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David Emmet Coyne Gold Albert Medal 31st Battalion AIF for cold blooded bravery in saving life at the cost of his own, Vaire-sous-Corbie France April 1918.

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John Farrell DSC MM with Bar 6th Battalion AIF for courage and determination beyond praise. Lihons France August 1918, Broodseinde, Belgium October 1917, Merris France July 1918.

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Norman Marshall enlisted in the AIF as a private soldier and by 1917 had risen to command a battalion. He distinguished himself on Gallipoli and the western front by his fearless example and was decorated for leadership and courage. Marshall remains the only member of the Australian armed forces to have been awarded two bars to the DSO.

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Squadron Leader Adrian Goldsmith RAAF was a Spitfire pilot and was noted for his boldness in combat during the defence of Malta. Under the lapel is an Goldfish Club insignia, presented to those who had been rescued from the sea after enemy action. On the far left you can see the edge of a Maltese cross, an unofficial badge worn on the uniforms of the defenders of the island.

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Lawrence Saywell.

Joined the Australian Army Service Corps, and was only able to because a doctor ignored his poor eyesight. He served with the 6th Division in Greece and was captured in Crete, 1941. Saywell was a serial escapee and finally succeeded in January 1945, escaping from a POW camp in Pardubice, Czechoslovakia. He and an New Zealand companion contacted Czech patriots in a remote mountain village. While fighting with them he was shot dead by a retreating German soldier on the 8th of May 1945 at the village of Miretin. Every year since then, Czech people have honoured his memory at his grave in the village. Saywell was posthumously awarded the Czech Military Cross. In 2005 he was further awarded the Czech Meritorious Cross.

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T.L. Axford VC, MM

Tom Axford won both of these awards in WW1. He rejoined the Australian army in WW2 as a Sergeant with Western Command. When he died in 1983 he was one of three surviving Aussie VC winners of WW1. He was born 18th June 1894, so he was kicking on during WW2, and didn't leave the army until 1947.

I really like this group as you can see the wear from use.

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P.J. Badcoe VC

A modern group from the Vietnam conflict.

PETER BADCOE was born in Adelaide on 11 January 1934 and was educated in his home city. He joined the South Australian public service as a clerk. Early in 1952 he served seven weeks in the 16th National Service battalion and on 12 July entered the Officer Cadet School, Portsea, Victoria, from which he graduated Second Lieutenant on 13 December 1952.

Early postings included the 14th National Service Training Battalion and 1st Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery. From late 1958 until 1961 he served in the Directorate of Military Operations and Plans at Army Headquarters as a General Staff Officer Grade III. He returned to regimental duties with the 4th Field Regiment on 6 February 1961 and in June of that year was posted to the 103rd Field Battery, with whom he served a tour of duty in Malaya as a battery captain. After a third period with the 1st Field Regiment, November 1963 to August 1965, Badcoe changed his corps from artillery to infantry. He was promoted temporary Major on 10 August 1965 and posted to the Infantry Centre at Ingleburn, New South Wales.

In August 1966 Badcoe realized his ambition to serve in Vietnam when he was posted to the Australian Army Training Team there as a subsector adviser to the Nam Hoa district of Thua Thien province. As an adviser he was concerned with military operations and training carried out by the Ruff Puffs in his district.

In December he was reallotted to the sector headquarters of Thua Thien as operations adviser. Normally he would have been responsible for planning, liaison and associated staff work, but he took full advantage of the latitude given to advisers to lead forces into action whenever the opportunity arose. It was as province (or sector) operations adviser that he carried out the following actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 23 February 1967 he was acting as adviser to a regional force company in support of a sector operation in Phu Tho district when he monitored a radio transmission which reported the death of an American subsector adviser and the wounding of an American medical adviser. With complete disregard for his own safety Badcoe moved alone across 600 metres of fire-swept ground, attended to the wounded medical adviser and ensured his safety. He then organized a force of platoon strength and led them in a successful assault against the enemy machine-gun post near the body of the American adviser. He killed the machine-gunners in front of him, picked up the body of the dead American and ran back , over open ground still covered by hostile fire, to the regional command post.

Two weeks later, early on 7 March 1967, the Sector Reaction Company was deployed to Quang Dien subsector to counter Viet Cong attack on the headquarters. Badcoe, who had left the command group when their vehicle broke down, joined the company headquarters and personally led the company in an attack over open terrain to capture a heavily defended enemy position. His action prevented the enemy from capturing the district headquarters and averted certain heavy losses.

