5RAR Roll of Honour

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215958 Private. John R. Sweetnam, 20

Melbourne, Victoria.

The repetitive life of a postal officer persuaded Private Sweetnam to enlist in the army in September, 1964.
VC troops killed John in an exchange of small arms fire as his platoon conducted a dawn search-and-destroy patrol in Long My, Phuoc Tuy Province on June 9 1966.

A mate remembers:
"John Sweetnam was my mate. He was the sort of bloke who would notice you had forgotten your hat, because you often forgot your hat and stick it on your head about the time you missed it saying, “useless bastard.”
He was the voice beside us ..."Come on, we’re all mates here together, so let it go."
The sober voice reminding, "On parade at six mate ...we’ve got to go!"

And in the silence of a dripping wet twilight ‘Stand-To’, where leaden eyelids followed chin to the dust-cover, it was his ― the gentle push to my shoulder. We swore that we would make it, each one for the other. Now on that special day when the Tiger mates all gather, to slap and laugh together, to tease that special brother, for me there is one missing ... more than just a mate, he was indeed my brother.

Official commemoration: NSW - Woronora Crematorium
Commemoration Position: Niche 5 Q

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