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Their service won't be forgotten

A fitting memorial in Seymour to the hundreds of National Servicemen who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

CHALPAT SONTI September 3, 2014 3:08am

Seymour-based National Servicemens Association of Australia members Keith Murphy and Hank Kreemers flank Northern Districts sub-branch president Noel Blake at the unveiling of the plaque on Sunday.

They have often been the forgotten participants of the Vietnam War, but an event in Seymour on Sunday should go a little way to fixing that.

About 70 members and family of the Northern Districts sub-branch of the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia gathered together at the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk to unveil a plaque remembering the 398 ‘‘Nashos’’ who lost their lives during the conflict.

Of those, 210 were on duty in Vietnam and 188 died in Australia through incidents such as road crashes and training mishaps while on service. A further 1484 were injured.

Despite the name, Nashos were conscripted during the war, the fourth such National Service scheme in Australian history.

Seymour-based Nasho Hank Kreemers said the idea for the plaque, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, came when someone contacted the NSAA seeking information about a serviceman who was killed in Australia.

‘‘(Fellow Seymour-based Nasho Keith Murphy) did a bit of homework and discovered 188 were killed on the roads and in training,’’ he said.

‘‘We thought why don’t we do a dedication to those boys, otherwise they’ve just been forgotten.’’

The location at the walk, between Luscombe Bowl and the Remembrance Wall, was eventually secured with help from Mitchell Shire Council.

Sub-branch president Noel Blake said he hoped it would also clear up misconceptions about Nashos.

‘‘Those poor buggers were conscripted for two years,’’ he said. ‘‘They lost their lives and they didn’t do it voluntarily. Those families now have a place for solace, they can come here and relax and have some acknowledgement their son is not totally forgotten.’’

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