Allan Nolan

I recently had a communication from a Major JD Tilbrook about one of the members of 106 Field Workshop who was claiming a Veterans Affairs Pension. After the matter was resolved, he agreed to send me a copy of the After Action Report for a contact which occurred in April 1970. The following are extracts of his letter to me:

  1. the Unit "Report for April 1970", and,
  2. the "Contact/Incident After Action Report"


  1. Letter from Jim Tilbrook
  2. RAEME Unit Monthly Report - Apr70
  3. Contact/incident After Action Report

From Jim Tilbrook's Letter

As promised here is a copy of your units after action report for the enemy contact on Long Son Island on 22 April 1970 which resulted in 3xVC WIA (1 escaped or DOW) and 4xVC taken POW. A comendable effort.

106 Fd Wksp was the only TFMA (sic) unit in the history of the Vietnam War to have a contact with the enemy in contested territory ...........

Tim Tilbrook

RAEME Unit Monthly Report - Apr70 (extract)

Long Son Island
  1. In the week commencing 19 Apr a major TF operation was conducted against the suspect HQ area of a VC battalion. For the operation all three Australian battalions were deployed and TF tactical HQ moved out of Nui Dat.

  2. A continuing task was the protection of an engineer party on Long Son Island and general operations against a VC production cell on the island. The TF HQ D and E Pl had been employed on this task up until 18 Apr when they were required to return to Nui Dat to prepare for their role of defending TF tactical HQ during the major TF operation. 106 Fd Wksp was ordered to provide a platoon of one (1) officer and 19 other ranks to relieve the TF HQ D and E Pl.

  3. After preparation by vide para 6 the platoon deployed to Long Son Island by Chinook medium helicopter on the afternoon of 18 Apr. They established a base camp and then commenced patrolling and general defence duties.

  4. The workshop platoon was under command TF but the workshop remained responsible for their maintenance and administration. The platoon was resupplied on 20 and 22 Apr 70 by Iroquois helicopter

  5. On the evening of 22 Apr two sections commenced water borne operations in two engineer assault boats to check on sampans returning to the Island. During this operation a contact with 5 VC resulted. A report of the incident is contained in the enclosed after action report.

  6. The platoon returned to Nui Dat on 23 Apr

Contact/Incident After Action Report

SPECIAL NOTE: for a more in-depth account of the Long Son incident and a record of the mens' names, read (Capt.) Steve Cartner's Long Son Booklet in PDF format (8Mb download) - NB: use 'rotate' to display landscape pages and photos in portrait. Go Here To Read

Also, See the mens' names in this picture - unfortunately there are some missing names. Go Here To View


1. Report by:No 58710 Rank:Capt Name:CARTNER Bn:106 Fd Wksp RAEME

2.Date/Time of contact: 221900H    Grid location:YS 292585

3.Duration of (i) Firefight 15 secs  (ii) Total  15 secs

4.Description of contact, including task and events prior to contacts and friendly/enemy reaction. Include sketch:

    1. Task:- To apprehend sampans in the northern swamps of Long Son Island and check personnel for identification cards

    2. Contact:- A sampan was being checked at 293585 by one of the assault boats when 5 VC aboard a sampan 100m away anticipated they would be next to be apprehended. The sampan then gathered speed and headed in a westerly direction trying to outrun the assault boat

    3. A warning round was fired from a M 79 over the sampan, it then moved towards the mangroves and 3 VCs jumped out and ran ashore, small arms warning shots were fired and they were ordered to halt, the enemy however kept running towards the mangroves. The patrol then opened fire on the enemy with the following results

      1. 1VC hit twice in the thigh but managed to reach the safety of the mangroves, he dropped medical supplies and personal documents which were recovered by the patrol

      2. 1VC hit twice in the neck, he dropped a pack that was not recovered

      3. 1VC surrendered with a pack of food in his possession

      4. 1VC aboard sampan hit in pelvis

      5. 1VC aboard boat surrendered

    4. Results:- 4VC PW

    5. Captured were also 2 sampans, one which was abandoned by a guide who escaped into mangroves 400m from the contact area

    6. After the contact two personnel remained at the contact area to try and locate the wounded VC, the assault boats then moved 600m in a SE direction to try and effect a "dust off" on dry land, but the tide was running out rapidly as a result the assault boat and sampans were stranded in the mud. With the use of torches, helicopters were directed near the boats and evacuated the enemy, the task was made hazardous was waist deep mud and darkness.

    7. The tide came in at midnight allowing the boats to return and pick up the two members at the contact area

[Then follows some statistical information about weapons used etc.]


22. Company commanders comments

  1. To my knowledge the use of assault boats by the patrol was the first occasion that the enemy had been encountered by this method and feel that these tactics in the vicinity oflong Son could be successful to prevent enemy movement

  2. After action reports and incidents indicate that VC sympathisers are apparent amonst the RF forces on Long Son

S Cartner
Ptl Comd