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1st Australian Field Hospital, Call Sign Vampire the inside story of an Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War, Doctors, Nurses, Medics, RAADC, RAAMC, RAANC, Australian Army

Call Sign

The inside story of an Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War
ISBN: 978-0-646-83599-0
RRP $149.99 AUD


“ ......anyone who is a relative or a friend of one of the patients should read the book, it will help them understand what it was like to be there and give you a very good appreciation of the wonderful work that the medical staff did to keep our diggers alive and help them recover. And, of course, anyone who worked in Vietnam as a member of the medical fraternity, whether a medic, a surgeon, a nurse, or a member of the Red Cross.”

Karl Metcalf (7RAR)

Call Sign Vampire the inside story of an Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War, 1st Australian Field Hospital Vietnam 1968 to 1971, Military Medicine, Dustoff, Vietnam War, Australian Army, Vietnam Nurses, RAAMC, RAADC, RAANC, Australian diggers,

“The women and men who served there, who treated, cared for, looked after all the wounded and sick are in my mind the true heroes of the Vietnam war. I will never forget the unknown nurse who spoke to me in a dark ward as I woke from surgery extremely distressed and vomiting  You’re safe here Private Berry ''. I thank them all daily - Michael Berry (7RAR)

Dedicated to all who served with the 1st Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War and to the patients who passed through its doors into their care. 

ISBN: 978-0-646-83599-0

Published & distributed by 1st (Aust) Field Hospital Association Inc. ABN 42 805 791 858

Authors: Rodney Searle, Denise Bell, Paul Danaher, Gregory Anderson

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) • and hundreds of photos • Size: 30cm x 30cm

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 with a mix of operational facts, personal accounts from those that served as well as 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.

The story 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, 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.

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