Kingaroy Memerambi RSL Sub Branch President Don Davey.
Kingaroy Memerambi RSL Sub Branch President Don Davey. Christian Berechree

What a Vietnam veteran thinks of new Long Tan movie

IT'S about time the Australian side of the Vietnam War story was told.

That's what Don Davey, president of the Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub Branch thinks.

Mr Davey, a Vietnam veteran, is excited to see what comes of the newly announced movie, Danger Close, set to be filmed outside of Wooroolin.

"What I'm delighted about is it's an Australian operation, being done in Australia,” he said.

"Too often we have all sorts of events turned into movies into America or the UK, and they oftentimes have a slant towards that country. Here, it will be an Australian flavour to what's happening.”

Mr Davey said he had never seen the Australian experience in Vietnam told authentically on screen.

"Probably the closest they came to some of the activities is Graham Kennedy in the Odd Angry Shot, and that was almost like a comedy skit rather than anything else,” he said.

"If they're portraying the actual event and telling what we consider to be the true story, then no, I've never seen anything like it.”

Danger Close, starring Australian actor Travis Fimmel, will tell the story of the Battle of Long Tan, one of the earliest major contacts in Vietnam.

While Mr Davey flew out in 1971 and did not personally serve at Long Tan, he has met plenty of people over the years who did.

He hopes the movie makers will take the time to consult with members of D Company 6, Royal Australian Regiment, to tell their story authentically.

"Whilst time has taken a few of them from us, there are still enough of those chaps that served in the actual operation that are around to be able to give the movie makers an understanding of what it was about and what followed,” he said.

"Australia needs to know what D Company 6RAR and the others involved in that activity went through, how they handled it and how they brought honour to themselves, to our country and our armed forces.”

He encouraged the film's writers, director and producers to listen to veterans speak about what they went through.

"As long as they listen to that and report true to the event, rather than trying to grab an event and beat it up to be something other than what it was, that's what the story should be about,” Mr Davey said.

A paulownia plantation near Wooroolin has been chosen as a key filming location, a decision Mr Davey applauded.

"The trees are different, but the way the trees are all laid out in that environment, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture yourself in a rubber plantation,” he said.

"It is quite an intelligent choice to include that sort of area. That's what it was all about. It was all inside this plantation area where it all happened.”

Mr Davey said he looked forward to seeing the movie.

"I'll certainly go and have a watch of it, if only to see if all the recounts and knowledge I've gained over the years, hearing and talking to people about the event, to see if it comes out the same way in the movie,” he said.

South Burnett

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