Posted by: Gregoryno6 | April 25, 2018

ANZAC Day 2018: Remembering sacrifice.

Peter Badcoe was born in Adelaide in 1934. Upon leaving school he joined the state government’s public service as a clerk. From the few photos to be found of him, Badcoe embodies the archetype of a government minion: round face, glasses, and a slightly disapproving expression.

Apperances can deceive. Major Peter Badcoe was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in 1967.

The London Gazette printed the citation for his award on October 17. It read in part:

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased on the advice of Her Majesty’s Australian Ministers to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:

Major PETER JOHN BADCOE (41400), Royal Australian Infantry Corps.

On 23rd February 1967 he was acting as an Advisor to a Regional Force Company in support of a Sector operation in Phu Thu District. He monitored a radio transmission which stated that the Subsector Adviser, a United States Army Officer, had been killed and that his body was within 50 metres of an enemy machine gun position; further, the United States Medical Adviser had been wounded and was in immediate danger from the enemy. Major BADCOE with complete disregard for his own safety moved alone across 600 metres of fire-swept ground and reached the wounded Adviser, attended to him and ensured his future safety. He then organised a force of one platoon and led them towards the enemy post. His personal leadership, words of encouragement, and actions in the face of hostile enemy fire forced the platoon to successfully assault the enemy position and capture it, where he personally killed the machine gunners directly in front of him. He then picked up the body of the dead officer and ran back to the Command post over open ground still covered by enemy fire.

On 7th March 1967, at approximately 0645 hours, the Sector Reaction Company was deployed to Quang Dien Subsector to counter an attack by the Viet Cong on the Headquarters. Major BADCOE left the Command group after their vehicle broke down and a United States Officer was killed; he joined the Company Headquarters and personally led the company in an attack over open terrain to assault and capture a heavily defended enemy position. In the face of certain death and heavy losses his personal courage and leadership turned certain defeat into victory and prevented the enemy from capturing the District Headquarters.

On 7th April 1967, on an operation in Huong Tra District, Major BADCOE was with the 1st A.R.V.N. Division Reaction Company and some armoured personnel carriers. During the move forward to an objective the company came under heavy small arms fire and withdrew to a cemetery for cover, this left Major BADCOE and his radio operator about 50 metres in front of the leading elements, under heavy mortar fire. Seeing this withdrawal, Major BADCOE ran back to them, moved amongst them and by encouragement and example got them moving forward again. He then set out in front of the company to lead them on; the company stopped again under heavy fire but Major BADCOE continued on to cover and prepared to throw grenades, when he rose to throw, his radio operator pulled him down as heavy small arms fire was being brought to bear on them; he later got up again to throw a grenade and was hit and killed by a burst of machine gun fire. Soon after, friendly artillery fire was called in and the position was assaulted and captured.

Major BADCOE’S conspicuous gallantry and leadership on all these occasions was an inspiration to all, each action, ultimately, was successful, due entirely to his efforts, the final one ending in his death. His valour and leadership were in the highest traditions of the military profession and the Australian Regular Army.

In addition to his Victoria Cross and other Australian honours Major Badcoe was recognised by the United States, which awarded him the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal. The South Vietnamese government awarded him the Wound Medal and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Gold Star and Silver Star.

Major Peter Badcoe, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, was buried at a miltary cemetery in Malaysia.

 


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