A 22-year-old Warrnambool man who tragically lost his life just eight months after returning from the battlefields of Vietnam will be remembered at services this weekend.
Private Graham Wilson was conscripted in 1965 and spent 337 days serving in the Vietnam conflict. He had big plans for his future, but they were cut short by a car accident.
On Sunday, veterans will gather outside Warrnambool's RSL and pause to remember Vietnam Veterans Day and the battle of Long Tan.
Private Wilson was serving as a medic at the Vung Tau hospital base while the battle raging at the Long Tan rubber plantation on August 18, 1966.
His older sister Dulcie Askew remembers Private Wilson as a "very placid kid" who was the best man at her wedding.
"He was a very kind and gentle person, I suppose that was what took him into nursing," Mrs Askew said.
Private Wilson was a trainee laboratory assistant at Glaxo in Port Fairy before he was conscripted, and was a big fan of midget car racing. "We still have his white overalls," she said.
After basic training at Puckapunyal, Private Wilson was sent to the Healesville School of Army Health where he completed the medical corps training.
He was deployed to Vietnam on May 24, 1966 with the 2nd Field Ambulance Regimen.
His many letters home revealed the challenges he faced working in the hospital which he'd helped to build when he first arrived.
"We have a patient in hospital, going home on Tuesday, with an insect borne disease which has sent him silly," he wrote.
"I feel sorry for him, and I'd rather not go home at all than go home like that."
When his time was up, Private Wilson returned straight home to Warrnambool.
"I remember mum saying he just walked up the driveway at 4.30pm," she said.
"We had no phones or anything, he just arrived home."
Mrs Askew said he had planned to march in the 1967 Anzac Day parade in Sydney, but decided not to because of the backlash.
An emotional Mrs Askew said she still marches on Anzac Day to be with Private Wilson's mates.
She said her whole family were proud of Private Wilsons' service, especially her father, a WWII veteran.
Sunday's Vietnam Veterans memorial starts at 5.30pm.
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