Barry Heard. Author

The Age.

The Age newspaper 23 Jan 2019. 

Many people have contacted me about an article in  The Age Newspaper this morning March 23rd 2019. An article by Mark Dapin about Vietnam - it moved me deeply. He mentioned a soldier, Jim Booker, we were in the same Company, A Company 7RAR. Jim was different. Quiet, shy, gentle, reserved and none of us could imagine him coming out with us. The army unable to turn him into an unfeeling soldier just doing his job - kill.
His job - clean the toilets. We called him the blowfly. When we returned from the jungle, Jim was always there with a smile, a welcome and chatty. I will never forget that time we returned - with over 15 gone, both killed and wounded. He had no idea, no one told the poor man. This incident, along with him remaining in Base Camp away from the action, in time surrounded him in guilt, and all the other symptoms that war manages to create. After the war, at reunions, his name always came up - we hoped to see him.  Not one of us judged his role, just spoke of his warm smile on return to Base. The word spread - and Jim turned up - after 50 years at a reunion - hugs, smiles handshakes - so good to see our mate. He had many a welcome chat, so long, too long. Then; he realised he was one of us - a PIG and a brother. After that reunion, Jim returned to South Australia. 
Then that sad news - he had passed on...
He was sick and we didn't know it. 
Bless you Jim. 
Thank you Mark for mentioning his name.