114 VVN – Vietnam War Entertainers

The Vamps, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran News

The Vamps, Landing Zone Ross, November 1967. It was during this performance that the band was forced to leave the stage due to a Viet Cong mortar attack. Left to right: Julie Hibberd, Margaret Britt, Denise Cooper, Carol Middlemiss and Valerie Fallon.

In this episode we are going to look at some of the unsung heroes of the Vietnam War and that is the entertainers. I am not talking about the big time stars like Bob Hope or Phyllis Diller but rather the hundreds of unknown bands from such places as The Philippines, Australia and even the USA that roved around Vietnam to entertain the troops and provide a short diversion from the war.

I will tell the story of a group from Sydney, Australia called The Vamps. It was an all girl band led by a remarkable woman named Margaret Britt. She formed the band and ran it with a firm hand on its travels through the country.

All Vietnam Veterans should salute The Vamps and all the other entertainers who risked life and limb to bring us all a little much needed entertainment from home.


Comments

114 VVN – Vietnam War Entertainers — 31 Comments

    • You are very welcome. I too enjoyed the Aussie entertainers up in the mountains at Pleiku and at Camp Eagle near Hue. I hereby present you with an official Vietnam Veteran News Podcast Salute.

  1. Hiya had the Pleasure of gigging with Margaret Brit a few weeks back… she is still Awesome…. and going strong…. Good on these girls xoxo

  2. Hi Terri Scott from The Pussycats all girl band Australia We were reported missing in Saigon Tete. The Pussycats were originally with the Vamps and formed a new band The Pussycats. I went back to Vietnam again with The Digger Revell Show 1970 I would love to share our stories.
    Cheers Terri

  3. In 1968 when I was injured and survived the Battle of Coral I was hospitalised at 1st Australian Field Hospital in Vung Tau when a group of Australian entertainers came into our hospital ward and performed for all injured soldiers. This was a real life scenario when civilians came and shared their talent to make the injured feel good. We showed our appreciation when in 1992 all Vietnam entertainers were recognised with the Vietnam Logistic Support Medal a project I had initiated at the 1986 Tamworth Country Music festival. Margaret Britt is a wonderful humanitarian still caring for all Vietnam veterans and victims of mines and agent orange. I dedicate this message to all entertainers who support soldiers in war zones around the world.

  4. As an old Vietnam entertainer I glad to hear that the GI’s loved what we were doing,we loved entertaining the young guys, we also mingled with the GI’s they were friendly bunch of young people.

  5. This is wonderful! Margaret Britt is my cousin and she’s STILL gigging and hasn’t stopped in all these years. Sadly, Australians know nothing about the Vamps or their history although some of this is gradually coming out. Thank you so much for this tribute. Magaret is still a valiant little soul, battling with PTSD after her time in Vietnam but as I said, still gigging.

  6. Hi,I’m Leone Britt and Margaret is my cousin and I wanted thank you so much for this podcast! Margaret is still a valiant soul who has been gigging since Vietnam and is STILL out there playing her music as The Skyz The Limit – what a great tribute to her and the others. Thank you!

  7. Thanks for your sharing of the efforts of the entertainers in “Nam who were not a part of the Govt and ABC entourage, but who should be recognised and who stayed and worked there a helluva lot longer.

    We LOVED working for you guys any time we had the opportunity.

    Gloria (Gloria and the Mystics 1968, the Beaumarks 1969, Xanadu 1971. and the Daughters of Zeus 1971.)

  8. Thank you for honouring my very best friend, confidente and BLOODY hard task master. I replaced Val Falloon on bass in The Vamps on their return from Vietnam. We then traveled throughout South East Asia entertaining at all the R&R centres and U.S. bases.From there we went off to “the world”for a few years. I left The Vamps in the States, returned to Melbourne, and promptly departed with a band “Phoenix” for a stint of 3 months, touring Vietnam.
    Margaret Britt is a LEGEND and should be recognised as such.
    Thank you again

  9. Hi My name is Susan Green and I am Margaret Britts Neighbour and friend.Margaretis such aWonderful person she never stops giving and caring for so many people over the years and she is still gigging today .Margaret is so remarkable as she battles her own Health problems she keeps going strong. It is wonderful u are doing a story on the Vamps because Margaret deserves to be Recognised for all she has done for our country.This little Pocketrocket is always on a mission to help someone!!Thankyou!

  10. I got to work with some of these girls in later years and they are all good muscians and Margaret is a first class person and a great friend.

  11. I am also a cousin of Margaret Britt’s whom I seen Marg rise to fame when the Vamps were 1st formed in Orange NSW back in the mid- late 60’s when I was only a boy in short pants seeing her play originally at the Cherry Blossom Hall & also “Stomp City” ( Amoco Hall. As we have all seen Margi rise to fame she reminds me of a collectible bottle of Red, just gets better with age. In addition there is a very quiet, very caring side to Margi who on countless occasions over many years always go to the aid of the sick, being an absolute selfless person that she is.You are an Angel in disguise. I luv you to the moon Darl, Keep on Rockin’Cuz xo xo

  12. Proud to say that I am a long term family friend of the Britt family .Margaret’s father Jack was a top livestock contractor in Orange N.S.W. many year’s ago and was a close mate of my father who also came from Orange . Margaret’s brother john taught me how to play guitar back in around 1957 ‘What a super family the Britt outfit are And Margaret is one of Australia’s best ever performing rock star’s That pave’d the way for female entertainer’s .

