In this episode we will go back “down under” to Australia and take a look at a battle where The Anzac military forces were severely tested. There was a story in The Wollondilly Advertiser in Picton, New South Wales, Australia titled: Remembering the Battle of Coral-Balmoral. It was submitted by Ben Chenoweth and it brought the battle in question to the forefront.
The most well known battle fought by Anzac forces in the Vietnam War was at the Long Tan rubber plantation in August of 1966. Another hard fought battle involving Anzacs occurred in May of 1968 at the Coral and Balmoral fire support bases located twelve miles north of Bien Hoa. The area sat right in the middle of an off ramp of the Ho Chi Minh Trail superhighway. Early on the morning of 13 May 1968, the Anzacs were setting up FSB Coral for the purpose of interrupting the flow of troops and material into the Saigon area.
Hoping to eliminate the developing obstruction to the movement of their fighters and supplies, the NVA immediately attacked the Australians as they were setting up the base. Sharp fighting between the NVA and Anzac forces continued until June 6, 1968 when the Australians pulled out of FSB Coral and Balmoral after the fighting was over. The three week battle cost the Anzac forces 25 dead and a verifiable 300 NVA lives.
Back in Australia in 2012, the Ingleburn, NSW Returned and Services League Sub-branch Memorial Garden hosted the first Battle of Coral-Balmoral remembrance service. There were six current members, at the time, of the sub-branch who fought in the battle. That’s why Ingleburn RSL Sub-branch president Ray James started the annual because it was particularly important for several local members. He just “wanted to do something to remember Coral-Balmoral.”
The remembrance service will be held at 11am, Tuesday, May 16 at the Ingleburn RSL Sub-branch Memorial Garden (corner of Chester Road and Warbler Avenue, Ingleburn).
It is expected that at least 120 people from sub-branches across the state will attend the event this year which will mark the 49th anniversary of the battle.
All in the area are encouraged to attend to honor the memory of those who fought in the Battle Coral-Balmoral.