Movie of 5RAR first tour
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© Mick Henrys
Battalion Armourer
1st Tour
author: mick henrys

Earlier this year "The Doc’s Movie" was used to support a Year 12 History class in Western Australia. The following, in the words of their teacher, is a summary as to how it came about and also how it has developed.

In early 2007 I was trying to find an accurate representation of the Vietnam War to show my year 12 Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE) History students. As a secondary school teacher, teaching Australian History to students bears a certain responsibility. Providing them with an accurate representation of events is always foremost in my mind. I am always encouraging them to seek out older people who have life experience to discover different perspectives. In fact, one of their assignments is to construct a hypothesis about Australian history and research it by interviewing people to test their hypothesis.

I finally spoke to a video distribution shop called Jaguar Videos in a suburb called Midvale in Western Australia. They said I was in luck as a man who knew someone in the eastern states, was currently in the shop. The man (I cannot recall his name) said that he had the number at home and rang me later and gave me the number of a gentleman who had fought in Vietnam called Mick Henrys.

I rang Mick, left a message and he got back to me later that day. He explained the DVD was filmed by 5RAR’s Doctor to provide a legacy of their experiences for family and friends, especially to those who had passed away. We had a lengthy conversation and I ordered the DVD which arrived a few days later.

When I sat down to view The Doc’s Movie, prior to showing my students, I was not prepared for what I experienced. It certainly was not just another documentary!

I felt quite overwhelmed by the connection I felt towards the events portrayed. Why? I discussed this with Mick later and we came up with a few possibilities. Upon reflection I believe it impacted me because:

In a false world, The Doc’s Movie is real.

The Doc has captured on film, the essence of a human being, heart!
Doc's Movie portrays individual Australian men who, despite being placed in the difficult situation of war, rise above their circumstances and emanate a positive ambience throughout the movie to each other and those they come in contact with, especially the Vietnamese people. That’s inspirational!

Finally the day came to show my students. They knew the background of the DVD and were eager to view it.

Silence fell over my usually very social students as they soaked up the scenes and music (Later they wanted to know who sang which song and thanks Mick for sending those to me previous to watching the DVD). That day, after viewing The Docs Movie they just wanted to debrief. Viewing reality can be an awfully confrontational experience. I have enclosed their responses.

My students have often referred to the Doc's Movie. Many have made reference to it in their formal assignments, to back up a point they were trying to make. In class conversation, students often refer to the importance and impact of the Doc capturing history.

These are quotes from my students who are 16 – 17 years old:

'It's a good film and would make a good text to reference. I like the fact that it’s not a re-enactment, but actual footage from the war, it gives it more body.
The scene with the 'hueys' and sparrows were excellent, just the raw sound of the blades ripping through the air'.

'Amazing footage! Seeing actual recordings really helped me to understand the conditions the troops and civilians had to live under. The music added to the atmosphere and intensity of the war situation'.

'The movie clips show what the living conditions were like, the kind of landscape they were fighting in, the equipment and weapons used. It shows the spirit of the soldiers and the villagers. It shows what it was really like, not just fighting but helping villagers. It shows the reality of it all'.

'It doesn't seem real!
It just looks like another war movie.
It’s really sad, you just keep thinking that its all pretend and that all the men that have been injured or killed are just pretending.
But it’s an excellent movie and should be shown to all history students'.

'By watching the movie it gave us a better understanding of the way the Australians fighting in the war coped and helped with understanding the conditions the men were fighting in and the habitat of Vietnam. It showed some of the extremes, which was really good in creating a clearer picture for us. By showing the villagers, it let us compare the soldiers' to them and helped with our interpretation of the war. It is definitely a good documentary to show to high school students'.

'This DVD will be a valuable resource for all who witness it. It gave us an insight as to how these people survived at such a horrific time'.

'The movie gives me a really good understanding of what was happening in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Even though if there's no talking, just the photos show a lot of who was there, what they did and how they got out of it. It's also good because they don’t just show the Australian soldiers' but the others who were involved'.

'Really interestingyou actually get to see what Vietnam looked like. You get to know who people were. They’re not numbers filmed in black and white for propaganda. It’s real and because it’s not in typical documentary style it captured my attention. I liked it…… and I think it would be good to show in more schools'.

'I thought that the movie was interesting just to see what happened back then and how the Australian soldiers coped with it.'

'Shows real life footage from Vietnam. Should be viewed by not just students learning about Vietnam, it should be shown to all Australian students. This shows how tough the troops had it and the type of terrain they endured. But as you watch it you see the true Aussie spirit, the men are all smiling and look happy. To them they are just doing their job.
The DVD would be good for students because they can see how hard and tough it would have been for our troops'.

'I think it's a good movie to show. Real life shots and gives more of an understanding of the conditions'.

"Thank you Tony and Mick, for capturing and sharing with us a part of your lives, so not to be forgotten, but recalled and remembered by those who have the privilege of watching your DVD".

"I am currently investigating what I can do to have The Docs Movie promoted to schools that teach Australian History.
God Bless and Keep You
May 2007
Ellenbrook Christian College.”

Needless to say, Tony White and the production team of Tony Henry and Mick Henrys are extremely happy to witness this development. We would very much like to know who the gentleman in the video shop in Midvale was. I feel certain that he will be one of “our own”. Can anyone help or step forward and take credit?

We will be working with Jannina and hope to be able to report more on the extended use of the "The Doc’s Movie" as a tool in educating young Australians.

Tony White wanted to make the following comment himself:-

Tony White:

We've had many compliments on the movie from veterans and their families and these are, of course, gratifying. However I found the comments of these young Australians and their teacher, from outside the veteran community, profoundly moving. For most of them and possibly even their teacher, the Vietnam War is as remote as the Boer War.

I am proud that movie footage I shot over forty years ago should evoke such warm and positive responses towards the Battalion that we all hold so dear.

Best wishes,


In case anyone would like to order copies of the movie we have included an order form. Thank you for your support.

Mick Henrys.

For more details about the DVD Click Here