Military historian Bob Hall has turned a tour of duty in Vietnam into a life's work.
An infantry platoon commander in the conflict from 1969 to 1970, Dr Hall, from UNSW@ADFA, knows more than most how tempting it can be to keep souvenirs used or found during a tour of duty and the ethical dilemmas of what to do with them decades later.
"War is a very emotional experience for soldiers. They like to keep mementos of that time. Some of them might have taken photos or papers from enemy bodies," he says. "Soldiers are now getting old and many are now thinking they would like to return them to family members in Vietnam."
One offshoot of Dr Hall's research with colleagues Dr Andrew Ross, Dr Amy Griffin and Mr Derrill de Heer has been to set up a website for Vietnam veterans from Australia and New Zealand to list personal artefacts taken from Vietnam - focusing on Phuoc Tuy Province (now known as Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, south-east of Ho Chi Minh City).
This work is part of the team's larger project to identify the burial sites of thousands of Viet Cong missing in action.
Find out more about the research in the Winter issue ofUniken (pp6-7).
Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 1583.