Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell certificate

1957-63 De La Salle College, Middle Swan
1964-65 Trinity College, Perth
1965-67 Articled cadet surveyor – Lands and Surveys Dept
1967-68 WAIT (Curtin University) – Associateship in Surveying

1968 – 70 National Service

June 1968 Recruit Training 1Recruit Training Battalion – Puckapunyal Vic.
Sept 1968 Armoured Training Centre – Puckapunyal
Dec 1968 posted to Holdsworthy NSW – Cavalry Training
Jun 1969 Jungle Training – Canungra QLD
Aug 1969 Nui Dat – Vietnam – B Sqn 3 rd Cavalry Regt.
– Posted to 1 troop as driver of APC callsign TA11
Jan 1970 R and R Australia – 21st birthday
Apr 26, 1970 – Blown up – anti tank mine
May 1970 Hospital Vung Tau
June 1970 Return to Aust.

Aug 1970- Dec 73 UK/Europe


Draftsman – Lands and Surveys
Diploma in Cartography
Diploma in Computer Programming
Post Graduate in Surveying and Mapping
2008 Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer – retired from work.
2008-2009 Cancer treatment
2009 – 2018 Farming in Boddington
2018 – Sold farm
2018 – 2019 Parkerville – Built new house
2019 – Moved to Parkerville

Vietnam stories

Monkeying around on ambush duty

My section of APCs (3 – 11,11A and 11b) were tasked with ambushing a beach which was a suspected nightly landing area for VC resupply Sampans. They were resupplying the nearby Long Hai mountains which facilitated a large bunker system and base of operations for the VC/North Vietnamese Army.

We arrived at the beach mid afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon fishing and swimming and general trying to look pretty laid back. Just before dusk we moved off north up the beach for a couple of kilometers and then scrub bashed our way inland and waited for nightfall.

Using our infrared lights we continued to scrub bash and doubled back until we were at the beach behind the sand dunes. We moved into our ambush position, hull down behind the first line of dunes above the beach about 150-200 metres from the waterline.

We used what is called a “fishtail” formation with two vehicle forming a “V” facing the beach and the other vehicle facing the jungle in the opposite direction. As there is only two crew per vehicle and we had to have pickets on one of the beach facing vehicles and the one facing the jungle we had a 3 hourly picket rotation. My vehicle (11) was one of the beach facing vehicles and I had picket duty from midnight until 3am.

While on picket we used a night vision device called a “starlight scope”. This was a fairly large powered telescope that used any ambient light (mostly moon and stars) to provide night imagery. They weren’t as good as today’s devices and provided an eerie green and black view of the world. The night was overcast and was very dark with little ambient light available. The scope therefore did not provide much of an image of the waterline and beach area.

About 1am I noticed some movement on the beach and could make out 20 plus dark shapes moving about so I quietly woke the other guys and we ”stood to” and manned the guns ready to initiate the ambush. Obviously, adrenaline was running high as we were vastly outnumbered. Fortunately, just before we opened fire the moon came out from behind the clouds and lit up the beach and Instead of VC it was a troupe of big black monkeys heading our way. Apparently, they often leave the jungle and go down to the beach for salt. Boy did I cop it from the other guys after everyone calmed down.
Ps. The next night we did get two Sampans so all was not lost.

Sloppy or over sweet

Most vets will tell you that the majority of the food contained in the American C rations was terrible.

Everything was either sloppy or over sweet. We had to buy local noodles and curry powder to try and make edible stews out of the tins of turkey with cranberry sauce and the honey glazed ham. Having spent three weeks eating C rations while out on an Op. We were hanging out for some Aussie tucker.

On our way back to “the Dat” we came across a herd of wild pigs in a jungle clearing in an overgrown rubber plantation. The guys decided that one of them would go well on a spit back at base. So rather than shooting them we decided to let off a bit of steam and have some fun trying to catch one alive.

We cut a couple of bamboo poles and made lassos on the end of each pole We the dropped the back ramps on two vehicles so they were level to and about half a metre above the ground.

Using two APCs with one guy standing on each ramp with the lasso poles we cut a small sow out off the herd and chased it until we got it between the vehicles. As we got the pig level with the back of the vehicles, the guys dropped the loops over the pigs head and we slowed down and the guys jumped off with the pig towing them around but it was securely held.

After a lot of wrestling and lost skin we managed to get it into the back of my APC. We were extremely pleased with ourselves and we headed for base looking forward to “roast pig on a spit”.

Unfortunately, when we got to our lines and we spoke to our cooks we were told in no uncertain terms to get out of the base and let it go. Apparently they have all sorts of disease and they are not edible. About the only thing that came out of it was one happy pig.