Sangster's story, as told to his wide circle of friends and acquaintances, is as follows:
He served in the Regular Army as a Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (RAEME ) mechanic, but later transferred to SAS.
He served in Vietnam with SAS and the U.S. 5th Airborne, fighting at the Battle of Long Tan, and being decorated for his exploits during that battle.
Sangster has 'dodgy' knees and other serious health issues that he attributes to his service in Vietnam. He further attributes his severe medical problems to the shrapnel that has been removed from his back and legs.
He is unable to claim benefits for the injuries he received in Vietnam, under the Veterans Entitlements Act, which is administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
His records are sealed due to the extremely sensitive nature of his duties with SAS and the U.S. 5th Airborne.
He cannot disclose details of these covert operations because some of them are very close to criminal activities.
His service file and medical file are unavailable to him, so he cannot prove his present disabilities are caused by the shrapnel wounds to his back and legs.
The only evidence he holds for a veteran's claim is his discharge certificate, but that unfortunately doesn't show his "special service" deployments.
Sangster wears the ribbons of the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) , Vietnam Medal and Vietnamese Campaign Medal, on his leather vest. He also wears a SAS cap badge and SAS para wings on the vest, along with a Vietnam Veterans Association (VVAA) embroidered patch and a number of patches identifying membership of various motor cycle organisations. His Harley Davidson motor cycle is adorned with a sticker on the rear mudguard, depicting the Vietnam War service ribbons he wears on his vest, and he has RAEME badges affixed to the bike.
Sangster didn't enlist in the Regular Army, he enlisted in the Army Reserve, then known as the Citizens Military Forces. Perry Stuart SANGSTER joined the RAEME - LAD (Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers - Light Aid Detachment) of the 3/9 SAMR (South Australia Mounted Rifles) on the 25th January 1965, being issued service number 446655. His service concluded when he was discharged on the 22nd May 1968.
Sangster's only military service totalled three years 4 months, as an Army Reservist, during which time he held the rank of Craftsman, the RAEME equivalent of Private.
Sangster regularly travels between Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide practising his occupation of diesel mechanic. He attends biker rallies and regales all present with his tales of heroic deeds and moans about his war ravaged health, for which the government gives him no support. The more alcohol he consumes, the more heroic the deeds become and the more bitter his rhetoric against the government.
Many people over the years have taken pity on Sangster and have tried to help him apply for a Disability Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, but have been fobbed off with the story that 'his records are sealed'. On at least one occasion we are aware of, he was advised by a concerned ex-serviceman that all service records are available after 30 years, so he could now apply to have his records released, enabling him to extract evidence in support of his claim for a Veterans' Affairs pension. Sangster claimed that his records contain such sensitive information that they are sealed for longer than 30 years.
Knowledgeable ex-service personnel have been suspicious of Sangster's claims for years. Very few have challenged Sangster, who is somewhat intimidating at 6' 4" (193 cm) tall, and those that have done so got the 'sealed records' story.
Apart from the erroneous, romantic, 'James Bond' notions that files are 'sealed forever', there are too many inconsistencies in Sangster's yarns to deflect suspicion by veterans, who have made numerous reports to ANZMI in recent years.
The action at Long Tan has been so heavily researched and written about, that anyone claiming to have been involved can be found out very easily, from the mountain of evidence available.
Any person claiming to have been awarded conspicuous bravery or service awards or decorations relating to their military service, can also be easily checked out, by searching the following web address: http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au
Sangster seems to have watched the wrong movies, or scrambled the information he has acquired from movies or books, to support his fantasies. His constant referral to his service with the " U.S. 5th Airborne" is a dead giveaway to any service personnel who have ever had anything to do with the U.S. Special Forces There was no such unit.
Sangster tells everyone that his activities with SAS and U.S. 5th Airborne, are top secret, and 'hush-hush', because he participated in activities bordering on the criminal. Fair dinkum!!! Would any self respecting small time criminal tell anyone he participated in crimes, but he can't tell you what they are? That Sangster admits any of the rubbish he spruiks has already breached any security that might have once existed. So, what did you do in the war Lofty?
Many veterans are aware of the extremely wide contacts that ANZMI maintains with ex-service organisations in Australia, New Zealand and Internationally. Claims made of SAS service can be quickly checked against nominal rolls and confirmed or refuted, by ANZMI simply sending an e-mail. Similarly, claims of service with overseas units, like the U.S. 5th Airborne, are just as simply and quickly confirmed or refuted.
If any visitor to our ANZMI site is suspicious of stories they have heard from any individual 'super soldier', e-mail us at: email@example.com and we will assist you to establish the facts, or offer you advice on where you can search for the information you seek.
Falsely claiming to be an ex-serviceman and wearing non-awarded service medals or ribbons are both criminal offences under the Defence Act and are punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.
DEFENCE ACT 1903
Impersonation and Service Medal Offences
Section 80A creates an offence of falsely representing oneself to be a returned soldier, sailor or airman.
Section 80B creates an offence of improper use of service decorations.
We at ANZMI have been aware of Sangster's claims for some years, but until now have not been able to obtain statutory declarations from witnesses, to support the information we had in our possession. We carry out research and obtain documentary evidence, e.g. service records, to support all claims we make on the site. When we have compiled sufficient evidence to overwhelmingly prove our case, we then contact the person we have investigated, offering them the opportunity to deny the claims made against them, or to provide evidence such as their service records, to prove their innocence. If suitable evidence is provided we abandon the case, otherwise, we ask that a written apology, addressed to all units and service personnel involved, be sent to ANZMI so we can forward it to the people concerned, for their acceptance, or otherwise, of the apology..
Only after this process is conducted will we consider displaying a person on our 'Cases' pages.
Sangster was sent a letter from ANZMI as outlined above. We decided to extend the time we allow for an answer to our communications to a full month, in recognition that Sangster's work often takes him away from his base. We have not, to this date, received any reply from Sangster, either by post or e-mail. Should Mr Sangster offer suitable evidence in the future that his claims are true, he will immediately be removed from the site.
If Lofty Sangster ever tells you his tales of heroic deeds, and/or his hard luck story of being abandoned by the government, which refuses to give him treatment for his war disabilities, just tell him you have seen the facts on the ANZMI website, and suggest he might like to avail himself of professional help to sort out his personality disorders.
Should anyone tell you their records are sealed, locked up, under a 100 year secrecy embargo, or never to be revealed, the first words you should think of is........."bloody b......t".
While we may never know the full nature of some SAS operations, or who carried them out, those personnel had a parent unit, and their records from that unit are available after the 30 years secrecy embargo.
Scroll down to our Brian Day story, we have his complete SAS records and we would have Lofty Sangster's as well, if he ever served in the unit.
This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.