V Company and the Captured Car

Peter KimberleyArticles, New Zealand ArmyLeave a Comment

By Noel Hains

In 1968-69, Victor Company (and W Company), Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment was attached to 4RAR creating 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC).  While on Operation Capital II near the Courtenay Rubber Plantation in the north of Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, a Victor Company forward scout saw something that looked out of place in the thick scrub in front of him. A section was deployed to move forward and investigate. They discovered an abandoned black French Citroën car. The vehicle was dragged clear of the undergrowth.

The capture of the vehicle was duly reported to higher headquarters on 27 November 1968. The car had been captured at Grid Reference YS521885 near the south east corner of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation. Operations Capital I and Capital II were highly successful. As well as the capture of the car, over 150 weapons were captured, 438 bunkers destroyed and four trucks destroyed.

The car showed signs of battle damage. Its rear window carried several bullet holes and by remarkable coincidence, it bore the number plate NVA 601. Victor Company was instructed to get rid of the vehicle as it was not military issue. However the car was brought back to Nui Dat, refurbished by the RAEME tradesmen of 102 Field Workshops, and painted pink before being donated to Sister Pam Terry, a nurse of the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, to be used by Sister Pam and other nurses to drive around Vung Tau. The vehicle was passed on to each of the Australian and New Zealand nurses over the following years.

Vung Tau, South Vietnam. 1969-12. Alighting at the beach from the vivid pink Citroen sedan belonging to the fifteen ANZAC nursing sisters of the 1st Australian Field Hospital, are, Lieutenant (Lt) Ann Hall of Kyogle, NSW, Lt Diane Lawrence of Killara, NSW, and Lt Ruth Page of Parramatta, NSW. Used as an assassination car by the Viet Cong, it was captured in 1968 by the New Zealand Victor Company of 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) (The ANZAC Battalion comprising 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and a component from the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment). Members of 102nd Field Workshops spent many months of off-duty work on the vehicle.

The capture of the vehicle is recorded in the 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) War Diary.

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