Esperance locals gather on 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan

Almost 40 people gathered at the Esperance War Memorial to remember the sacrifice of the Australians who fought in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Veteran's Day was held on August 18, on the 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

The 1966 battle, which took place in a rubber plantation, saw a vastly outnumbered company of Australian and New Zealander soldiers hold off Viet Cong forces and the North Vietnamese Army, thanks to their accuracy, discipline and the timely arrival or reinforcements.

After a low turnout in 2018, the Esperance RSL voted not to hold the ceremony, but a service was privately organised by individual members of the RSL.

The service included the sounding of the Last Post and a wreath-laying ceremony.

A special mention was given to Private Brian Charles Beilken, who has family living in Esperance and was one of the five last Australians to lose their lives in the Vietnam War.

Mr Beilken was killed in the Battle of Nui Le as part Operation Ivanhoe on September 21, 1971.

Esperance RSL member Brian Pierce said it was important to honour the sacrifice of veterans from all fields of conflict, regardless of how many attended the service.

"Even if one person turns up you should recognise people that gave their lives to go away," Mr Pierce said.

"We felt we should give consideration to those that gave their lives irrespective of where they were in Australia.

"We as a community and as a country, should respect the ones that paid the supreme sacrifice as well as the ones who returned because they were part of our community."

An estimated 50,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War, with 521 losing their lives and more than 3,000 wounded.

Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley said Vietnam Veterans Day gave us all the chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by Australian service men and women during the Vietnam War.

"Beyond those who lost their lives in Vietnam, many more of our service personnel returned home and continue to bear the physical and emotional scars of that campaign," Mr Tinley said.

"The Vietnam War was the largest contribution of Australian service personnel since World War Two. It reinforced the reputation of our armed services as determined and courageous professionals who would not let their mates down.

"To all of those who served our country, and to all those who continue to serve, we give our utmost gratitude, respect and heartfelt thanks."