5RAR Association Website
February
 


 


 
australian infantryman's combat badge
Killed in Action or Died of Wounds Month of February

 

Maj Donald M. Bourne
Major. Donald M. Bourne, 35
Tamworth, NSW.

Major Bourne, a Malayan veteran, was the Officer Commanding C Company and was preparing to cordon and search the village of Xa An Nhut in Phuoc Tuy Province.  A land mine was detonated killing Major Bourne, Captain Milligan and Captain Williams, Forward Observation Officer attached from the New Zealand 161 Battery.
This action happened on the morning of February 14, 1967, the Major's 35th birthday. 13 others were wounded.


 

Capt Robert B. Milligan
Captain. Robert B. Milligan, 30
Taree, NSW.

Robert Milligan joined the army on September 2, 1956 aged 19. he graduated from Officer Cadet School Portsea Dux of his class. He served as a lieutenant with the Pacific Islands Regiment,  Papua New Guinea. Captain Milligan was 2nd in Command of C Company when on the morning of February 14 1967, during a search of Xa An Nhut village, a mine exploded killing Captain Milligan, Major Bourne, and Captain Williams.

 

Pte. Donald M. Clark
Private. Donald M. Clark, 21
Northhampton, Western Australia.

He grew up on Meadow Station Geraldton. He was drafted in September 1965 and was posted to 4 Platoon, B Company as a rifleman private. On February 21, 1967 during a search-and-destroy operation in the Long Hai hills, the APC he was travelling in detonated a 500lb mine. He was evacuated to the US 36th Evacuation Hospital but died enroute. Eight other Australians were killed and 19 were wounded.

 

Pte. Michael D. Poole
Private. Michael D. Poole, 20
Fitzroy Melbourne, Victoria.

Enlisted in the army's special section, (Bandsman), on July 2, 1962 and was posted to the Battalion for its first tour in 1966. Stretcher Bearer Poole died from a massive land mine blast in the long Hai Hills on February 21, 1967. Eight other Australians were killed and 19 were wounded.

 

Pte. Richard W. Sandow
Private. Richard W. Sandow, 20
Broken Hill, NSW.

Private Sandow enlisted in the army on February 21 1964, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion. A few months later he transferred to the 5th Battalion as it was destined for Vietnam. On February 21, 1967 he was killed along with eight other Australians when the APC he was travelling in detonated a 500lb Mine. 19 others were wounded.

 

Pte. James C. Webster
Private. James C. Webster, 22
Perth, Western Australia.

Private Webster was called up in the first national service intake. He was a member of B Company, when travelling in APC's in the Long Hai Hills, he was killed by a VC land Mine on February 21, 1967. Eight other soldiers were killed and 19 wounded.

 

Lance Corporal Bruce G. Green
Lance Corporal. Bruce G. Green, 21
Granville, NSW.

Lance Corporal Green was called up in June 1965 and was posted to the Battalion. He was killed when an APC he was travelling in detonated a 500lb land mine during a search-and-destroy operation in the Long Hai Hills on February 21, 1967. Eight other Australians were killed and 19 wounded.

 

Lt John Carruthers
Lieutenant. John Carruthers, M.I.D., 28
Mount Morgan, Queensland.

A career officer who enlisted in April 1960. On February 21, 1967 Lieutenant Carruthers was Platoon Commander, 4 Platoon B Company when his leading Armoured Personnel Carrier detonated a massive land mine. The carriers went into counter ambush positions and as Lieutenant Carruthers dismounted,  a 'Jumping Jack' mine was tripped nearby critically wounding Lieutenant Carruthers and the Officer Commanding  B Company, Major McQualter. He died at the US 36th Evacuation Hospital Vung Tau on February 24, 1967.

 

Maj Malcom B. McQualter
Major. Malcolm B. McQualter, M.I.D., 29
Braidwood, NSW.

After Graduation from the Royal Military College Duntroon, Major McQualter served in Malaya before becoming Officer Commanding B Company. On February 21 1967, during a search-and-destroy operation in the Long Hai Hills, the leading APC hit a 500lb land mine killing six and wounding several others.  As Major McQualter came forward to take control a 'Jumping Jack' mine was tripped wounding him and others. He died of his wounds on March 5, 1967.

 

Pte. Barry J. Thompson
Private. Barry J. Thompson, 22
Goulburn, NSW.

Private Barry Thompson, a shearer and shed-hand from Gunning, near Goulburn in southern NSW, was the only son in his family but had four sisters. He was called up for National Service on 1 May 1968 and joined C Company 5RAR as a rifleman. He had completed 11 months in Vietnam, much as forward scout for his section, when he was killed by an exploding hand grenade on 1st February 1970. He died peacefully in the arms of a comrade. Barry was to go home in one week's time and was the last member of the Battalion to be killed in action. One of his friends remembers him as the likeable larrikin who would be in anything going, and one who loved to have a beer with his mates. Barry was in the mould of the much-admired typical Aussie Digger.

Lest We Forget

 

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