5RAR Book Reviews Page


A Vietnam Diary

Author: Bruce Ravenscroft.


By 2nd Platoon Commander
Brigadier Mike O'Brien CSC

Book: Contact wait outFive Platoon B Company 7 RAR was like all of the Infantry Platoons that fought in Vietnam.

It was an equal and almost indistinguishable mix of regular and National Servicemen. Its soldiers were well-trained (in 7 RAR we considered we were the best-trained of all soldiers), well motivated, young and fit. We had several very experienced soldiers that brought with them the knowledge of other small wars. There were people of all types.

They were all dedicated to the Battalion and few, if any, questioned Australia's involvement in the war. And yet the platoon, while the same as those others had its uniqueness. It had a personality as each Australian platoon has.
5 Platoon was particularly good at the sorts of soldiering that were most demanding. It had a particularly well-honed skill in ambushing, a capability to move long distances noiselessly, a determination to get the job done. It was a very close-knit group of soldiers. It was a privilege to be associated with them.

Bruce Ravenscroft's diary is a valuable addition to the documents about the war from an Australian's perspective. He tells the story directly from the "sharp' end where the scout always was. Bruce's account makes a very important fact very clear; the average infantryman's war is, for most of the time, repetitive and tedious, but the few moments of action are so compressed that they will always remain etched in his memory. War is mainly inaction, punctuated by occasional feverish bursts of contact with the enemy.

Mike O'Brien

Melbourne, March 1997

Brigadier O'Brien is still serving in the Australian Regular Army.

From the Author:

The book is, Contact – Wait Out, and based on a day by day diary that I kept in Nam with 7 RAR.

It has been selling for $32, but for any of your members wanting one they can get it for $25 including postage anywhere in Australia.
The diary can be seen in the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra.

For anyone who wants a copy, they can email me at, Cisco5b7@gmail.com with their details for postage, and any other information they may want, and I will send them my bank details and they can put the money directly into the account, and email me back with a copy of the receipt they get.