Recent Events and Current & Upcoming Projects
A conversational over-view of the things that have recently happened
and that I am or would like to be involved with.
(Last updated 1 May 2018 - new stuff in YELLOW)
- The Battle of Long Tan
- Through Enemy Eyes
q Battlefield Tours
- VN Long Tan Trek Tours
- VN Decisive Battles Tours
- Europe Battlefield Tours
- History of Long Tan Cross
- Home Page
- About Dave
- Feedback/Contact Dave
- In the pipeline...
- Related Sites
Writing Projects - Current (Nov
So, many if not most of the pix are from the AWM or
the web. Copyright will be an issue if ever published but at the
moment I'm just putting it together for family and the odd interested
historian. It currently stands at about 500 A4 pages, at about 50%
Tours to Viet Nam:
The October 2013 Tour went with 14 guests - mostly Vets and many ex-officers. A smaller-than-usual group but as boisterous as any other group we've taken! And the December 2013 Cadet Tour
The October 2014 Tours to both South and North went
well - but events have conspired to not permit me to complete the 2014 Tour
Report... until now: The 2014 Tour Report is now
available for viewing at:
The planned October 2015 tour was called off when several of those interested pulled out in favour of going to Gallipoli or the Western Front for the 100th Anniversary events there.
However, to compensate, we put together a Long Tan Trek Tour for August 2016 - the 50th anniversary of the battle. It was opened to bookings late in 2015 and was fully subscribed by Feb 2016. 62 passengers! Two buses!
The Tour left Oz on Monday 15 Aug and was at long Tan on the 17th, 18th and 19th Aug for the 50th Anniversary commemorations. Unfortunately, the events were first restricted and then cancelled for the day. Our Tour group got to be at the Long Tan cross on the 19th. There's a mini-report written about the events and activities the Trek Tour faced at the time - please click on the "BUNFIGHT" report at left (7 pages).
Assured that the 2016 disruptions would not be repeated, there is a 2017 Trek Tour arranged, but back to October (depart Oz on the 14th) as has been usual for previous tours due to weather in VN and school holiday dates in Oz.
The Tour details are on web page:
It took almost as long to produce the
2016 (50th Anniversary) Tour Report - at least for the South. But it
was done and is available at:
The North Tour Report is s-t-i-l-l coming...
We have arranged for yet another Long Tan Trek Tour
for Oct 2018, followed by an extension Tour north. Details are at:
It is looking like this will be our last Trek Tour
- age, health and conditions in VN are suggesting that this be the case.
If interested, please view the details on the
web page or ring Di Sabben on
(03) 9787 8888 or mobile 0412 278 888 or email her on
email@example.com for any
details you'd like to know.
Long Tan Awards:
The Tribunal finally accepted the validity of all the awards recommended a few days after the battle of Long Tan. The separate issue of the requested VC for Jack Kirby was not approved. The investiture of these last awards took place at Government House, Canberra, on Tuesday 8 Nov 2016. The Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) invested these final Long Tan award recipients and that will, we expect, close the book on this long-running saga.
I will make no more reports on the Long Tan honours. It's been a dismal episode and reflects no credit on the original authorities involved.
Proposed film of the
Battle of Long Tan:
As at the end of 2017 the Long Tan film project began to regenerate. The Producer, Martin Walsh, completed a new round of investment-seeking and obtained a grant from the Qld State government which, we understand, built his film budget to some $20million Aust.
Since then there has been a new "push" for the film with main cast, crew and locations selected and published. Details are available on the film's website (above).
Unfortunately, all the feedback provided from the
Commanders of the battle to the film project about their script shared with
us in 2014 appear to have come to very little change. There were a
number of key historical events which were misrepresented in the script and
we felt the script did not reflect a credible image of the Army, the
conflict, the conditions or of Delta Company 6RAR. We (unanimously -
all seven of us) advised the production company that we could not support
the film project if it reflected so poorly upon the facts and conditions of
As a result, I, at least, no longer support the
film project, on the basis that the latest film script I have been
permitted to read does NOT reflect the people, circumstances or historical
aspects of the battle of Long Tan.
I think that is a pity for such a huge effort to be
wasted in this way.....
Another interesting project:
I developed it from the slides I used when I gave talks on Viet Nam and Long Tan. It's being distributed free. It should be of interest to school projects, military history buffs, serving military members and just for general interest.
I have had a great deal of good comment about this PPT presentation, including several kind deposits into the bank account shown on the last screen to assist with the costs of development. One kind soul said "If you want an excellent view of this battle, you can't go past this PPT"
I have since put up all the other Powerpoint presentations I use and give on my Tours. Yeah - it's giving away professional intellectual property, but I see it as for the good of those who want to learn. I've also put up some of my talks and lectures on other topics, given at other functions and events. Worth a browse if you have the time and interest - www.sabben.com - home page.
