A mystery behind the identity of a young Australian soldier in a photo has been resolved, and there is a Mount Isa connection.
On June 3 the 1RAR Association Facebook page for veterans of the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment posted this photo with a plea for help.
"Anyone recognise this young digger?? A small country town is trying to return photos collected over the past 50+ years by their photographer and this is the last unmatched photo that they want to return to the family," the message read.
"The town is Monto Qld, the photographer was Spook Ware and it is 'assumed' the photo must be of a local Monto lad, possibly Vietnam era or at least before cams came in."
The request spread virally and one of those who saw the photo was Ray Payne of Tweed Heads.
Ray is a 1RAR Vietnam veteran who runs a network of 13,000 former servicemen and women.
Ray immediately recognised the man in the photo as a fellow veteran.
"His name was Dick Muller and I served with him in Vietnam," Ray said.
Not only did Ray know Dick but he also had an old address for him - in Mount Isa.
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In the 1980s Ray combed the white pages across Australia to contact all ex 1RAR veterans for a reunion and traced Dick to Pelican Rd in Mount Isa.
"He was unable to attend that reunion but did attend one in Townsville in 1991," Ray said.
"Richard (Dick) James Muller was born in Monto Qld, 4th July 1947 and served with C COY 1 RAR first tour of Vietnam in 1965."
Armed with this new knowledge Ray put out a challenge to "spread the word far and wide and see if we can find him before his birthday on the 4th July."
And on Friday the search led to a happy conclusion.
While Ray no longer lives in Mount Isa, amazingly an ex-veteran from Australia's involvement in Somalia still lives on Pelican Rd and they went up the road to the address to find Dick's cousin still living there.
They tracked down Dick to Rockhampton and Ray left a message on his current phone number on Friday.
"He probably already has a copy of the photo," Ray said.
"But that's the job of our network, to keep in touch with veterans and give them information on what their comrades are now up to."
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