Memororabilia 16A - Chronology


Signals in South Vietnam


Chronology Signals information from Pronto in South Vietnam 1962 - 1972.
For other information see Unit Commanders Diaries
 now held in the Australian War Memorial (AWM)

Date Event

3 Aug 1962

Captain B. R. Tinkler arrives in South Vietnam to serve with Australia Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) - First member of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals deployed in the war.  


Royal Australian Corps of Signals re-organised and re-equipped with US Radios (AN/PRC-25, AN/VRC-12 and AN/TRC-75) and Shelter Equipments. 

8 Jul

Warrant Officer Class Two Kevin Conway (AATTV) becomes the first Australian to die on active service in South Vietnam. 

10 Nov 1964

The Prime Minister announces introduction of national service to increase the Army's strength from 22,750 to 37,500. 


2 Signal Regiment in Watsonia, Victoria, received warning order to form a composite troop of 50 to move to a concentration area in Ingleburn, NSW - The start of the deployment of 709 Signal Troop to South Vietnam. 

29 Apr 1965

The Prime Minister announces the dispatch of an infantry Battalion to South Vietnam, with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) troop, a signals troop and logistic support company. 

25 May 1965

Captain Twiss, OC, 709 Signal Troop, arrives in Saigon with small Force reconnaissance party. 

Jun 1965

709 Signal Troop advance party arrives in Saigon by RAAF C130 aircraft - 7 members in South Vietnam with two AN/TRC-75’s and four Generators. 

Jun 1965
(Next day)

First communications (CW) by 709 Signal Troop to Australia (6 Signal Regiment - Melbourne, Victoria) day after arrival. 

8 Jun 1965

Main body of 709 Signal Troop arrive in Vung Tau, South Vietnam with the bulk of the 1 RAR Group on HMAS Sydney. 

30 June

First intake of National Servicemen starts recruit training in Australia. 

July 1965

709 Signal Troop having trouble manning rear and forward links (Saigon) and providing services to 1 RAR Group at Bien Hoa. 

July 1965

Major W.R.T. Bodger sent to South Vietnam to assess the Signals situation. 

14 Sept 1965

527 Signal Troop arrives with 2nd Lieutenant Jock Lonie and 29 NCO’s and other ranks to assist 709 Signal Troop. 

Oct 1965

HQ AAFV moved into the Free World Military Assistance Organisation building - New Communications Centre required but installed to fixed station standards by detachment from 125 Signal Squadron. 

November 1965

104 Signal Squadron raised for service in South Vietnam at Wacol, Brisbane, Queensland. 

December 1965

103 Signal Squadron raised by 1 Signal Regiment for deployment to South Vietnam at Ingleburn, Sydney, New South Wales. 


Australian forces in South Vietnam increased to a Task Force (1 ATF) with two battalions with supporting combat units plus RAAF Iroquis helicopters, Caribou Transport aircraft and Canberra bombers.  Also RAN maintained a destroyer on station off Vietnam. 

1 Apr 1966

1.  First elements of 145 Signal Squadron arrived in South Vietnam. - 145 Signal Squadron included a HQ Troop, 506, 520, 552, 527, 581 and 709 Signal Troop's.  Note:  527 and 709 Signal Troop's already in South Vietnam.

2.  Major Bird (OC, 145 Sig Sqn), Lt Lonie (OC, 527 Sig Tp) and (WO2 Johnson (Spvr COMCEN) WIA at Victoria BOQ early morning - minor injuries. 

May 1966

103 Signal Squadron, commanded by Major P.D. Mudd, arrive in South Vietnam by air and HMAS Sydney and set up at Back Beach, Vung Tau. 

26 May 1966

Private Errol Noack (5RAR) was the first National Serviceman KIA. 

The Australian signal centre and switchboard at Bien Hoa closed and SDS from Saigon to Bien Hoa ceased.


103 Signal Squadron deploys to Nui Dat by road and Chinook helicopters.

4 Jun

Concentration of 1 ATF at Nui Dat is completed. 

8 Jun 

547 Signal Troop advance party arrives in Vung Tau. 

14 Jun

547 Signal Troop arrives and deploys to Nui Dat. 

17 Jun

3 SAS Squadron with its Signal Troop from 152 Signal Squadron deploy to Nui Dat. 

24 Jun

547 Signal Troop starts EW operations. 

July 1966

145 Signal Squadron installed VHF radio relay trunks using the AN/MRC-69 system interconnected HQ AFV at Cholon to 1 ALSG at Vung Tau via a repeater at VC Hill in the Vung Tau area.  Another link from Nui Dat to Vung Tau provided channels from HQ 1 ATF to I ALSG and HQ AFV. 

