarters at Nui Dat in the early days, Mr John Rowe, soldier and author.
- For confirmation of events at task force headquarters on Long Son Island in November 1966, Lieutenant Colonel Richard R. Hannigan (Ret).
- For reading the manuscript, offering advice, and for an enormous amount of other support and assistance throughout the writing, Major Peter J.S. Harris BA(Hons), DipPhil (Ret).
- For his advice and assistance on the Vietnam story overall, and for answering many telephone queries during the writing, Lieutenant Colonel Owen J. O’Brien BA, MLitt (Ret).
- For reading my story of the Battle of Long Tan and offering invaluable advice, Lieutenant Colonel Harry A. Smith MC (Ret).
- For assistance with the story of the Battle of Bribie, Mr John P. O’Halloran and Colonel Ian B. Mackay BA (Ret).
- For advice on matters relating to the operations of 5RAR on its first tour of duty in Vietnam, the late Brigadier John A. Warr DSO, BA.
- For reading the 'first proofs' from the printer and offering sound advice on the text from the lay readerís perspective, Ms Lynne Byrne.
- For advice on naval and many other matters, Lieutenant Commander Rodney T. Nott MBE, RFD, JP, RAN (Ret), co-author with Noel Payne of ‘The Vung Tau Ferry’.
- For answering hundreds of telephone and e-mail queries during the writing of the book and for his untiring efforts behind the scenes over the years to keep the members of 6RAR in touch, Major J. Geoff Jones, Royal Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve.
- For general advice and assistance, Colonel David A. Chinn MBE (Ret), at the Official History Unit, Australian War Memorial.
- For advice and assistance with war photographs, Mr William Fogarty, Senior Curator Photographs, Sound and Film, at the Australian War Memorial.
- Last but not least, for their forbearance, unqualified assistance and moral support over the years I have taken to write the book, my good friends Mr Graham F. Murray, senior company executive and erstwhile sub-lieutenant, HMAS Vendetta, Vietnam 1969-70, and Lieutenant Colonel Peter R. Hudson MSc, DipEd, MAPS (Ret).
Despite the massive input from the above legion of learned colleagues and friends, as usual, I did not necessarily always take the advice offered. Furthermore, there is only so much one man can do in an enterprise such as this. Therefore, as the writer, layout artist, editor, bibliographer and indexer of ‘We Band of Brothers’, I must accept ultimate responsibility for the presentation of the
book and its contents, errors and all, scores of which I have no doubt will soon
be gleefully pointed out to me by 'well-wishers'.
Many have contributed by the provision of photographs. These have come from a variety of sources and remain unacknowledged individually as most have been passed around between friends and copied many times. Some photographs were taken by Australian Army Public Relations photographers and often given out to the troops at the
time, sometimes with a notation on the back as to their origin and sometimes not. I have also used photographs obtained from the Australian War Memorial where a vast collection of war photographs have in recent times been carefully organised into accessible archives and made available for both perusal and purchase at the Memorial and via the Internet.
It is important that I acknowledge the contribution to the culmination of my endeavours by Mr Allen Fairhall, Managing Director, Exact Print + Design of Broadmeadow, Newcastle, NSW. My manuscript was first shown to him by Mark Minell
and before I was too far into the daunting task of seeking a publisher, Allen offered to print the work on a scale more lavish than I ever imagined would be available through the big commercial publishers. I suspect it helped my cause enormously that he was himself a ‘Nasho’ and had served in Vietnam with The Royal Australian Engineers. I accepted the offer immediately and since commencement of the enterprise have been given unqualified help and advice by him and his staff in assisting my stumbling attempts to cope with the numerous challenges of readying the book for publication.