Major Peter Badcoe VC
On the 23rd February 1967, Major Peter John Badcoe performed the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Peter Badcoe grew up in Adelaide. Always wanting to join the army, he entered the Officer Cadet School at Portsea, Victoria, in 1952 being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Australian Staff Corps in December 1952.
He was allotted to the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery in which he served in several Regimental and Staff postings until August 1965. He then transferred to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and joined the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in August 1966. He was posted as Sector Operations Officer in THUA THIEN Province, South Vietnam.
He was dubbed “the Galloping Major”, and “always on the go”.
Between 23 February to 7 April 1967, Badcoe repeatedly performed extraordinary feats. While under fire he attacked across open ground; he rescued an American adviser; he captured a machine gun; he led attacks; and he provided leadership and an example to wavering troops. He was eventually killed by a burst of enemy fire as he rose to throw a grenade.
“His valour and leadership were in the highest traditions of the military profession and the Australian Regular Army.”
He was buried at Terendak Cemetery, Malaysia.
“Lest We Forget”
I met Peter on arrival in country and escorted him up to Hue where he was to be the Senior advisor. I spent some memorable times with him during my tour, mostly of a frightening nature. Burning C4 in his room to heat our C Rations with piles of HE munitions under his bed, is an example. He was an outstanding soldier and a fellow major in the AATTV, Ross Buchan (later MAJGEN), said of him, “Peter wasn’t brave once or twice, he was brave all of the time!”. Rest in Peace Brother.