By Rod Searle, Denise Bell, Paul Danaher and Gregory Anderson
Call Sign Vampire is an intimate, sometimes confronting account of life at the 1st Australian Field Hospital during the Vietnam War. Using operational facts and the recollections of staff and patients – as well as plenty of evocative, eye-opening photographs – it provides a unique, first-person insight into the experiences of the men and women who served, or who were cared for, at the hospital.
Known colloquially as Vampire Pad (after the radio call sign of the hospital’s predecessor, 2 Field Ambulance), the 1st Australian Field Hospital was known for its excellent medical care, with a survival rate of 99 per cent. It employed 43 Australian and nine New Zealand nursing staff, and the personal stories, photos and art of many of these nurses tell of the horrors they dealt with, the camaraderie they found and the lifelong memories they gained.