Ian Williamson (L) shakes hands with Nguyen Sy Dinh, the brother of Nguyen Sy Quy, at his home in Thanh Hoa Province Tuesday. Photo credit: VnExpress
An Australian veteran returned the belongings of a Vietnamese soldier he had killed in the Vietnam War to his family in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa Tuesday, news website VnExpress reported.
Many people in Nguyen Thinh village, Thieu Nguyen Commune, flocked to the house of Nguyen Sy Dinh to see Ian Williamson return a hammock and compass belonging to Nguyen Sy Quy, Dinh’s younger brother, who was killed in a battle in Phuoc Tuy, now Ba Ria-Vung Tau, in 1971.
Williamson had been deployed when he was just 20. On June 13, 1971, he shot dead Quy during his first battle in Phuoc Tuy.
Later that day his platoon commander gave him the hammock and compass belonging to the Vietnamese soldier.
He later learned that soldier was 24 years old.
After leaving Vietnam, he was troubled and personally wanted to return the hammock and compass to the Vietnamese soldier's family, and kept searching for them.
Villagers gather to see the moment the artifacts were returned to the family. Photo credit: VnExpress
With the help of his daughter Amanda, Colonel Darren Kerr, defense attaché at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, and MARIN, the Hanoi-based center for legal consulting and assistance for martyrs' families, he found Quy’s family.
He burst into tears while returning the artifacts to Quy’s family members, appreciated the warm welcome they gave him and hoped Quy would rest in peace.
“I cannot apologize for what we were trained to do. I was a soldier. It was a war…
“I have no right to imagine the grief you had been through... I know the loss will stay with you forever.”
Dinh, Quy’s brother, said he was deeply moved to see the things belonging to Quy, who is listed as missing in action. He said his family wished to soon find Quy’s remains to bring home.