Back In Conisbrough after Escape From War-Torn Cambodia

May 1970

South Yorkshire Times, May 16th, 1970

Back In Conisbrough after Escape From War-Torn Cambodia

Rioting students and the burning of Vietnamese homes provided the backcloth to the exit from Cambodia of a former Conisbrough girl who has lived for the past seven months in the war-torn city of Phnom Penh, the country’s capital.

The sound of gun-fire echoed from the rooftops as Mrs. Betty Mulligan and her young children left the world’s number one crisis spot to seek the calm of South Yorkshire and her mother’s home in Conisbrough.

But the escalation of the Vietnamese war into Cambodian territory still holds terrifying possibilities for her husband, John, is still living in Phnom Penh.

An Engineer

Mr. Mulligan is working for the Australian Government as a construction engineer on the Prek Thnot Dam project, 40 kilometres from the capital.

At the home of her mother, Mrs. S. Hinchliffe, of 22, Old Mill Road, Mrs. Mulligan told the “South Yorkshire Times”, “All Australian, American and British women were evacuated from the capital with their children and went back to Bangkok or Singapore but the men stayed behind.

“My husband meets road blocks every day on his way to work, and he is searched by Cambodian army soldiers for arms. I am very worried about him. He travels on the only road out of Phnom Penh that is still open.”

The Mulligans left England to live in Australia ten years ago and their two eldest children Michael (19), and John (17) are still there. Janet (15), Terry (4) and Martin (3) are now in Conisbrough.

Gates Locked

Mrs. Mulligan said “I never dare let any of them out alone in Phnom Penh, The gates were locked to protect the children because the situation was so dangerous.

“When we left there were riots and the Vietnamese Embassy had been burned down by students.  There were tanks and armoured cars, and my husband has seen shooting from the rooftops.”

Mrs. Mulligan felt that the American intervention was necessary to stop Cambodia from being overrun.

She added “My husband is due to leave Cambodia in June and we should all be returning the following month – but I do not know if we will go back there or to Australia.

Right now, I listen every piece of news on television to see if the fighting is nearer Phnom Penh.”