Private Bernard Michael Pengilly
Killed in Action; 30 July 1971
Bernie came from Bassendean, Western Australia, and worked at the General Post Office in Perth’s CBD. Bernie was called up for national Service in 1970 and subsequently posted to 4 RAR in Townsville and sailed with the Battalion to South Vietnam in May 1971. He was engaged to be married at the time of embarkation. Bernie was a quiet, genuine personality and friends with everyone in 10 Platoon.
During Operation IRON FOX on the Long Khanh and Phuoc Tuy Province border, D Coy was diverted to assist C Coy who had hit a large enemy bunker system. The next day D Coy moved down the Soui Ca creek line while the tanks that had accompanied them the day before refuelled. Following fresh tracks, they walked into a heavily fortified bunker system occupied by 1 Battalion 274 Viet Cong Regiment where the contact continued for some two hours. Artillery was called in to within 25 metres of their position as they were so close to the bunkers that they could hear the enemy talking. The 10 Platoon forward scout John Lawnton, was badly wounded in the arm and shoulder by artillery shrapnel. Mick O’Sullivan, the Company medic, crawled out under extreme enemy fire to attend to Lawnton. Mick was attending to John and saw Bernie crawling across open ground to assist. Upon nearing Mick and John, Bernie propped to throw John’s pack back and was hit by an enemy held M60 machine gun, killing him instantly.
Notes: Submitted by Mike Gilpin and supported by Mick O’Sullivan MM.
The machine gun turned out to be an M60 that had been captured from US forces by the enemy.
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