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101 East
Vietnam's wandering souls
Australian veterans return to an old front-line to help locate the remains of thousands of fallen Vietnamese soldiers.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2012 15:45

Thirty-seven years after the Vietnam War ended, 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers remain missing. For their families, it brings enduring grief. They believe that until they are found, the souls of the dead cannot rest.

Vietnam previously helped Australia find its last six soldiers missing in action. Now two Australians - veterans Derrill de Heer and Bob Hall - are aiming to return the favour.

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Using Australian war records, maps and combat references, the veterans have produced the first comprehensive account of where nearly 4,000 missing Vietnamese troops might be found and finally put to rest.

Veteran Laurens Wildeboer spent the decades since his return from Vietnam trying to forget the horrors of war. But for 43 years, he held on to some keepsakes from that time - a journal, a book of poetry and a scarf owned by one or more North Vietnamese soldiers.

There were very few clues but fellow Vietnam Vets helped him find the 85-year-old mother of the soldier who committed his daily accounts of battle to a journal. He finds a different kind of closure on this journey to return the relics which finally find their place at the family altar.

Eric Campbell joins Laurens and the others veterans for what is a highly emotional trip back to Vietnam.

101 East airs each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230; Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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