Exactly one month later, on 7 April, Badcoe was on an operation with the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam Division Reaction Company, supported by armoured personnel carriers, in the Huong Tra district. As the 1st Army moved forward to its objective the company came under heavy small arms fire and had to withdraw to a nearby cemetery for cover. Badcoe and his radio operator were left fifty metres in front of the others, under heavy mortar fire. Badcoe ran back and rallied his men and got them moving but they were again stopped by heavy fire. He rose to throw grenades but was pulled down by his radio operator. When he got up to throw another grenade he was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. Soon after friendly artillery was called in on the enemy position and it was assaulted and captured.

Badcoe was buried at the Terendak cemetery, Malaysia, his epitaph being 'He lived and died a soldier'. In November 1967 an Australian and New Zealand soldier's club in Vietnam was officially opened as the Peter Badcoe Club. A training block at the Officer Cadet School, Portsea, was also named Badcoe Hall in his honour.

For his services in Vietnam, in addition to the Victoria Cross, Badcoe was also awarded the American Silver Star. South Vietnam awarded him the National Order Of The Republic of Vietnam (Knight), three Crosses Of Gallantry (With Palm, Gold Star and Silver Star) and the Armed Forces Honour Medal, 1st Class.

Badcoe married Denise Maureen MacMahon on 26 May 1956. He had a family of three girls. His widow who subsequently remarried, and his three daughters presented his medals to the Australian War Memorial for display in the Hall of Valour.

Edited by Tiger-pie

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Rayene Stewart Simpson VC DCM

As you can see from his rack of gongs, he had extensive service in the Pacific, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam in the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam. He eas awarded the VC for actions over the 6th and 11th May 1969 in the Kontum Province, South Vietnam

Ray Simpson was born at Chippendale, New South Wales, on 16 February 1926. He joined the second AIF on 15 March 1944 and was sent to the 41st/2nd Infantry Battalion, a holding unit for young soldiers under 19 years of age. On the morning of 5 August 1944, Simpson was involved in a major breakout by several hundred Japanese prisoners of war and Cowra in New South Wales. Simpson?s duty on that day was to man a Vickers machinegun, identical to another gun which, several hours earlier, had been defended to the death by Privates Hardy and Jones, who were both posthumously awarded the George Cross. Simpson was later posted to the 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion and served near the end of the war with the 26th Battalion, AIF.

Simpson was demobilised in January 1947. He held a variety of labouring jobs before re-enlisting in 1951 for service in Korea with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. He was made a lance corporal in November 1951 and was promoted to corporal in January 1953. During this period he married a Japanese woman, Shoko Sakai, on 5 March 1952.

Simpson was posted to the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, in January 1954 and served with that unit in Malaya for two years from October 1955. He was next posted to the 1st Special Air Service Company in November 1957 and remained with that unit until he was deployed as one of the initial group of advisers with the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam (AATTV). Simpson?s team flew to Vietnam in July 1962.

After a year in Vietnam he returned to the Special Air Service unit but 12 months later returned to Vietnam for his second tour of duty with the AATTV, commencing in July 1964. During his second tour he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions when his patrol was ambushed in September 1964. The citation for his DCM reads as follows:A platoon sized group, led by a Vietnamese Special Forces officer, was intercepted by a superior Viet Cong force. The Vietnamese leader was an early casualty, Warrant Officer Simpson was severely wounded by rifle fire in the right leg. Despite his wound, he rallied the platoon, formed a defensive position, contacted base by radio, and, by person excample and inspiring leadership held off repeated assaults by the Viet Cong force, until, with ammunition almost exhausted, and himself weak from loss of blood, the relief force he had alerted arrived at the scene. Even then, not until he was satisfied that the position was secure and the troops of his patrol adequately cared for did he permit himself to be evacuated.

Simpson had been promoted to sergeant in July 1955 and to Warrant Officer Class 2 in July 1964. However, in May 1966 Simpson left the Army for a second time but he again re-enlisted by travelling directly to Saigon a year later to commence his third tour of duty with the AATTV. At the time when he was awarded the Victoria Cross he was serving in Kontum province near the Laotian border, as commander of a Mobile Strikes Force.