7 Jul

Communications centre opened at Vung Tau by 581 Signal Troop (part of 145 Signal Squadron).  At Nui Dat, the task force signal squadron (103 Signal Squadron) opened its communications centre, along with cipher, radio, switchboard and SDS services. 

29 Jul

547 Signal Troop detect enemy 275 Regiment transmitter moving towards Nui Dat. 

14 Aug 1966

547 Signal Troop detect enemy 275 Regiment transmitter in the area of Long Tan. 

18 Aug 1966

Battle of Long Tan - Task Force, 6 RAR and Artillery Command Radio Nets provided good communications to support the battle. 

January 1967

SAS RA Sigs members now Detachment 152 Signal Squadron. Note:  152 Signal Squadron part of SAS Regiment. 


1.  Elements of 110 Signal Squadron, commanded by Major E.H. Hynes, arrived to begin the relief of 145 Signal Squadron and by end of May, 110 Signal Squadron had taken over all responsibilities for force signals. 

2. 139 Signal Squadron raised as a reinforcement unit for 104 Signal Squadron at Enoggera, Brisbane. 

28 Mar

Signalman B. A. Logan of 552 Signal Troop, 145 Signal Squadron KIA whilst attached to US 11 ACR on Operation Portsea 

April 1967

104 Signal Squadron deploys to Vietnam under the command of Major G.L. Lawrence to replace 103 Signal Squadron at Nui Dat and takes over the 1 ATF signals communications.

1 Apr

Sig D.T. Alexander, 145 Sig Sqn stabbed by Vietnamese serviceman in Vung Tau.  Medevac 24 April 1967. 

16 Apr

104 Signal Squadron Farewell Parade part of the Corps  Day Parade by 4 Signal Regiment, 7 Signal Regiment and 129 Signal Squadron at Wacol.
24 Apr
Cpl B.J. Humphries, 145 Sig Sqn received RF burns while repairing HF transitter.

13 Jul

Signalman Reginald Armstrong from 104 Signal Squadron WIA at US Army 1 Bde Tactical HQ, FSPB Bill which was near Thua Tich and strapped to the side of a US Army OH-47 Sioux Light Observation Helicopter and evacuated to the 7th Surgical Hospital (US Army), Blackhorse. 

August 1967

547 Signal Troop starts ARDF missions in Cessna 180A aircraft.

9 Aug

Corporal D. J. Donnelly of 104 Signal Squadron accidentally killed cleaning F1 Sub Machine Gun in unit lines at Nui Dat. 

September 1967

6 Signal Regiment (Melbourne, Australia) converted their end of the link to AFV to fully automatic operation. 

6 May

Viet Cong force reached the north west corner of the Phu Tho compound (Saigon) and rear link communications to Australian cut. 

11 May 1968

The AUSTCAN Receiver Station located at Long Binh (with US STRATCOM receivers) was attacked with 120mm rockets.  Signalman James Cole 110 Signal Squadron WIA. 

12 May 1968

Elements of 104 Signal Squadron with advance party of HQ 1 ATF deployed to FSPB Coral.  Know known as the Battle of Coral Balmoral.

13 May 1968

Main body of 1 ATF arrives at FSPB CORAL to bring the 104 Signal Squadron signals group to 51 including two 3 man detachments from 110 Signal Squadron and the 7 man detachment of US 53 Signal Battalion. Signalman Rowan Gamble 104 Signal Squadron WIA. 

16 May 1968

Signalman A.H. Young from 104 Signal Squadron KIA at FSPB Coral and two other 104 Signal Squadron Signalmen WIA (John Koosache and Ian Crosthwaite)

1 Jun

Signalman John Veall from 110 Signal Squadron WIA at the Canberra BEQ in Saigon. 

August 1968

110 Signal Squadron relocated its HQ and Q Store from Saigon to Vung Tau.

29 Sept 1968

Signalman D. E. Abraham from 104 Signal Squadron, KIA near Blackhorse (Long Khanh Province) in US Huey Helicopter. 

September 1968

AUSTCAN Receiver Station installed and operating Type 1 Rhombic Antennas at Long Binh. 