  13. WOW !!!!
    Thanks Mac for sharing a small “snippet” into the life of such a Champion Lady, Margaret Britt. I too am related to this most wonderful person and am not only so very proud of that, but can’t express in words just how great she is. Even with her own sufferings from that time spent there, as her cousin Kim explains, she always finds time to help a soul in need. I too am of the belief she is an Angel in Disguise !!!!
    Don’t ever stop my Dearest Auntie, you’re loved and Treasured by a Great Many, Love from all of us Always.

  14. I have performed with Margaret Britt recently. Time is moving on, however, the touch and style of playing guitar and singing is still there – keep it up you wonderful person. The history of your working in bands from the 1960’s till now is of great appraisal to you.

  15. I have only recently met Margaret during the passing of our good friend Griff Beale.

    I said to Margaret out of something very bad came the great joy of meeting her,she has the love & admiration of both my wife & myself, I am an ex singer & picker & her performances never fail to amaze me. Go Marg!
    George

  16. Played with Marg for many years.She is a legend.Very supportive,lots of fun & deserving of any accolades given to her.Always there for anyone needing any help despite her own health challenges. Loves to play anywhere, anytime & refuses to fade away…….

  17. Have known Margy for 55yrs & have loved the journey. she was & still is a great entertainer. Her group now are in great demand & getting to see her usually means going to a gig where they are playing, but believe me that is no hardship. My wife & I just love the entertainment. Keep on playing Mate. Hope to see you again real soon.

  18. I have known Margaret for a few years now and continue to enjoy the music of this talented lady as well as her friendship.
    i did not know her during her Vietnam escapades years, but was fascinated to hear of her exploits. i feel she and her musical associates deserve all the praise and appreciation that has been bestowed upon them.
    Keep Going Margaret! Love Jack.

  19. have known Margaret for a few years now and continue to enjoy the music of this talented lady as well as her friendship.

    was fascinated to hear of her exploits. i feel she and her musical associates deserve all the praise and appreciation that has been bestowed upon them.
    Keep Going Margaret! Love Jack.

  20. Congratulations Margaret, amazing your part in Vietnam.
    Very brave lady. Thank you very much for sharing.
    Love Paula

  21. Margie Britt was and still is my mentor and my music career and any success I have is because of her belief in me. Her encouragement, and criticism, was and still is always welcomed because it is honest and sincere and without malice or jealousy. To have had Margaret in my life has been a gift from God and I am so fortunate and grateful. Thank you Margaret, love Jackie.

  22. I have known the Britt family for 50 years. I classed and still class Margaret, her brother John, her ex-husband Jon Kirk who was in the Jules Blattener Group, her parents and her current partner Michael as my family. Although I haven’t seen them I can nearly guarantee that Margaret has a set of ….. As great a musician that she is (one of Australia’s finest) she is a greater person. Margaret is always looking after helping or worrying about other people, putting who own well being second. I love her very much and I am sure that her heart is as big as her set of …. Australians are very lucky and proud to have a band such as The Vamps represent them in Vietnam and all over the world.

  23. Hi Mack
    Thanks for your wonderful podcast. Margaret Britt is an awesome musician and has been a great friend and mentor for me. I first met her in Sydney .. one night after a gig in the Rocks (just under the bridge) I wandered up to the Kings Cross and next to the fountain there was a cool bar with a cool blues band doing their business with a guitar player that was rocking! Blonde hair and a red SG Gibson – giving it some. The next week we all went up and MB had us up for a jam – it was great, that’s how this story starts and there are lots of stories to tell. My mate M. Britt is so cool!

  24. I have not known Margaret for very long, we met while visiting a friend of ours, another Vietnam entertainer who has since past away.We kept in touch ever since. I think Margaret is the sweetest person I have ever met, and i feel lucky to have met her. We went to see her at one of her gigs last Sunday, and by golly she still got it.Love always, Lily and George

  25. I didn’t know about the Vamps how fantastic they were and brave. I see Margaret as Skyz the Limit now and they are just really great very friendly and entertaining and still playing after all these years. She is still getting people up and dancing. Well done to the Vamps and Margaret Britt.

  26. I’ve known Margaret for many years & yes she is the best entertainer & organiser I’ve ever seen & she’s still going strong with ” Skyz the Limit”, she deserves all the kudos’, so thankyou Mack, for that, she had to wait many years to get any recognition at all in this country for her stint in Vietnam, with the other girls putting on shows for “the boys”.

  27. known marge for 20 years and am amazed by what she has achieved through her life.It would be amazing if her group The Vamps were recognized for their great work during the Vietnam war COME ON AUSTRALIA GET BEHIND THE real first all-girl rock band.

  28. Hi Margaret ,
    It is Elvis , I had seen the picture you sent , you had long hair during that day and the mini skirt which was very popular in the 60’s . I opened the podcast but i heard two voices talking at the same time , anyway , it brings me back some Vietnam memory , hope the love and peace will prevail.

    Elvis

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