And Battlefields further afield...:
As the next step in this process, Di and I went to Europe in April this year. We spent a week on the Gallipoli peninsula, a week on the Western Front and a week on the Normandy landings. In between these weeks were stays in Paris, Switzerland and London, almost always looking at War-related places (but in Switzerland, it was spent mostly on their fabulous rail system including the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express). While we have not updated the 2014 proposed itinerary, we have now visited all the places and Di can put you on the right tour or tours to see them. Di's on 0412 278 888 or (03) 9787 8888 and would be happy to talk about your travel ideas.
While we have not proceeded with European Battlefield Tours, Di has used her knowledge and experience to provide many private tours of European battlefields. If this is something you'd like to do, then Di is well placed to set you on the right track.....
And while mentioning Di and her Travel expertise, you might want to visit her own website: http://www.sabben.com/DisShipsAndTrips/home.html
There's a page on her credentials and lots of the latest cruise news snippets, many pages of the ships and trips she's had and finally, lots of Cruise Specials currently on offer. Please visit if interested.....
MORE speaking activities:
For those in Sydney, I spoke at the Kirribilli RSL at their "Dine With A Digger" evening on Thursday 22 August. The talk (by request) was the Powerpoint presentation on the battle of Long Tan followed by questions. The event was well attended and I'm told no one went to sleep in the presentation - which can't be all bad!
Meanwhile, down Frankston (Vic) way - near where I live - the Frankston RSL (of which I am a member) has opened a "YOUNG VETERANS & FAMILIES WELLBEING CENTRE" to assist Vets and their families from all the post-Vietnam and Peacekeeping deployments.
In order to get the Centre known, I gave a series of free Powerpoint presentations on different Vietnam battles at the Centre for eleven consecutive Tuesday nights 23 July thru to 1 October inclusive. I'm told some 120 persons attended over the 11 sessions. The co-ordinator Kerry gave the series a big 'tick' and mentioned maybe a reprise later. Maybe!
April 2015 I'm in the NSW Central Coast, at the Terrigal RSL ANZAC Day events. Then maybe at Canberra for the 50th anniversary of National Service (second scheme) and in Brisbane early July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our march in to the NS Officer Training Unit at Scheyville.
30 May 2015 I made a presentation to the Military History and Heritage Victoria (MHHV) conference on National Service at the Mechanics Institute in Oakleigh.
August 2015 was the 49th anniversary of the Battle at Long Tan. All Nashos at the battle turned 70 years old (myself included!), so no special events planned other than maybe a rum'n'coke to remember the casualties - on both sides!
April 2016 will again be busy for me. Frankston is commissioning a new War Memorial Park on April 10 and I'll be there. Then I'll be speaking at Mt Macedon the weekend prior to ANZAC Day but will attend the first ANZAC Day at the new Frankston memorial on the 25th.
July 2016 I'll be in Tasmania, speaking at the Reserve Forces Day Parade. And later the same month, on the 27th, I'll be giving a Powerpoint slide presentation on the Battle of Long Tan at the Shrine in Melbourne. See the Shrine's website for details.
Then in August, we're back to Long Tan for the 50th Anniversary Trek Tour.
The talk with Powerpoint presentation at the Shrine in Melbourne on 27 July went well with over 100 in attendance. This was followed on 11 August with an address at a private dinner at the Athenaeum Club in Melbourne. The talk was taped but to date I have not received a copy. With the 50th Anniversary of Long Tan in a few weeks' time, the subject of the talk was "Why Long Tan?"... why does Long Tan get so much kudos when there were arguably larger battles involving more troops over longer timeframes.
Just back from Viet Nam, I spoke at the 7th Light Horse Dining-In night at Merimbula, NSW. The subject was Long Tan, but with emphasis on the 3Cav armoured action in particular. Again, the talk was videoed so can be passed on to interested parties.
Coming up soon (as I write this in early Nov) is an address to a Shrine Dinner in the (Melbourne) Town Hall on 15 Nov. To close out the year I also have a couple of talks to schools and an evening with the Monash University Regiment diggers and officer cadets.
I'm expecting my schedule of talks as being much reduced for 2017 and beyond...
...but before I do, there's a talk for the Melbourne Shrine Annual Dinner at the Town Hall, Tue 15 Nov 2016. The theme of the talk was "Correcting some False History of the Viet Nam War...". Click on the image or HERE for a copy - remembering that the text is only my guide: I do a lot of ad-lib-ing not covered in the text when talking for the actual presentation.
Scaling down on my talks, I have given several more but at the rate of only one every few months. RUSI Geelong and the Mt Eliza Country Club are the two most recent. Both on Long Tan but including some questions and comments about the context. It seems to me that there is increasing recognition that we, the Australians, actually did a good job of our task in Vietnam and actually achieved our aim of why we were there.
Thanks for looking in on my website...