Le Van Duc – Hero of the people’s armed forces


      The resistance war against French and American in Hội An marked many glorious victories of military and people of Hội An. They are ordinary laborers but have participated in revolutionary activities, accomplished excellent tasks and were conferred The Hero of the People’s Armed Forces by Vietnam Government. Hero Lê Văn Đức is one of them.

         Mr. Lê Văn Đức was born in 1926, at Thanh Nam hamlet, Cẩm Thanh commune. He lived in a poor fishing family. In addition to fishing, they also work for the rich landlords and were often abused and exploited by them. Mr. Lê Văn Đức soon realized the injustice of society. In order to help his family having better life and avoid to see the exploitation of the landlords, in 1939 he left his homeland to looking for a good job. Then he worked for the boat owners in Phan Thiết province. He met the same situation of oppression everywhere in Vietnam and received the progressive ideas of the patriotic struggle movement at that time.

          In early 1946, he returned to his hometown and joined the revolutionary movement in Hoi An. After the French betrayed the Preliminary Agreement signed on 6th March 1946, President Ho Chi Minh called for national resistance on December 19, 1946, he volunteered to join the secret guerrilla army at Cồn Chài. After the Geneva Agreements were signed in 1954, he was assigned to work with the comrades Trương Bút, Nguyễn Khoa to build facilities and lead the people to fight for the general election.

         In 1957, the enemy tried to terrorize the struggle movement of Hội An people, the situation became complicated and fierce, but he still steadfast stance, continue to complete revolutionary tasks, mobilize people to fight the anti-communism movement and protect revolutionary bases. In this year, he was arrested, brutally tortured but he did not declare anything to the enemy. In 1958, the enemy released him and put him under house arrest. Despite being monitored, he rebuilt his old activities base and attempted to contact his leader.

        In 1963, he worked for military mobilization in Hoi An lead by Mr. Dang Ngoc Chau (head of the military mobilization in 1968) to build the base among the enemy ranks. Understanding the activities of the enemy, he built over 10 inline facilities from 1963 to 1968. He used this facility to launch five battles and transferred hundreds of grenades and explosives to the liberated area. In February 1968, he was honored to be admitted to the Vietnam Labor Party (now the Communist Party of Vietnam).

           In 1963, Mr. Duc was introduced to work for Hoi An Military led by Comrade Dang Ngoc Chau. He carried out agitation and propaganda among enemy troops, built revolutionary bases right in the ranks of enemy. From 1963 to 1968, he built more than 10 bases in the enemy troops , using them to fight 5 battles and transfer hundreds of grenades, guns and explosives to the liberation area. In February 1968, he was honored to be admitted to the Vietnam Labor Party (now the Communist Party of Vietnam).

        He mobilized his family and relatives to join the revolution. His wife dug the tunnel for hiding officials and soldiers, his three children were revolutionary soldiers. In 1968 and 1969, he often told his wife and children “If I die, do not be sad, continue to fight because the revolution will win. If the whole family sacrifices, it is also an honor for our future generation”.

        He works secretly under the guise of fishing and has been dying many times. The boat is the main tool for him to work. The boat was purchased at Kim Bong carpentry village in 1962. It is 450cm long, 85cm wide, 30cm high, 2cm thick, which is used for fishing.

