We listened to the fall of Saigon on the BBC World Service as we crossed the Indian ocean on the Benlawers on a hot week in April, westbound for South Africa again with a full cargo from the Far East. I followed the news intensely, having had my escapade there fifteen months beforehand. I knew several people who were now sailing on the Singapore to Saigon run, carrying jet fuel to Nha Bè, as I had done. The BBC coverage was graphic, the event stood out as an iconic moment in history. The American administration under President Nixon had seen the writing on the wall and agreed a ceasefire with North Vietnam in January 1973, as a prelude to the USA getting out. The next two years saw the US forces disengage from South Vietnam and return home. South Vietnam was left to prepare itself for the final conflict. North Vietnam, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, largely ignored the ceasefire, they continued to harry and hassle the South.

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