Tony White served as the doctor for the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in Vietnam in 1966-67. For his service he received the award of a Mention in Despatches. His book is based on his letters home to his family over the twelve months’ duty. ‘Starlight’ was the ‘Doc’s’ call sign on the battalion radio network.
"When I think of the solid service, patient endurance, steady courage in the face of danger and the basic decency and dependability of the ordinary Australian soldier, I’m intensely proud to have ‘been there and done that’ in such company." Tony White, from the Coming Home chapter in Starlight.
The author was Australian-born but was brought up in Kenya and completed the first half of his medical training at Cambridge before returning to Australia for the final three years. It was as a 25 year old and just out of his intern year that he was on his way to Vietnam.
On return to civilian life, he specialised in dermatology and practised in Sydney for over 30 years.
He has always had a particular interest in medicine in developing countries. In 2009 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to remote area practice, the management of skin disease in the Pacific Islands and education.
After retiring from medical practice he has completed a Master of Medical Humanities degree at Sydney University. Tony and his wife Doffy have two children and seven grandchildren.
Tony, with his nurse-wife Doffy, did an annual dermatological circuit with the Royal Flying Doctor Service out of Broken Hill for 16 years.