        By 1964, the boat was used to serve the revolution to transport goods, officials from enemy area to liberated area. Comrade Duc with his boat had won many victories. In May 1968, Mr. Duc accepted the task of transferring documents and weapons and building communication lines from enemy area to liberation area. On a dark night, Mr. Duc and his son Le Van Nhut were bringing documents and 20 grenades to liberation area. The documents were maps of enemy bases and weapons provided by comrade Duc to submit to revolution leadership. When he walked down the boat, he was captured by a battalion of the 51st Regiment. Knowing that he entered the enemy ambush, Mr. Duc and  with his son continued to push the boat into river to pretend to go fishing. The enemy started to shot , Mr. Duc was injured in his arms and abdomen, blood came out, but he still consciously withdrew his documents and tied it to 20 grenades, released into the river and told his son “Rowing to shore, don’t be afraid’. The enemies rushed to search the boat, but they could not find anything. Mr. Duc and his son protested that they could not ban them to go fishing, forcing them to take Mr. Duc to the hospital for bandages, treatment and compensation. On the way to the hospital, although seriously injured,  Comrade Duc kept thinking about where the enemy ambushed him. It was a bamboo bush around the fishing harbor. That night at the hospital, he pondered how to kill the enemy there. The next morning, he instructed his wife and children to set up 2 mines in the bamboo bush, tell the guerrillas to fire continuously when they see the enemy passed, then hit mines as soon as they jumped into the bamboo bush. Mr. Duc’s plan has been implemented. Two days later the enemy ambushed at the bamboo bush again. Duc’s son hit mines to kill 12 enemy soldiers.

        In the morning of April 25, 1969, the enemy found a secret cellar in Comrade Đức’s house by a traitor name Thit. They encircled his house, forced his whole family, tortured him ferociously. But Mr. Duc still said “this cellar is used to store tools and fishing nets, no one stays here”. The enemies didn’t believe him. They went into the cellar and found some fishing tools and propaganda military documents for the South Korean troops that he had not yet hidden. So they continued to beat him, but once again he did not admit “the enemy brought it into the cellar to slander our family.” The enemies confiscated all of his property and detained his entire family. During his imprisonment, they took him to many prisons, including Hoi An prison. He participated in many prison struggles and helped prisoners. In 1968, Comrade Le Van Duc led one of his team to mined to kill 5 American soldiers while they were ambushing at Thanh Tay village. In 1967-1972, although knowing enemy has discovered and setting ambush to kill him, he completed his tasks. In the battles X1 and X2 in 1968, Comrade Duc quickly found out the schedure of enemy. Under the strict control of the enemy, he successfully sent reports of enemy situation to liberation area by using nylong bags to dive deeply under water to pass the ambush of enemy.

          On 22/12/1973, he was killed on his boat while rowing to the liberation area.

During his revolutionary life, Comrade Le van Duc has achieved many victories:

– Organizing underground team inside the center of Hoi An town and spread connection to 6 communes around during 1964-1973, contributed to preparation for attacks to the head quarter of enemy in Hoi An.

– Encouraging local people providing rice for revolutionary force. In 1969, Comrade Duc himself transported hundreds kilograms of rice to the liberation area.

– Organizing 15 underground teams inside enemy troops, 7 local teams, tooking 270  grenades, 7 guns, 20kg of explosives from enemy troops, fighting 2 times, killing 10 enemy officers, building 3 secret cellars.

– In April 1967, guiding communist soldiers to attack and kill an enemy platoon at Con Chai village. In December 1967, contributing to the fight that killed an enemy company at Phuoc Trach bridge, Bao An sercurity company at Cam Kim commune.

– In 1968, contributing to the fight that killed an enemy company at Ba Tuan temple, destroying ammunition storage of Tay Ho enemy  troops, competely destroying Hieu Nhon head quarter office building.

– He also participated in transporting wounded soldiers, burying martyrs, hiding communist soldiers in his house. In 1967, comrade Kim, a guerrilla of Cam Thanh commune, was killed by enemy. His body sank in the river. Comrade Duc found and buried him carefully.  

        Comrade Le Van Duc was honored to be conferred the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces by the Vietnam communist Party and Government on 06/11/1978 and other medals and awards.

        Documents and artifacts related to his life are maintaining carefully, especially his boat. Now it is displaying at Hoi An museum as an evidence of his revolutionary activities.

 * Source:

– Background of Comrade Le Van Duc provided by his family.

– Background of the boat.

– History of Hội An communist party (1930 – 1975), Proceedings of Executive committee of Hội An communist party, 1996.