The citation for his Victoria Cross reads as follows:

On 6 May 1969, Warrant Officer Simpson was serving as Commander of 232nd Mobile Strike Force Company of 5th Special Forces Group on a search and clear operation in Kontum Province, near the Laotion border. When one of his platoons became heavily engaged with the enemy, he led the remainder of his company to its assistance. Disregarding the dangers involved, he placed himself at the front of his troops, thus becoming a focal point of enemy fire, and personally led the assault on the left flank of the enemy position. As the company moved forward an Australian Warrant Officer commanding one of the platoons was seriously wounded and the assault began to falter. Warrant Officer Simpson, at great personal risk and under heavy fire, moved across open ground, reach the wounded Warrant Officer and carried him to a position of safety.

He then returned to his company where, with complete disregard for his safety, he crawled forward to within 10 metres of the enemy and

threw grenades into their positions. As darkness fell, and being unable to break into the enemy position, Warrant Officer Simpson ordered his company to withdraw. He then threw smoke grenades and, carrying a wounded platoon

leader, covered the withdrawal of the company together with five indigenous soldiers.

His leadership and personal bravery in this action were outstanding. On 11 May 1969, in the same operation, Warrant Officer Simpson's Battalion Commander was killed and an Australian Warrant Officer and several indigenous soldiers were wounded. In addition, one other Australian Warrant Officer who had been separated from the majority of his troops was contained in the area by enemy fire. Warrant Officer Simpson quickly organised two platoons of indigenous soldiers and several advisers and led them to the position of the contact. On reaching the position the element with Warrant Officer Simpson came under heavy fire and all but a few of the soldiers with him fell back. Disregarding his own safety, he moved forward in the face of accurate enemy machine gun fire, in order to cover the initial evacuation of the casualties. The wounded were eventually moved out of the line of enemy fire, which all this time was directed at Warrant Officer Simpson from close range.

At the risk of almost certain death, he made several attempts to move further towards his Battalion Commander's body, but on each occasion he was stopped by heavy fire. Realising the position was becoming untenable and that priority should be given to extricating other casualties as quickly as possible, Warrant Officer Simpson alone and still under enemy fire, covered the withdrawal of the wounded by personally placing himself between the wounded and the enemy. From this position, he fought on and by outstanding courage and valour was able to prevent the enemy advance until the wounded were removed from the immediate vicinity. Warrant Officer Simpson's gallant and individual action and his coolness under fire were exceptional and were instrumental in achieving the successful evacuation of the wounded to the helicopter evacuation pad.

Warrant Officer Simpson's repeated acts of personal bravery in this operation were an inspiration to all Vietnamese, United States and Australian soldiers who served with him. His conspicuous gallantry was in the highest tradition of the Australian Army.

Simpson received his Victoria Cross from the Queen during a ceremony in Sydney on 1 May 1970. The United States awarded him the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for Valour. Simpson took up a position as administrative officer at the Australian embassy in Tokyo in 1972. He died of cancer in Tokyo on 18 October 1978 and was buried and the Yokohama war cemetery in Japan.

Simpson's medals and a portrait are displayed in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial. His photographs and citation are displayed in the Hall of Heroes at the John F Kennedy Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA.

Edited by Tiger-pie

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What is the first medal on Major General Henry Gordon Bennett's Medal bar?

:beer: Doc

Companion of St Michael and St George that he received in WW1 for his part in Gallipoli, and he had been mentioned in dispatches twice. His career was dogged later by an incident in Sigapore in WW2. See below.

Japanese troops landed in Malaya on 8 December and soon pushed British and Indian forces southward. Given command of Westforce on 9 January 1942, Bennett was made responsible for the defence of north-west Johore. He was confident that his Indian and Australian formations would halt the enemy advance, but his dispositions were fundamentally unsound: despite a successful Australian ambush at Gemas on 14 January, he fared no better than the British commanders whom he had derided. By the end of the month the defenders had withdrawn to Singapore. The Japanese assault on 8 February carried all before it. Again, Bennett's conduct of operations was questionable and Percival noted that his interest in the campaign seemed to wane towards the end. Surrender negotiations began on 15 February. That night Bennett handed over command of the 8th Division to Brigadier C. A. Callaghan and left Singapore by sampan. He arrived in Melbourne on 2 March.

The response in Australia to Bennett's escape was mixed. His action was applauded by those who thought that he had valuable lessons to impart on methods of fighting the Japanese. Others, including many senior officers, denounced him for deserting his troops who became prisoners of war. Although Bennett was promoted temporary lieutenant general on 7 April and made commander of III Corps in Perth, Blamey ensured that he would never again have command in the field. Bennett unavailingly petitioned politicians for help. Bitterly disappointed, he transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 9 May 1944. Immediately, he was again at loggerheads with military authorities over his account of the Malayan campaign, Why Singapore Fell (Sydney), which was largely an apologia. Although Blamey tried to prevent the book's publication, it came out later that year.

