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Former locals gather to pay respect on Vietnam Veterans Day
Former locals gather to pay respect on Vietnam Veterans' Day

The widow of a Kalgoorlie soldier killed 44 years ago will return on Saturday to lay a wreath on her husband’s grave as part of Vietnam Veterans’ Day services.

Pat and Bob Mann, from Rockingham, have journeyed to the Goldfields for several years to pay their respects to Pat’s first husband, Pte Kevin Coles, who stepped on a landmine on March 22, 1968.

Pte Desmond Penn of Boulder was the only other local killed in the 10-year war by “friendly fire” on January 10, 1966, after being mistaken for a Viet Cong.

Pte Penn’s nephew, Sam, will carry an Australian flag in his honour at Saturday’s memorial service at Centennial Park, while Mrs Mann will designate a flag bearer.

The service will begin at 11am at Centennial Park and will be followed by a graveside service for Pte Coles at Kalgoorlie Cemetery.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Vietnam Veterans’ Association president Barry McKinlay said this year marks the 50th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.