A digitalised battlefield map in the former province of Phuoc Tuy (most of the current Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in the south and Spratly archipelago), was presented to a visiting Vietnamese delegation to Canberra led by Major General Tran Quoc Dung, head of the Policy Department under the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army.
About 3,800 Vietnamese soldiers were believed to have been buried in the area during wartime.
The database is a 10-year research of the group led by Bob Hall, a military historian at the University of New South Wales who is also a veteran in the war in Vietnam. It is the result of a project entitled “Operation Wandering Souls – Bring Them Home”, which is hoped to locate burial sites of fallen Vietnamese soldiers.
Addressing the handover ceremony, Dung said the project of the Australian veterans who took part in the war in Vietnam has greatly contributed to the Vietnam-Australia relations in general and the bilateral defence ties in particular.
With the support of Vietnam, six Australian military personnel missing in action after the war in Vietnam had been repatriated to their home country.
A total of 200,000 Vietnamese soldiers of both front lines, who are still missing, had been buried in forests or battlefields along the southern region of Vietnam, and Laos and Cambodia.