> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 January 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742747491
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320
Categories:

The Gunners' Doctor

Vietnam Letters




In 2005, David Bradford got the surprise of his life: his elderly mother found an old shoe-box at the back of her cupboard that contained a pristine record of one of the most turbulent times of his generation - and of his own personal life. Mrs Bradford had unearthed every letter that her twenty-six-year-old son had sent home from the Vietnam War...

In 2005, David Bradford got the surprise of his life: his elderly mother found an old shoe-box at the back of her cupboard that contained a pristine record of one of the most turbulent times of his generation - and of his own personal life. Mrs Bradford had unearthed every letter that her twenty-six-year-old son had sent home from the Vietnam War...

During his time there, from May 1967 to May 1968, David wrote home almost daily, documenting his experiences as an idealistic Army doctor with the officers and gunners of 4 Field Regiment in the Royal Australian Artillery, and the officers and troopers of a squadron of the 3 Cavalry Regiment.

These selected and edited letters, which were written almost 40 years ago in the chaos of the Vietnam War, are not just detailed accounts of David's daily life, his medical work, and the stresses and pressures of life in a war-zone. They are also, as David admits, a deliberately inaccurate picture of what was a painful forging of his true identity.

David was brought up in a very religious, loving home. He didn't drink, smoke, swear or dance - and he had never once kissed a girl. In his missives from Vietnam, there were deeply personal things he could never tell his family about. As well as protecting them from the worrying dangers and risks of a war-zone, he also shielded them from his doubts and fears about God, faith, the war and
communism.

But even more painfully, David hid away what he had always known about himself - he was gay, and his tour of duty in Vietnam was to be a sublimation of what he considered was an unacceptable and reprehensible part of himself.

The Gunners' Doctor is a snapshot of a short but powerfully meaningful time in his life, and is told through two distinct voices - David's letters of the time, and his reflections as a man 40 years older and wiser.

  • Pub date: 1 January 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742747491
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

David Bradford

David Bradford is a semi-retired sexual health physician and a foundation fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (FAChSHM). He graduated from Sydney University in 1965 and has had an interest in Sexual Health since serving as a Regimental Medical Officer in the Australian Army in South Vietnam in 1967/68. After a brief flirtation with Surgery and obtaining the FRCS from the English and Edinburgh Colleges, he spent a period in General Practice in the east end of London in the seventies and then decided to devote his professional life to Sexual Health Medicine. After training at the Lydia Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine at St Thomas' Hospital in London and obtaining the Diploma in Venereology from London University in 1979, he returned to Australia as Director of the Melbourne Communicable Diseases Centre in the eighties. In addition he had six years in private practice (predominantly in HIV and Sexual Health Medicine) in Melbourne. He was one of five Founder Fellows of the Australasian College of Sexual Health Physicians in 1988 and became President of that College in 2000. During his three years' Presidency he assisted in negotiations with the RACP which led to the formation of the Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine within the Adult Medicine Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and the new Chapter replaced the former College in early 2004. He left Melbourne in 1993 and moved north to Cairns and until his retirement from full-time practice in 2004 was Director of the Sexual Health Service at Cairns Base Hospital.


Related titles