[West Australian, 7 April 2015] Tonight (Wednesday 8 April 2015), a preview screening of The Crater by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, David Bradbury will be held at the West Australian State Library.

It will be followed by a Q&A session with Bradbury and Vietnam Veteran, Brian Cleaver.

On 23 April, two days before ANZAC Day, The Crater will be aired on ABC TV.

Below is an abridged version of the article by Melissa Leo, Film helps Vietnam Veteran heal, published in the West Australian on 7 April 2015.


Going back to the place of his worst nightmares was a step in healing for Vietnam veteran, Brian Cleaver.

In July 1967 he was conscripted into the Australian Army. And in March of 1968 he was one of many young soldiers sent to fight a war he didn’t fully comprehend.

It was only two months later that Cleaver survived the 1968 Battle of Coral and Balmoral in which 26 Australian and 300 North Vietnamese were killed.

Cleaver was tormented by doubt. “What the hell are we doing here? What are we here for? Why are we killing these people, why are our men being killed?”…

It was in returning to Vietnam, decades after the war, that Cleaver found a new purpose.

He was asked to help find the bodies of North Vietnamese soldiers killed in the Balmoral Battle…

There is a belief in Vietnam that the spirits of the deceased will not move on until their bodies have been given a proper burial.

Cleaver approached Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker David Bradbury to tell his story.

The Crater follows Cleaver’s search for bodies and reflects on the horrors that he and others like him faced in Vietnam…

He hopes the film portrays the futility of war.

“War is a savage business and it usually messes up the soldiers on both sides that fight it”…

In recent years, Cleaver has found comfort in ANZAC Day. It is there he feels the recognition he had missed out on as a young serviceman returning home…

Cleaver’s next hope is for Australia to get involved in organising a memorial to be built at Balmoral.

Large numbers of North Vietnamese were killed at Coral and Balmoral fire support bases. “Coral has a memorial, Balmoral doesn’t,” he said.

To read the original, unabridged article, click onto Melissa Leo’s Film helps Vietnam Veteran heal.

Related story

The Vietnam Swans will host the 6th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau on ANZAC Day, Saturday, 25 April, 2015.

The ANZAC Friendship Match aims to Honour lost lives; save young lives.

All players on all teams that play on the day wear two black armbands to acknowledge that losses, regardless of scale, flow freely across borders. The occasion is also used to raise awareness and funds for the Vung Tau and Long Hai Orphanage as well as Swim Vietnam (more children die from drowning than road accidents in Vietnam).

For further information on the ANZAC Friendship Match and its history, click here.