Jack Langley plays a real game of Tetris every time he travels from suburban Sydney to military collectible shows.By Ashleigh Williamson
Jack Langley plays a real game of Tetris every time he travels from suburban Sydney to military collectible shows.
The Vietnam War veteran, 68, almost fills his Ford station wagon with his war books, medals and weapons for sale.
‘‘Once I put the last thing in, it locks everything. Nothing can move,’’ Mr Langley said.
Mr Langley travelled to the 15th annual Northern Victorian Arms Collectors Guild Expo in Shepparton at the weekend.
The native of Scotland has bought and sold military items at displays around Australia for the past 30 years, including at Shepparton for the past six years.
He operates Jack’s Medals and Militaria at North Rocks.
‘‘I’ll drive back from a show on Monday and I have a buyer who rings me at 9
One of Mr Langley’s eight uncles who served in the Scottish military gave him a German dagger to start his collection when he was eight years old.
His grandfather and great-grandfather also gave him their Boer War service medals.
‘‘I love the history behind things. An item itself is nice, but is only a small part of it,’’ Mr Langley said.
Mr Langley moved to Australia in 1960 after meeting his eventual wife while travelling around the world. He served with the First Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in Vietnam in 1968.
‘‘I wrote letters from Vietnam to my grandfather and he used to read them to his mates at the pub,’’ he said.
‘‘I went back home after the war and went to the pub with my grandfather, and all his mates came up to me and told me all these things about Vietnam.
‘‘I was like, ‘how do they know?’’’
Mr Langley said his favourite items to collect were Scottish military medals, particularly from the Victorian period.
Two of his items will never be for sale — photos of his wife he kept in his notebook while fighting in Vietnam, and a leather address book he still keeps in his wallet.
A union protest stopped mail delivery during the Vietnam War, cutting off the only form of contact soldiers had to their families. Mr Langley said Australian military services eventually arranged for mail to be sent to the United States before it was shipped to Vietnam, where he received the address book with his wife’s details inside.
‘‘In other words, she said, ‘write to me’,’’ he said.
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