On the release of prisoners of war in 1945, a letter from Percival which accused Bennett of unlawfully vacating his command was passed to Blamey. A military investigation found that Bennett had relinquished his command without permission. The reaction of his defenders, many of whom had served with him in World War I or in the 8th Division, was vociferous and the government commissioned (Sir) George Ligertwood to inquire into the matter. The commissioner's findings failed to provide Bennett with the vindication he sought. While never questioning Bennett's personal courage, Ligertwood concluded that his action had been unjustified.

Bennett's stated reason for leaving Singapore was that he had learned how to defeat the Japanese (but had been let down by British and Indian troops) and he was obliged to communicate his knowledge to military authorities. Yet, he had proved no more proficient than other commanders in Malaya and his tactics were outdated. Just as important to him was his wish to lead the Australian army, a consuming aspiration which had been sharpened by not being given an early command. His prejudice against regular officers and his ambition clouded his professional judgement at the most important point in his career. When his most cherished goals were in tatters, he convinced himself that blame for his failure lay with others.

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K.A "Dasher" Wheatley VC.

'DASHER' WHEATLEY was born at Sydney on 13 March 1937. Educated at Maroubra Junction technical school, Sydney, he worked as a brick burner and machine operator prior to enlisting in the regular army in June 1956. He was posted to the 4th Battalion in September and then to the 3rd Battalion in March the following year; his first operational duty was with the 3rd Battalion in Malaya in 1957-59. In August 1959 he joined the 2nd Battalion and in June 1961 transferred to the 1st Battalion. He joined the Training Team on 16 March 1965 as a temporary Warrant Officer; he had been appointed Lance Corporal on 19 January 1959, promoted to Corporal on 2 February 1959 and to Sergeant 1 January 1964.

Arriving in Vietnam in early 1965 he spent six months with a Vietnamese battalion in Quang Tri province prior to being posted to Tra Bong with five other Australian Warrant Officers in October 1965 to relieve the previous group of advisers. From the Special Forces outpost deep in the enemy dominated Tra Bong valley, in Quang Ngai province, the AATTV and American advisers conducted 'search and destroy' operations. The advisers, housed in an isolated area to which access was gained by Caribou aircraft operating from a small nearby strip, were attached to a Civil Irregular Defence Group (CIDG) of Vietnamese and Montagnard soldiers.

Daily patrols were conducted from the base to a design which gradually moved the probes further outwards. It was on one of these patrols, on 13 November 1965, that Wheatley performed the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The company patrol had split into three platoon groups and Wheatley and Warrant Officer 2 R.J. Swanton were with the right-hand group. At about 1.40pm (1340hrs) Wheatley reported contact with Viet Cong soldiers and soon after he requested assistance. Captain Fazekas, who was with the centre platoon, organized about fifteen irregulars and fought towards the scene of the action. He received another message from Wheatley to say that Swanton had been hit in the chest. Wheatley requested an air strike and an aircraft for casualty evacuation.

About this time the right platoon began to scatter and although the CIDG medical assistant told Wheatley that Swanton was dying, Wheatley refused to abandon him. He discarded his radio and half dragged, half carried Swanton, under heavy enemy small arms fire, out of the open rice paddies into a wooded area 200 metres away. A CIDG member, Private Dinh Do, who was assisting Wheatley, urged him to leave Swanton. Wheatley refused,and was seen to pull the pins from two grenades. Holding a grenade in each hand, he calmly awaited the encircling Viet Cong.

Captain Fazekas led the search party that found the bodies next morning; both had died of gunshot wounds. (Fazekas was awarded the Military Cross for his courage in trying to relieve Wheatley and Swanton.)

Wheatley had married on 20 July 1954, and was survived by his wife Edna and four children. His body was returned to Australia for burial at Pine Grove Memorial Park, Blacktown, New South Wales. His name is commemorated in the New South Wales Garden of Remembrance at Rookwood war cemetery. In 1967 a trophy for annual competition between the Australian Services Rugby Union Football Union was inaugurated in his name. A sports arena at Vung Tau, Vietnam and the Land Warfare Centre Canungra Soldiers Club were named after him and his citation and photograph are displayed in theHall of Heroes, John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA. The United States also awarded him the Silver Star . He was made a Knight Of The National Order Of The Republic Of Vietnam, and received the Military Merit Medal and the Cross of Gallantry With Palm.

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