MILLER, David John (Army 4718833)

4718833 D J Miller
The studio portrait of Pte David John Miller was taken in early 1967, the photographer is unknown;from the David MILLER family collection.

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.

(3) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), APC
David took this photograph of an M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier, or APC as they were commonly known, on the move within the Task Force Maintenance Area (TFMA).
(5) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), in patrol order
Whilst a posed informal portrait, this image shows David in full patrol order; he carries two belts of 7.62mm ammo are for the section’s machine gunner. His personal weapon is the 7.62mm SLR (Self Loading Rifle), and other equipment includes two ammo pouches and two water bottles. On this particular occasion, Dave formed part of a routine patrol in the area surrounding the TFMA.
(7) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), living quarters
This image shows David’s living quarters in D Company lines. The bunk is the Australian Army issue, whilst his SLR is by the ready, the metal trunk is also army issue and is used for storage of clothing and personal items. The men endeavoured to make their tents as comfortable as possible, hence the wooden floorboards, chair and a storage box that doubled up as a writing desk.












(8) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), relaxing in 10 Platoon lines
Off-duty, this image was taken in 10 Platoon lines shows david and some of his mates relaxing. From left: Ray WILLIAMSON (2784360 PTE Raymond WILLIAMSON), unknown, David, Lawrie HASKETT (5714509 PTE Laurie Vincent HASKETT), Milton CLARK (4718839 PTE Milton Lindsay CLARK) and Rob O’CONNOR (1201062 PTE Robert john O’CONNOR).
(11) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), local village patrol
This image was taken by David during a short break on a local village clearing patrol. The village shown was relatively close to the Task Force Base.











(12) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), cleaning weapons
A daily task that was, whilst repetitive, was very necessary. Each soldier had to dismantle their personal weapon and it clean it thoroughly. On completion of this task, the weapons were inspected by an officer or senior NCO. If the weapon’s condition was deemed unsatisfactory, the soldier would invariably placed on a charge. Fellow soldier Gunter McCARTHY (3411828 PTE Gunter McCARTHY) is shown cleaning a US Army issue 5.65mm Colt M16, whilst the rifle on the table is an SLR. The soldier with his back to the camera is Garry (“Bunny”) HATCHER (3790825 PTE Garry James HATCHER). The photographer on this occasion was David.















(13) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), shaving
A daily routine was the obligatory shave; shown shaving is Dennis O’LEARY (2786104 PTE Denis John O’LEARY), looking on is Garry HATCHER, whilst the soldier leaning against the sandbags is Ray WILLIAMSON. The sandbags formed a protective barrier against blasts and the erection of these barriers was the first major task carried out on arrival in the Task Force area.
(28) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), ice run to Baria
Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province: this photograph was taken by David whilst in Baria on the “ice run”. It was generally a daily run to collect ice from the supplier in the town. The truck was supplied by 26 Coy RAASC and accompanied by a Landrover with an armed escort supplied by the Battalion.












(54) MILLER, DAVID John (Army 4718833), David relaxing
A casual photograph showing David relaxing whilst off-duty. He is in his ‘lounge room’, a letter from home is on the bench, whilst in the background is a centrefold pin-up from Playboy magazine. Shown on the top shelf are essentials of life, which included mosquito repellent, third shelf down is another letter from home.
(55) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), picquet duty
This image shows PTE MILLER on picquet duty on the Battalion perimeter of 3RAR, D Company. David has his SLR along with a GPMG M60 7.62mm machine gun. The ammunition boxes are all belts for the M60, whilst the helmet had to be worn. The picquet duty was generally 2-hours on, 4-hours off.











(59) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), OC bunker
This image was taken very early in David’s tour and shows D Company headquarters with its sandbagged outer protection. The working area of headquarters was below ground level. The dugout housed the company OC and operations staff, OC, whilst the large tent was where the administrative personnel worked and was the company orderly room.
(50) MILLER, David John (Army 4718833), The News pic
Front page of The News (Adelaide), edition of 16 May 1968; it shows David with his wife Joy and new son David (junior) who was born on 29 December 1967. It was the first time that David, home on R&R after six months service in South Vietnam, had seen his son.



















Australian War Memorial website (
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).