Added: 20th May 2008
Filesize: 2.15 MB
Extract from an interview with Claire Hall, 28 December 2007
Reproduced with permission of Richard Mountfort (1944-2008)
But there were one or two hair-raising incidents. There was one stage we'd gone by water and we were walking along the banks of this river and I knew there were a lot of Viet Cong around but you just got on with it. Anyway, this woman started talking to us, you know, and I said to [unclear] 'What's she saying?' and he said 'She's telling us the Viet Cong were here collecting taxes last night.' So that was a bit sort of slightly nerve wracking, but fortunately nothing came of it. Then there was another occasion where we were right down on the coast, and I was trying to get to this coastal one, and you know of course with a jeep and trailer you can't turn round when you're going a paddy bund that's only just a bit wider than the vehicle tracks. And anyway, we got to the end and there was this little bridge and across there was a Vietnamese outpost with an American team in it, and I thought well, we'll go and stay with them. We got there and the American team weren't there, and I said well, we're not going any further. Too late in the day, too dangerous, we'll just stay here the night, just sleep against the wall.
Well, fortunately they came back, in their...assault boat, and they zipped across the water, and I was talking to the senior American. And I said to him 'We want to go to this outpost here', and he said 'Well, that's alright, I'll take you with the assault boat tomorrow morning.' Well anyway, we went round and it was the most unfriendly welcome I've ever had. These guys were there pointing all their weapons at us. Anyway, I got talking to them, and they must've had something to hide these guys. Anyway, fortunately no shots were fired, but I said to him afterwards 'What was their excuse for behaving like that?' and he said 'Their excuse is they thought you were Russians.'
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage