Robert Graham BIRSE

Poppy

BIRSE, Robert Graham

Service Number: 215349
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 4th Field Regiment
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 11 March 1944
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Homicide (grenade), South Vietnam, 10 December 1967, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Terendak Military Cemetery, Malacca
Row C- Grave 2 *Remains repatriated to Australia in 2016
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Grafton Clarence Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Officer Cadet School Portsea Memorial
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Vietnam War Service

28 May 1967: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Lieutenant, SN 215349, 4th Field Regiment

Help us honour Robert Graham Birse's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Robert Graham Birse was a graduate of the Officer Cadet School Portsea.

He was allocated to the Royal Australian Artillery and posted to the 4th  Field Regiment as a Lieutenant.

Robert Graham Birse, 23 from Turramurra NSW. Birse died of wounds at Phuoc Tuy on 10th December 1967, as a result of a grenade incident.

It was investigated as a homicide.  An Australian soldier was charged with his murder, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years jail and dishonourable discharge. The sentence was later quashed on appeal.

Like many of the dead from Vietnam, Robert Birse was initially interred at the Terendak Military Cemetery, in Malacca,  Malaysia.

An email from his sister Meredith -

The circumstances of his death and the fact that he was evidently not popular with his men have made it difficult for me to attempt contact with any old colleagues. His death of course was devastating for us and I don’t suppose you ever ‘get over’ such a thing.

His parents visited Bob’s grave twice and my husband and I returned to see it in July 2014. Certainly it isn’t easy to get there, but it is possible.

I have mixed feelings about the move to repatriate the remains from Terendak. My brother expressed the wish, should he die whilst in Vietnam, to be buried where he served and although that was not possible, Terendak is a lovely quiet place to rest. His burial there had nothing to do with cost, which my parents would most certainly have met. It was simply a matter of the wish he had expressed prior to his overseas service.

Thanks again
Meredith Ervin (nee Birse)

Notwithstanding this, Robert Birse's reamins and those of numbers of his colleagues are repatriated to Australia in 2016. He is now interred at Palmdale Lawn Cemetery & Memorial Park (Central Coast, NSW), NSW Hillside Gardens 4, Position 184

Inscription:
Lieutenant
R.G. BIRSE
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY
10TH DECEMBER 1967 AGE 23

BELOVED ONLY SON OF
BOB AND GWEN
LOVED BROTHER OF MEREDY
DUTY NOBLY DONE

Information from Find a Grave Memorial

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