Peter Clayton & John Hoskin: Tunnel Rats Vietnam
Posted on: Mon 5 Nov 2018
With Remembrance Day looming we repeat this interview with Peter and John, engineers who went bush with the Armoured and Infantry Corps in Vietnam. They stayed out for four to six weeks, operating as Infanteers and carrying out specialist duties of mine and booby trap detection and clearing, tunnel and bunker searching and demolition, and bomb disposal. It was a tenuous, dangerous existence.
Of all the men in all Royal Australian Engineer Corps (RAE) units who served in Vietnam, the only men killed in action were the Tunnel Rats. Thirty-five of them were killed! A horrendous statistic.
Interviewer Helen Meyer
Photo: A sapper from 1 Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE), hands a roll of cord on a spool to a comrade who is inside the entrance to a Viet Cong bunker which is well supported and protected by a revetment of logs. The bunker is one of a complex that was discovered by A Company, 8RAR, in dense jungle during Operation Atherton, a reconnaissance and ambush operation in the northwest of the province and the battalion’s first in Vietnam. The engineers, who are known colloquially as tunnel rats, will use the cord to detonate an explosive charge that will destroy the bunker. Photo Australian War Memorial licenced copyright