Surname: Wilde
Christian Names: Howard Neil
Country: Australia
State or Province: Unknown
City or Town: Unknown
Service: RAN
Case Notes:

It was in Vung Tau that his stories became more than just having been a Navy Coxswain who was involved in the injury and subsequent death of a SAS diver in Bass Strait.  He continued his charades in Saigon while visiting and later when he moved there after he was virtually thrown out of Vung Tau. He spent well over two years living in Vietnam.  
Read his claims of service and decide for yourself if he’s just a harmless Walter Mitty or someone who was out to enhance a very ordinary Naval career to insinuate himself into the ranks of War Veterans with whom he mixed on a daily basis.
He embarrassed Veterans with his transparent tales told to anyone who’d listen and gave a false impression of the type of person who would be accepted in the Australian Special Air Service Regiment.

Sailor and wannabe Soldier.  Born 11 December 1958. Nicknames “Pommy” and “H”.   Howard was an Australian Navy Sailor but he was not an SAS Corporal.
He started spinning his tales in Australia before leaving in 1999 to live in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Two stories that Wilde told about Navy service in Vietnam waters.

(1) Served with the Australian Navy on the Vietnam gun line at age 15.
This would have to be 1973 according to his year of  birth 1958, but HMAS Brisbane was the last ship to leave the gun line in October 1971. On the gun line aged 13? No.

(2) Served on board a Navy ship in Vietnam waters at age 15. 
This could allude to HMAS Swan which was an escort for the last HMAS Sydney trip in early 1972.
He said his records for this period of time can’t be checked because like the records of all good wannabes, they’re secret. The Navy wouldn’t admit that he was on overseas active duty because he was too young, he says.  14 years old?

Both the above stories are obviously false.

Attached to the SAS as an instructor.
He said that he was detached from HMAS Swan, sometimes HMAS Stirling, to the SAS base to instruct on weapons, urban guerrilla warfare, and small watercraft handling. He was mostly needed for his weapons knowledge.
Like most wannabes who aren’t very bright, he left written evidence of his fantasy.
On a pub wall in Vung Tau, he wrote;
 “Pom  Wilde   R123739    ( his Navy number )
Cpl.   3 SQN  SAS.”        ( Cpl = Corporal, this is not a Navy rank) No photo available at this time.

At the pub he had met a former SAS member who had been in 3 Squadron during the war. He adopted the SQN as his own and dreamed up a rank.

Served with the Australian Navy in the Gulf War. 
His name doesn’t appear on the Gulf War nominal roll and when challenged on this he stated that he was onboard a Destroyer escort that didn’t actually enter the Gulf.
He was posted to HMAS Swan, January 1990 to October 1991, at the time of the war, and Swan didn’t go near the Gulf.

Served in Vietnam with the SAS.
No substantiated stories from him about this service. He was very careful to not get into details when there were Veterans around.

A SAS trained Paramedic.
In 2002 he told stories of assisting traffic accident victims in Saigon.
Most expats, with any sense, living in Asia would not go near the scene of an accident in case they got blamed for it.

FACTS.   From records.
Wilde served in the Royal Australian Navy from March 1978 to September 1995.
He began a diver’s course in 1979 but was back classed (failed) and there is no indication that he attempted to complete the course.
He also failed a Coxswain course in 1988 but apparently managed to pass the course later on.
He did not serve in the Gulf in any capacity.
He was posted to HMAS Swan in January 1990, Quartermaster duties, and served twice on Swan in 1990 - 91 and 93.
From HMAS Swan he was detached to the Navy Clearance Diving Team 4 at Swanbourne as a coxswain from October 1991 to June 1993. CDT divers did train with the SAS.
He was not the Coxswain of a boat that struck a diver in the Bass Strait during an exercise as he said.
He was injured while on duty but this happened after he was posted back to HMAS Swan.
Wilde was awarded the Defence Forces Service Medal in March 1993 for 15 years long service not active service and the DFSM is his only award.
He was discharged as unfit for duty in 1995. Records end.

Just before leaving Australia with a friend in 1999 he was given an SAS beret complete with badge to present to a pub owner in Vung Tau. This pub owner is an Australian who while not being a War Veteran had served in the military and had a collection of berets and war memorabilia in the pub poolroom.
Wilde told people that it was his beret from his SAS days and on leaving Vung Tau stole the beret and a very hard to get book relating to the Vietnam War. The pub owner caught up with Wilde sometime later in Saigon and demonstrated his displeasure by rendering him unconscious.

Wilde made a complaint to the Australian Consulate about this pub owner to the effect that he had stolen and burnt sensitive Government documents belonging to Wilde. 

Wilde was a severe embarrassment to veterans living in Vung Tau and Saigon for reasons other than his behaviour while drunk. His tales were transparent even to people who had never served in any country’s military; he was virtually thrown out of Vung Tau.

During a courtesy visit to Saigon by HMAS Adelaide, Wilde attended a cocktail party on board the ship and made sure that all in earshot knew that he is a former RAN sailor. He was avoided by Veterans at the reception and was eventually escorted ashore by Navy personnel after becoming drunk, disorderly and obnoxious causing the ship’s Captain to order that no more drinks be served. 

He has boasted of ripping off the Department of Veterans Affairs and had offered to help a Veteran who lives in Vietnam to do the same thing. This had to do with receiving benefits that aren’t available to those Veterans who live overseas, things like pharmaceutical benefits and rent assistance. The Veteran didn’t take him up on the harebrained scheme.
It is very likely that he was in breach of DVA directives while living overseas and this then becomes a Federal offence. He had notified DVA of an intended holiday only, not an intention to live overseas for a period longer than 6 months.

He has stated that he is still in possession of a Military identity card that should have been handed in before his departure from the SAS base at Swanbourne, Perth. This card was sighted by a Veteran and deemed authentic. 
This is a Federal offence also. He supposedly used this ID, claiming to be a SAS Reservist, to chase a wannabe SAS member out of a Saigon bar. Supposedly, because Wilde told this story to a Veteran who never believed a word he said.

He is in receipt of the TPI.  (Ex-service disability compensation payment) He was injured twice, 1983 and 1987, while on duty but not while attached to CDT 4.

Howard Neil Wilde. Discharged from the Navy after 17 1/2 years service with the rank of Leading Seaman, Bosuns mate. For you non-Navy people, that rank equates to between Corporal and Sergeant.
Now living in Parmelia, Perth. He frequents the Medina RSL Sub-Branch.


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 the private citizens are supported by statement of fact and statutory declarations.


Located in: Stolen Valour
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