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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Of a young death and loud explosions. Tan Dinh, Saigon: Vietnam memories 1965 1975

Post 116

Of a young death and loud explosions. Tan Dinh, Saigon

I mentioned yesterday that it was not advisable to leave someone alone at a hospital.
One evening a cousin of KC had complained of stomach pains to his mother. He was fifteen years old. His mother took him to the Hôpital Grall, and then left him there overnight for observation. The hospital had a good reputation and was still run by the French military. At least the doctors were French army officers but the administration and nurses were Vietnamese.

When the mother went to visit her son the following morning to see how he was she was informed that he was dead. His appendix had burst during the night and by the time anyone knew about it it was too late.

The war continued. One night we were awakened sometime between two and three in the morning to the sound of loud explosions. They were so loud they could have been in the next street. Then there was silence and a couple of hours later the explosions started again, followed by more silence. This went on all the morning until well into the afternoon. Nobody had any idea what was going on. There was no panic anywhere and in the daytime they were less loud and one could situate them a little better. Somewhere to the south of Saigon. In the evening we were informed that the Viet Cong had blown up the Saigon ammunition depot.

One day I was going to work by cyclo when I thought I heard the sound of a grenade going off. We were near the French Embassy, but nobody around me seemed to have noticed anything. The next day I read that someone had tossed a grenade in the French Embassy compound for some reason or other. Why the French I don't know.

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