October 1968

547 Signal Troop deploys experimental DF equipment at Nui Dat.  Known as 'The Cell'. 

November 1968

104 Signal Squadron deploys COMMCEN to FSPB Lion in ACV for the first time. 

27 Dec 1968

104 Signal Squadron started section patrols for one or two days outside the 1 ATF base perimeter. 

6 May

Warrant Office Class Two M.W.T. Gill a member of RA Sigs KIA while serving with AATTV.  Warrant Office Class Two Simpson received the Victoria Cross trying to save Gill. 

November 1969

AUSTCAN Receiver Station relocated from Long Binh to Vung Tau.

February 1970

547 Signal Troop new ARDF equipment located in Pilatus Porter aircraft.


104 Signal Squadron patrol under the command of SSM WO2 A.B. Huston engage 20 enemy 4 kilometres east of Nui Dat. 

25 Aug 1970

Signalman S. T. Moore from 110 Signal Squadron dies of neuroblastomma in Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria after becoming ill in Vietnam in September 1969. 

30 Oct

MRS Vung Tau activated with MRS Saigon closing a few days later. 

November 1970

Call home service opened for Australian Soldiers using 4 wire telephones. 

January 1971

AUSTCAN Transmitter Station relocated from Nui Dat to Vung Tau. 

February 1971

EMU Switchboard (Vung Tau) TC-10 replaced with an AN/MTC-1. 


110 Signal Squadron handled 156,000 messages of which 117,800 passed through the MRS, the greatest number ever handled by RA Sigs MRS in Vietnam. 

August 1971

1.  EMU Switchboard handled an average of 8,000 calls a day - the highest load ever.   2.  547 Signal Troop relocate to Vung Tau with only the ACV detachment remaining at Nui Dat. 

18 Aug 1971

The Prime Minister of Australia announced that the Vietnam Force would be withdrawn. 

October 1971 Last members of Detachment 152 Signal Squadron (SAS) return to Australian.

Oct 1971

104 Signal Squadron relocated to Vung Tau with a detachment remaining at Nui Dat  with ACV 85C  (4RAR) and other detachments at LO locations to help complete the withdrawal. 

17 Oct

547 Signal Troop - ACV 85D last vehicle to leave Nui Dat. with HQ1ATF. 

6 Nov

104 Signal Squadron main body boarded HMAS Sydney for the return trip to Australia and its new home in Ingleburn. 

13 Dec 1971

547 Signal Troop stops operations in South Vietnam. 

16 Dec 1971

HF rear link to Melbourne was formally closed at 0005z after 61/2 years of continuous operations and carrying 1.3 million messages. 

23 Dec 1971

547 Signal Troop departs South Vietnam for Australia. 

19 Jan

MRS Vung Tau closed and reopened in Saigon.  EMU switchboard cut over to SB-86/PT. 

February 1972

Australian Army Assistance Group Vietnam (AAAGV) - Signal Detachment formed and starts taking over communications to Australia from 110 Signal Squadron.

1 Feb
Vung Tau Area COMMCEN (110 Signal Squadron) closed at 2400z.

Feb 1972

EMU switchboard (110 Signal Squadron) closed.

29 Feb

SDS and ADS (110 Signal Squadron) discontinued. 

12 Mar

110 Signal Squadron departs South Vietnam for Australia. 

17 Mar
Signalman D. A. B. Wallis from 110 Signal Squadron returns to Australia in 24 September 1970 and died in the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria.

17 Dec

Last message transmitted from South Vietnam by AAAGV.  Total of 1,790,000 messages transmitted by RA Sigs during the war.

18 Dec 1972

Australia's military commitment to South Vietnam ends with AAAGV leaving Vietnam, with its Signal Detachment.

30 Apr

North Vietnam Army tanks smash through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon - The war is over.

18-24 Nov 1979

The remarkable and striking painting 'Signals in Vietnam' is hung in the foyer of the School of Signals at Watsonia and dedicated by Brigadier K. P. Morel during the Royal Australian Corps of Signals 'Corps Week.'

3 Oct

25,000 men and women of the Australian Vietnam Veterans community march through Sydney, which marked their 'Welcome Home' from Vietnam.

3 Oct

Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial is dedicated at its sacred site on ANZAC Parade in Canberra.

19 Aug 2008 Royal Australian Corps of Signals Vietnam Plaque dedicated at the Australian War Memorial.  The Plaque is located in position number 157 on the southern side of the pathway linking the main car park to the Western Courtyard.

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