Military Cross

Lieutenant Roy Retchford ran across No Man’s Land, stumbling under the weight of his Sergeant as the machinegun bullet tore through his thigh.

It was the night of 21 March 1918 and the two 11th Battalion soldiers were on patrol in the Hill 60 sector south-east of Ypres in Belgium. Patrol leader Lieutenant Retchford’s orders were to reconnoitre the German position.

He and his Sergeant pushed ahead of the patrol and reached the enemy wire. The pair were spotted in the bright moonlight and the German guns opened up, seriously wounding the NCO.

On Being Shot

In late September 1971 I was a 23 year-old rifle platoon commander in Delta Company of the 4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. We were in South Viet Nam and on operations in the north of Phuoc Tuy Province searching for and hoping to destroy our enemy; the highly trained, strictly disciplined and deeply motivated soldiers from the North Vietnamese Army’s 33rd Regiment. These guys were no pushovers and as we had found out earlier in the month, if they thought they had a chance of winning a firefight they would hang around and have a crack.