4718833 Private David John MILLER
David John Miller was born in Adelaide on 23 September 1946; his parents were Newton Stuart Miller, a Methodist minister of religion, and Aileen Dawn Miller (nee Tiver). David was educated at Peterborough Primary School (1952-1958) and was awarded a scholarship to attend Prince Alfred College for his secondary schooling. He completed his leaving honours in 1963 and gained entry to Wattle Park Teachers’ College in 1964. After graduating, David was posted to Brompton Primary School in February 1966.
David was called up for national service and was inducted into the army on 2 February 1967. He was posted to the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion (2RTB) at Puckapunyal where recruits underwent ten weeks of arduous training. On completion, David, was posted to the Royal Australian Infantry. He entrained to the Singleton Infantry Centre for basic infantry training.
The infantry corps training was even more intense and demanding than basic training. The focus was essentially around that of a platoon rifleman with specialist advanced training given to selected individuals in mortar and pioneer platoons. Weapons training included the M60 machine gun (7.62 mm), the M79 grenade launcher and the SLR (7.62 mm). Bivouacs in the field were conducted regularly where the soldiers engaged in platoon and company size training exercises practising defence, attack and ambush tactics.
On the completion of corps training, David was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), which was stationed at Woodside (SA). He joined C Company. In July 1967, David married his fiancé, Rosemary Joy Plew. By now the Regiment was committed for service in Vietnam. It arrived in South Vietnam during December 1967 with David a member of the advance party. Its arrival brought the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) up to three-battalion strength.
On 29 January, C Company was attached to 7RAR for Operation Coburg (24 January-1 March 1968). The operation was carried out on the Bien Hoa-Long Khanh border. C Company rejoined 3RAR on February 10, when the Regiment relieved 7RAR.
The Regiment next operated outside of Phuoc Tuy during Operation Toan Thang (21 April-7 June). Toan Thang aimed to block the communist withdrawal following the Tet Offensive with 3RAR stationed on the Bien Hoa-Bien Nuong border. On 13 May it occupied Fire Support Base Coogee, before moving five kilometres north on 24 May to establish Fire Support Base Balmoral. The first attack on Balmoral occurred on 26 May. A second attack took place on 28 May. In both attacks the position was mortared before a ground assault began. Both attacks were repulsed. On 5 June the Regiment returned to Nui Dat.
During the follow-up operation, Toan-Thang II (3-18 July), 3RAR moved to the Bien Hoa-Long Khanh border. This was followed by Operation Merino (18-24 July), which took place further south in the same province. After Merino was completed, the Regiment continued to patrol Phuoc Tuy province. It was relieved by 9RAR in November 1968 and returned to Australia on 28 November 1968 where it was again stationed at Woodside. During its tour, 3RAR casualties were 24 killed and 93 wounded.
David was discharged from the Army on 1 February 1969. He resumed his teaching career and in 1970 was posted to Colonel Light Gardens Primary School. He was later successful in applying for a two-year posting to teach in the Tanzania International School in Moshi, Tanzania. The city is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro.
David’s last posting with the Education Department was to Victor Harbor Primary School in 1981. He retired from teaching in 1996 when David and Joy took over the restaurant business at Urimbirra Park. They later sold the business and entered into retirement.
David joined the Victor Harbor RSL in 2004 and was appointed its secretary; in the following year he was elected president. During his tenure, he instigated a number of positive changes in order to reverse the declining membership. Positive outcomes resulted in a large increase in membership and the move to the present premises where he oversaw the revitalisation of the Clubrooms. David remains as President of the Sub-branch; he has proved a popular leader as well being as a compassionate and dedicated spokesman for the rights of veterans and their dependants.
Australian War Memorial website (www.awm.gov.au).
Interviews with David MILLER.
Service file copy of 4718833 PTE D.J. MILLER from the Central Army Records Office (now the Soldier Career Management Agency).
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team (May 2014).