For our latest archive story, we're going back 15 years to the tale of a baby who was rescued from the horrors of the Vietnam War – and adopted by a couple from Helensburgh.

Here's how we told the story of Iain and Eileen Yearley's son Andrew in the Advertiser on October 28, 2004...

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WHILE no war is ever a ‘success’, the Vietnam War was an unmitigated disaster.

Nearly one million Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, 400,000 South Vietnamese and 50,000 American deaths, an already third world country plunged deeper into the mire, and the psychological scars of the survivors are still evident today.

But out of all the well-documented horror, hate and relentless bloodshed, one tiny Vietnamese baby was whisked out of the cold hands of his dead mother and into the loving embrace of a Helensburgh couple.

Nguyen Duc Thang was one of only a handful of children accepted into the UK in the 1970s thanks to the determination of his adoptive parents Iain and Eileen Yearley.

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In 1974, after going through miles of government red tape, countless payments to get him out of one country and into another and the agony of believing that he had not been on the plane, the Yearleys met their own two-year old boy for the first time, and called him Andrew.

Some 30 years later and Andrew’s journey from the streets of Vietnam to the Isle of Lewis, where the Yearleys moved to, and back to the land he left behind will be shown on a BBC documentary.

In an accent that’s more Stornoway than Saigon, Andrew told the Advertiser about the first few years of his life.

“I was somehow found in a ditch in Saigon with the body of a woman who we can only presume was my mother lying beside me,” he said.

“I was taken to an orphanage where, with hundreds of other children, I was given a birth certificate, name, an approximate birthday and an identity.

“Despite the noise and trauma around me I was apparently a happy wee baby and my smiles, combined with relatively good health, made me a good contender for eventual adoption.”

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The main reason for this happiness and corresponding adoption eligibility was his impaired hearing caused by the sound of constant gunfire in the streets.

While a non-plussed Andrew was settling into life in an orphanage, his future Helensburgh parents were working hard to change his life on the other side of the world.

Helensburgh harbourmaster Iain, his psychiatric nurse wife Eileen and their close friend Helen Stevens were pulling out all the stops to do what they could to change one little life.

Andrew said: “Helen fought like mad to have me adopted by them and eventually, along with a dose of good luck, all the criteria were met.

“Eileen went to Orly Airport in France to pick me up and when she arrived she was told the plane had been and gone. No baby.

“I can’t imagine what she must have been feeling the next hour or so until I appeared.

"Whoever was escorting me on the plane must have simply left me somewhere in the airport.”

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