Amber by Living Gems

Signals Corp kept Les out of harm’s way

Les ‘Sprout’ Bean considers himself one of the lucky ones when it came to serving in the Vietnam War.

As an electronics technician in the Signals Corp, he was sent to Vietnam and Singapore for signals exercises.

“I was also in Vung Tao for a while where we sent communications back to Australia and New Zealand throughout the war. We had to carry a rifle, but I’m pleased to say I never had to fire a shot in anger. You could say mine was a pretty cushy job,” said the Amber by Living Gems veteran.

Les returned several times to Nui Dat where he worked from an air-conditioned building.

“I had it pretty good although the airport close by did get mortared at one stage, but we were okay and not in any danger.”

Les was 17 when he joined the Army in June 1963 – a tour of duty that would last some 23 years.

“Most of my time was spent from Victoria to Queensland and I was one of the fortunate ones because I never really came across any conflict while in the job,” he said.

After leaving the Army he worked as an electronics technician for the Metropolitan Security Service in Brisbane.

Les said one of the things he loved about his service was the many friends he made.

“What I found since leaving the Army was the tremendous support I continued to have from those I served in the forces. We stick together – all still help each other out and work together wherever possible.”

Les and wife of 54 years, Lesley, moved to Amber by Living Gems two years ago and they love it.

“We are closer to our family of three children and five grandchildren, and surrounded by ex-servicemen who all get together on Anzac Day to remember our lost veterans.”

If you were wondering about Les’ nickname in the Army, it comes with a story.

“They called me ‘sprout’, because I joined when I was very young,” he laughed.