20 May 2008

( select to enlarge )

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Major Peter Badcoe, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

  • Victoria Cross
  • Australian Active Service Medal ( 1945-75 ) ( not shown )
    • 1 clasp: "Vietnam"
  • Vietnam Medal ( 1964-73 ) ( Australia )
  • Australian Defence Medal ( not shown )
  • Silver Star + Oak Leaf ( US )
  • South Vietnam Cross of Gallantry + Gold Star
  • South Vietnam Campaign Medal
    • 1 clasp: "1960"
  • Silver Star ( US )
  • Air Medal ( US )
  • Purple Heart ( US )
  • South Vietnam Cross of Gallantry + Silver Star
  • South Vietnam Wound Medal

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Major Peter Badcoe, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, have been sold at auction by the Sydney auction house Bonhams and Goodman for a hammer price of AUS$400,000 ( £195,444 ). The identity of the purchaser has been revealed as Seven Network Chief Kerry Stokes and the Government of South Australia.

The Acting Premier of South Australia admitted to making a "spur of the moment" decision to go halves with Mr Stokes in purchasing the Peter Badcoe Victoria Cross group, along with other memorabilia. The media tycoon had called the Acting Premier before the auction to outline his plans because of the significance to South Australia. It is intended the Peter Badcoe VC group will go on display in Adelaide for a period in time and will then be displayed in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, but will be brought back to Adelaide for special occasions.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 17 October 1967 ], Vietnam, 23 February, 7 March & 7 April 1967, Major Peter John Badcoe, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.

On 23 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 7 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. His personal courage and leadership turned certain defeat into victory and prevented the enemy from capturing the District Headquarters.

On 7 April 1967, on an operation in Huong Tra District, Major Badcoe was with the 1st ARVN 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 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.

Following this death in action near An Thuan Village, NW of Hue, Vietnam, Peter Badcoe was interred in the Terendak Garrison Camp Cemetery, Malaysia, 13 miles north of Malacca.


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Iain Stewart, 20 May 2008