Gary Morice TOWNSEND

TOWNSEND, Gary Morice

Service Number: 3786619
Enlisted: 30 June 1965, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR)
Born: Coburg, Victoria, Australia, 12 June 1945
Home Town: East Coburg , Victoria
Schooling: Newlands State School and Coburg Technical School
Occupation: Bread carter
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Vietnam War Service

30 Jun 1965: Enlisted Australian Army, Private, SN 3786619, Melbourne, Victoria
22 Apr 1966: Involvement Australian Army, Private, SN 3786619, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR)
22 Apr 1966: Embarked Australian Army, Private, SN 3786619, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR), HMAS Sydney, Sydney
29 Jun 1967: Discharged Australian Army, Private, SN 3786619, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR)

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Biography contributed by Gary Townsend

I was born in Coburg, Victoria, on 12 June 1945, to Joyce Adelaide Townsend (Nee Marston) and Redgnal Morice Townsend. At the time of my birth, VX124654 Sgt. Redgnal Townsend (/explore/people/797281) was serving in PNG with the Graves Registration and Enquiries Units, later to become the War Graves Commission.

I was educated at the Newlands State School in East Coburg and then at the Coburg Technical School in West Coburg. On leaving school I started my employment at the Coburg branch of Maples, a furniture and floor coverings retail chain. Just after I turned 18, I started work at Tip Top Bakeries in Preston, as a bread-carter.

When National Service was re-introduced in 1965 I was an inclusion in the first intake of 20 year olds, beginning my service on 30 June 1965. My Basic Training was completed in A Company, 2 RTB, Puckapunyal, at the end of which I was transferred to Infantry Corps.

Because of the initial large intake of national servicemen into Infantry Corps, not all could be trained at Infantry Centre, Ingleburn. On 10 September I reported to the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, based at Gallipoli Barracks, Holsworthy.

Along with the other national servicemen reporting I joined C Company to complete my Infantry Corps training within the battalion. At the completion of this training and with other national servicemen, from Ingleburn joining, the battalion came up to near full strength. I stayed with 2 Section, 7 Platoon, C Company, for the rest of my service.  

Most of C Company left Sydney on 22 April 1966, on board HMAS Sydney, the ‘Vung Tau Ferry’, arriving in South Vietnam 12 May. On 24 May, after acclimatisation and further training we were inserted into an area near Nui Dat in Phouc Tuy Province. This began the clearance of our Area of Responsibility (AoR) and the establishment of the 1 Australian Task Force Base.

My usual position in the 2 Section was Forward Scout and it was in this area that I took part in, as far as I know, all Operations that C Company was involved in for the deployment of the battalion.

The men of 2 Section and also 7 Platoon became as close as a family to me because of the complete reliance on each other for security and camaraderie.

HMAS Sydney, carrying the battalion, arrived back at Garden Island in Sydney on 12 May 1967 and after marching through the city I was given post-deployment leave. On 29 June 1967 I received my discharged from the Permanent Military Forces of Australia.