Extract from interview with Carol Dawber, 11 June 2008
Reproduced with permission of Ellie Duggan
Gunner Pat Duggan's wife, Ellie, recalls domestic life while her husband was at war, and hearing news of his homecoming.
I heard it on the radio.
Yeah (laughs) I heard it on the radio, and that was early in the morning as well it was the morning news and I’d just given Mark his breakfast and he was sitting on the floor and I heard it on the radio and I knelt down and gave him this big hug and said dad was coming home then I told the neighbours I said Pat’s coming home and they said oh no you can’t believe everything you hear on the radio and then it was in the papers.
So what was the actual news?
They were pulling out the battery so as soon as they said the battery I knew he would be home. They didn’t say Ellie Duggan your husband’s coming home (laughs) But somebody should have told me, but I suppose they couldn’t really.
I don’t know… I suppose those things are all so hush hush, well they couldn’t because there was so much kerfuffle about us being in Vietnam and in hindsight of course we shouldn’t have been there. But then you’re a solider and you go where you go you’re an army wife and you do what army wives do, either quietly or not so quietly depending on your personality I suppose.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage