Raymond John CARROLL, known as Ray, was interviewed by Margaret Tickle for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) on 19 April 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Raymond John Carroll was born in 1950. His father was John Raymond Carroll and his mother was Violet Robinson Hastings Laidlaw Sherman Carroll. Ray has one older and one younger sister.
His wife is Maree and their sons are Trent, chief winemaker at McHenry Hohen in Margaret River, ‘Disco’, a steel fabricator in Melbourne – both ex Australian Rules Football players. Their daughter Kathy is a secretary in the UK.
Ray spent his first sixteen years living on a timber mill out from Busselton, where his father was killed by a fallen tree when Ray was 30, and schooled at Jarrahwood.
He joined the army at seventeen and went to Vietnam in 1970-1972 when he was eligible to do so, aged nineteen, as a sapper in the Engineer Corps.
Ray was in 3 Platoon supporting 2 Battalion in their role in the tunnels clearing them and destroying them. As a ‘tunnel rat’ and mine expert Ray tells of some experiences that continue to haunt him.
As a highly respected operator he is justifiably proud of his record of not having lost any of the men for whom he had responsibility.
After Vietnam he worked for the Commonwealth Government in the Housing Construction Department doing all maintenance work on military establishments within Western Australia, then for Telstra in Kununurra.
The aftermath has been a harrowing journey with medical problems, including salivary gland cancer diagnosed when he was 43, and at times touched by excessive alcohol.
Ray went back to Vietnam in October 2013 with the Tunnel Rats Association and met members of the enemy who worked the area where 3 Platoon were with the M16 mines.
It saddens him to witness the suffering and death of good mates and disgusts him to witness the lack of respect for Australia by some young Australians and wonders was it all worth the sacrifice.