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Australia Cross of Long Tan's return to Australian War Memorial kept secret for weeks

12:20  06 december  2017
12:20  06 december  2017 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Long Tan Cross is a memorial which was erected by the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment on 18 August 1969 to mark the site of the Battle of Long Tan , which was fought three years earlier during the Vietnam War.

The Cross of Long Tan finally returns to Australia — but its installation at the Australian War Memorial was done under the cover of darkness and its return was kept secret for weeks .

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Long Tan Cross Australia The Long Tan Cross on display at the Australian War Memorial in August 2012 For the Battle of Long TanEstablished 18 Aug. ^ a b Scott, Elise (6 December 2017). " Cross of Long Tan ' s return to Australian War Memorial kept secret for weeks ". ABC News.

The Australian War Memorial is Australia ' s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia , and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation.

The Cross of Long Tan has finally been returned to Australians, after standing at the site of the bloody battle in Vietnam for almost 50 years.

But the cross was installed in the Australian War Memorial under the cover of darkness and its return was kept secret for weeks.

The Australian War Memorial collected the cross from Sydney Airport in early November, after the Vietnamese Government made the decision to hand it back in the lead-up to last month's APEC conference.

The cross was then kept in a storage facility until Tuesday night, when they installed it in the Reg Saunders gallery.

Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said he was proud of his staff for keeping its return a secret.

"Given the sensitivities around it, we all kept very quiet," he said.

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The Long Tan Cross is a memorial which was erected by the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment on 18 August 1969 to mark the site of the Battle of Long Tan , which was fought three years earlier during " Cross of Long Tan ' s return to Australian War Memorial kept secret for weeks ".

The Cross of Long Tan , a relic of Australia ’ s involvement in the Vietnam War is now being displayed in the Australian War Memorial . The cross was set up in the War Memorial during the night and its return to Australia was kept a secret affair for weeks .

"Confidence has been kept."

The cross was erected by Australian soldiers in 1969 at the site of the controversial Battle of Long Tan, during which 18 Australian men were killed.

It was the most costly battle for Australian troops in the Vietnam War.

The cross's return comes after Vietnamese authorities cancelled official commemorations at the site of the battle last year, on its 50th anniversary.

"A number of attempts have been made over the years to get the cross back, including by us here at the Australian War Memorial," Dr Nelson said.

"We tried unsuccessfully to have it on loan for the 50th anniversary in 2016.

"I think the issues surrounding the frustration … in 2016 trying to go to the site and visit the cross itself, I think that played a role in it."

The cross was erected by Australian soldiers in 1969 at the site of the Battle of Long Tan. © Provided by ABC News The cross was erected by Australian soldiers in 1969 at the site of the Battle of Long Tan. 'A great act of generosity'

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The Long Tan Cross is a memorial which was erected by the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment on 18 August 1969 to mark the site of the Battle of Long Tan , which was fought three years earlier during the Vietnam War.

The cross was returned to Australia during a secret operation in early 2017. On Friday morning it was unveiled as the latest exhibition on display at the Australian War Memorial . The battle of Long Tan on August 18-19, 1966 saw Australian and New Zealand soldiers fight a Viet Cong force that

He said the Vietnamese Government had recognised the emotional significance of the cross to Australians.

"It's a symbol of service, of suffering and remembering with love and emotion, the men who fought and suffered and the families who supported them," he said.

"In the end, the cross, this place, it's not about war, it's about love and friendship."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the return of the cross was a "great act of generosity" by the Vietnamese Government.

"It is remarkable that older men now, the generations of fighters on both sides, bear no grudges against each other," he said.

"They fought and they died and they served and now they are friends."

He said the agreement to return the cross promised to carry the friendship of the two nations forward.

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