FOR those who haven’t noticed while driving on Throssell Street, the CollieCardiff RSL is the proud new owner of an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).
The APC-M113, known by Australian troops as ‘Buckets’, was craned in on Sunday, February 28.
The American-built machine is one of the most widely used armoured vehicles since the Vietnam War.
It was so effective in breaking down heavy jungle and overrunning enemy positions that it was nicknamed ‘Green Dragon’ by the Viet Cong.
The M113 cost $13,500 and was purchased through Defence Disposals after a lengthy tender process.
After Vietnam, Australia kept its equipment, unlike the Americans, who pushed a lot of the equipment into the sea. Collie-Cardiff RSL president Gary Benton said they were fortunate to be able to obtain such a significant piece of equipment.
“About 18 months ago we had to fill out a detailed application form and satisfy various criteria,” he said.
“It’s basically to make sure the equipment will be looked after and not left to rust away on a paddock.”
The club was hoping to have the APC by Anzac Day or Vietnam Veterans Day, but it was approved before Christmas.
Three RSLs in WA were successful in their applications – Three Springs, Collie and Manjimup.
A private museum received another.
Collie and Manjimup both shared a truck in getting it to WA from Victoria and Russell Mehrtens from United Crane Hire donated his time and machinery to help with the move.
With the addition of the APC, it now means Collie has received three pieces of military equipment for display in the last six years – the famous Leopard Tank and a nearly restored Scout Vehicle being the other items.
The vehicle holds a sombre place in Collie’s military history as two of Collie’s three fatalities during the Vietnam War occurred in or near APCs.
Lance Corporal Keith Dewar was killed in 1969 when his APC drove over a land mine, while John Osiejak was killed in an APC turnover during training in Australia.
Fifty-four Collie boys served in the war.
Mr Benton said he was proud to be able to display the APC for all to enjoy.
“We believe it is important to provide free access,” he said.
“We wanted ours front and centre where people can climb on it and come get photos.
“Hopefully in the future we can get something from the navy to display.”