Formation of the 55 AESS/EWPS Vietnam Veterans
After the Welcome Home Parade in Sydney a few people felt that all members of 55 should have the opportunity to contact one another. The mailing list was the result of that decision but it remained dormant for most of the next 2 years
During the Dedication of the Vietnam Memorial in Canberra, Ray Seymour stepped forward and took on the challenge of building the list. Some years later he had a list of 'sappers' whose contact details have been found. He also had a list of names whose whereabouts were unknown. After much tedious work and many possibly annoying phone calls he had fairly reliable details for over 100. It was hoped that by circulating this list more details would be unearthed and the list of names with details would grow.
Tony de Bont took over the recording of the contact details while Ray continued to search the phone books and Electoral Roll. The first publication of the 55 Newsletter consisting of photo-copied A4 pages with some basic clip art and included a complete list of contact names, addresses and phone numbers. It was distributed to more than 100 addresses. Over time this list grew to over 300 and by late 1998 Ray found that he could no longer devote the time and effort to the task of tracking down lost members.
The Newsletter has grown to a full tabloid style newspaper and is distributed to over 300 members throughout Australia and overseas. The paper is sent to members who have contributed financially to the cost of production and distribution. Over time there have been members lost as they have moved and we have been unable to re-establish contact.
The 55 AESS/EWPS Vietnam Veterans and their mailing list is maintained by Tony de Bont, he also edits and publishes the 55 Newsletter. The mailing list and six monthly newsletters are targeted at any Engineer who served in any capacity with 55 in Vietnam. Membership is open to all who have an interest in the unit or its members. Membership fees are minimal and the maintenance of the group is largely met from private donations.