Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Elisha Pearce

FOR­MER English­man Jack Jewry, who lived in St Marys, died an Aus­tralian hero in the Bat­tle of Long Tan in 1966.

His sis­ter, Rita Thomas, said this year’s 50th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tion was im­por­tant be­cause the wider com­mu­nity was be­com­ing more aware of the sac­ri­fice Aus­tralian sol­diers, such as her brother, made dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

“It’s good they are not forgotten,” Mrs Thomas, who still lives in St Marys, said.

“He did make a sac­ri­fice. He was a sol­dier and proud to go — he said that in one of his letters.”

Mr Jewry was a lance cor­po­ral in the 6th Bat­tal­ion’s D Com­pany.

Crane­brook res­i­dent Terry Ryan was a pri­vate in an­other pla­toon at Long Tan.

Mr Ryan, 69, was wounded in the arm by a bul­let.

“I don’t re­call it hap­pen­ing to me but when it was pointed out to me it be­came very painful,” he said with a laugh, only now pos­si­ble when look­ing back over decades.

“I was shot in the arm with a bul­let that was just about spent.

“It had gone through a rub­ber tree and be­come im­planted in my arm.”

It was the quick ac­tions of his pla­toon com­man­der, Sec­ond Lieu­tenant David Sabben, that got the bul­let out of Mr Ryan’s arm and al­lowed him to con­trib­ute to the fight at hand.

“We were fight­ing for sur­vival,” Mr Ryan said. “About that time we re­grouped into a small hol­low in the ground that pro­tected us a lit­tle from small arms fire.

“Those that were able sur­rounded us to pro­tect us.

“And those that could loaded mag­a­zines of am­mu­ni­tion.

“At that stage the Viet Cong were climb­ing over bod­ies to get to us.”

Mrs Thomas reg­u­larly re­mem­bers Mr Jewry’s sac­ri­fice and what he was like as a brother.

“He was a young, happy boy full of life,” she said.

“He was in love ... I think he was mar­ried six or eight weeks be­fore he went to Viet­nam.”

Mr Jewry at­tended St Marys High School and was a West­ern Dis­tricts swim­ming cham­pion be­fore he started work as a clerk in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

Mrs Thomas re­mem­bers her brother’s per­son­al­ity in the letters he wrote home to his fam­ily.

She said she al­ways thought about her brother’s sac­ri­fice but said the 50th an­niver­sary to­mor­row would be a spe­cial oc­ca­sion.

“It will be a good day for re­mem­ber­ing,” she said.

“He will def­i­nitely be on our minds.”

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