In-depth
Man claims returned war diary
  • By Nguyen Thuy | dtinews.vn | July 28, 2015 10:08 AM

A Thanh Hoa man has claimed that a diary returned to Vietnam by the US Defence Secretary during a recent visit last month was owned by his brother.

The dead man’s diary

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter returned a diary and a belt that belonged to a Vietnamese soldier during the recent visit. He said the US military had hoped the personal effects would be returned to the dead soldier’s family. The diary is particularly well-preserved.

After seeing the diary on the news, Nguyen Van Chinh from Minh Nghia Commune, Thanh Hoa Province, claimed the diary belonged to his older brother, Nguyen Van Nam.

According to Chinh, the handwriting bore some resemblance to that of his family members. The names of the villages and schools in the diary were also those of their hometown and two female names mentioned were old neighbours.

Nguyen Van Chinh holding his brother's photo

Nguyen Van Nam was born in 1952 and joined the army in 1969. "After reunification, my parents asked about him everywhere, but we didn't hear anything. In 1976, we received two death notifications for Nam and our oldest brother," Chinh said.

Chinh intends to make a copy of the diary and will then donate it to the Vietnam Military History Museum. Since the family have not found Nam's remains, despite the official death notification, they also hope more information related to the returned items may help in identifying the resting place of their missing relative.

Nguyen Van Nam's name on the commune's memorial stone

Minh Nghia Commune chairman Luong Khac Nam said, "After seeing the diary's contents, I think that it belonged to Nguyen Van Nam. We hope the diary is returned to his family and his remains are found soon. We’re surprised that the long-lost diary still exists."

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