Extract from interview with Pip Oldham, 17 May 2009
Reproduced with permission of Sandy Hayes
Sandy Hayes recalls receiving the news army wives dread most: 'We think your husband's dead.'
The man on the phone said, ‘Your husband’s been seriously injured. We think he’s dead but we’ll call you back at 7.30 a.m. when the office is open and let you know any further details.’ From 2 o’clock on I worried myself sick. I knew it wasn’t worth ringing up the camp because I didn't think there would be anyone else there. I didn’t want to ring the families officer because it was so early in the morning. So at 7.30 a.m. I rang him up and asked him what the story was. He said it obviously wasn't true. It was protesters making phone calls to dependants and wives, just trying to harass people and get noticed.
After that the unit arranged for all the wives’ phones to be monitored by the telephone exchange supervisor and all the calls were put through the supervisor, so if we got any calls in they would be picked up by the supervisor who then rang us who said, ‘I’ve got a call from so and so. Do you wish to accept it?’ All the calls were screened before we got them.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage
Image courtesy Sandy Hayes