HIRONS, ALAN

Name: Alan Hirons
Rank/Branch: Civilian
Unit: UPI Photographer
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Australia
Date of Loss: 26 April 1972
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 112250N 1051451E (WT270580)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Peugot automobile
Refno: 1836
Other Personnel In Incident: Terry Reynolds (captured)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: On April 26, 1972, American reporter Terry Reynolds and Australian
photographer Alan Hirons were driving on Route 1 in Prey Veng Province,
Cambodia, when their car was stopped and they were captured by communist
troops active in the area. Their captured by 3 Viet Cong soldiers was
witnessed by FANK soldiers. The two were on assignment to UPI at the time.

Their auto was found at a road block with all movie and still photo
equipment left inside. Villagers reported that both had been led away by the
communists. The following month, a Viet Cong rallier stated that he had seen
two caucasians equating to Reynolds and Hirons. Another report said that
Reynolds was being held in Sampan Loeu Hamlet, about 40 kilometers southeast
of Phnom Penh in June 1972.

In August 1972, Reynolds and Hirons were seen as POWs northeast of Phnom
Penh; Reynolds was in good health, Hirons was ill at the time. In February
1973, a junior ARVN officer was released by the Viet Cong 75 miles north of
Saigon and reported that the journalists were alive.

Author Zalin Grant interviewed returned ARVN POWs in early 1973 and released
the following data supporting other stories indicating journalists could
still be alive. "Returned ARVN POWs sighted the (unnamed) journalists on
Route #7, 17 miles south of Snoul in Eastern Cambodia 7-72 in ox-carts
pulled by Hondas; another said a VC captain near Minot, eastern Cambodia
(where military American POWs were released from in 1973) reported the
(unnamed) journalists held in 7-72 had cameras; Cambodian national saw
(unnamed) journalists in 6-72 at Prince Sihanouk's FUNK camp south of Route
#13 in Kratie Province; returned ARVN POWs said a guard told them in 3073
that the journalists were still alive and held in their area." Walter
Cronkite reported a sighting of (unnamed) journalists in January, 1974.

Whether Grant's and Cronkite's information relates to the journalists
missing from April 26, 1972, is not known. The two are among 22
international journalists still missing in Southeast Asia, most known to
have been captured. For several years during the war, the correspondents
community rallied and publicized the fates of fellow journalists. After a
while, they tired of the effort, and today these men are forgotten by all
but families and friends.

Tragically, nearly the whole world turns its head while thousands of reports
continue to flow in that prisoners are still held in Southeast Asia.
Cambodia offered to return a substantial number of remains of men it says
are Americans missing in Cambodia (in fact the number offered exceeded the
number of those officially missing). But the U.S. has no formal diplomatic
relations with the communist government of Cambodia, and refused to directly
respond to this offer. Although several U.S. Congressmen offered to travel
to Cambodia to receive the remains, they have not been permitted to do so by
the U.S.

By 1991, well over 10,000 reports regarding missing Americans have been
received which convince many experts that hundreds of Americans are still
alive in Southeast Asia. Whether the newsmen ambushed in Cambodia on April
26, 1972 are among them is unknown. Whatever their identities or
nationality, they deserve the basic human right of freedom.