Published & Distributed by 1st (Aust) Field Hospital Association Inc.
Authors: Rodney Searle, Denise Bell, Paul Danaher, Gregory Anderson
RRP $149.99 + postage
Physical Details: Hard Cover with dust jacket, encased in a burgundy presentation sleeve embossed with the Fighting Bat Logo • Weighs over 2kg • Pages: 280 (High Quality) • hundreds of photos • Size: 29 cm square
Call Sign VAMPIRE, the inside story of an Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War is an insight to the world of medicine at war told by a mix of operational facts, personal accounts from those that served and, as well, the patients who passed through the doors of the hospital. Images add great visual depth and tell a story that words cannot.
This book provides a window into the frenetic world of a military hospital in a war zone. an environment where time was of the essence and life often hung in the balance.
The story begins with a brief background on the war and includes an overview of both 2 Field Ambulance, and 8 Field Ambulance, and the trials and tribulations they encountered in the lead up to the 1st of April 1968 when 1AFH was raised.
The next 15 chapters detail the flow of patients through the hospital beginning with Field Medics to Dustoff, where we acknowledge the service of the medics in the field, the helicopter pilots and the medics who flew with them.
“This helicopter that came out of nowhere was a saviour, wasn’t it? It was a bird from heaven.” ........Kevin Wigg
Our story then continues with Vampire Pad to Triage, Theatre, Wards, Doctors, Nurses, Medics, Outpatients, Psychiatry, Pathology, Xray, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy (incl 1Fd Med & Dent), Dental and Chapter 16 Medevac.
From chapter 17 we journey into the workings of other areas of 1AFH, and its subsidiary partners, such as the Red Cross, Chaplains, HQ & Admin, Admissions and Discharge, Q store, 1Fd Hyg, Transport, Catering , Messes, Boozers, Entertainment & Sport ending with Pack Up and Return to Australia.
Interspersed through the book are “Insert” chapters beginning with “It Wasn’t Always Australians We Cared For.”, “Graham Edwards AM”, “Medical Civil Action Program” “Poetry & Art” and the “Supply Chain.”
The book finishes with an Honour Roll of all who served with 1st Australian Field Hospital and its co-located units.
A long time in the making, we think this book has captured the essence of daily life at the 1st Australian Field Hospital. Every chapter is interconnected, each and every person an important cog in the mechanism that kept 1st Australian Field Hospital running on a day-to-day basis.
The story of Call Sign VAMPIRE showcases not only our humanity, compassion, empathy and an unparalleled level of teamwork but also a camaraderie that endures to this day through the 1st (Aust) Field Hospital Association.