Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Anniversary of a Tragedy


Today is the 51st anniversary of the tragic death of Graham Kavanagh from 6 Platoon, B Company, 7 RAR, who died from severe dehydration at the beginning of our second operation. 

Karl Metcalf, ex-platoon commander 4 Platoon, has published experts from the recently released second edition of Seven in Seventy on the battalion's Facebook page. 

With thanks and acknowledgment to Karl, I'll reproduce these excerpts here, as a tribute to Graham and all 7 RAR soldiers who were lost during our tour.

(You can enlarge the images by clicking on them).


 






May he rest in peace.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the ex Chief Commissioner of Police from ACT loses any sleep over the decisions of those eventful days after deploying men you could expect to be unfit for duty for arduous trekking through the J. This was an avoidable tragedy. Lest we forget.

1735099 said...

I have wondered the same, but it's unclear exactly at what level the decisions were made that day.
He's had his own share of tragedy since, when his son died suddenly on 26 July 2016.

Anonymous said...

This tragedy would have been avoided if China and the Soviet Union had refrained from supporting the Communist Viet Cong in their attempted take over of South Vietnam.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

Or if the US had honoured the Geneva Accords of 1954.
Assigning blame won’t bring him back.
Have the dignity to honour his memory.

Anonymous said...

"I have wondered the same, but it's unclear exactly at what level the decisions were made that day." It is not as "unclear" to those on the ground. After insertion it is clear that Possum was a name given to you know who and he was informed immediately. Any decision from that point on is his. Had this been the uninjured child of any enemy killed during an ambush for instance, a medevac would have been mounted immediately, not hours later. One of the memories that has worried me for many years.
Your deflection may be well intended but does not detract from the implications of a decision made on the insertion of men temporarily not up to the task and the handling of the situation that arose as a result. I understand that the decision may well have been coerced from above, but that does not not make it excusable.
Family tragedy is another matter. Ask Greg Lindsay who suffered much more than losing a son.
I know personally what losing those close to you does and am not treating that lightly.
We should never forget the past and should live our lives accordingly. Lest we forget the fallen.

1735099 said...

The best recounting of the incident comes from reading the radio log -https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1374587?image=41
Like everyone else in B Coy, I was "on the ground", but I would not venture an opinion as to what really happened, as a mere baggy arse, I was not privy to the decision-making.
I remember being absolutely knackered by the time we got to the Song Rai, and having difficulty putting one foot in front of the other. I didn't collapse, but quite a few did, and it took us a long time to get where we were going, as there were frequent recovery stops.
There were confounding factors - a full ration load, very hot and humid conditions, the dry state of the countryside, and of course, the recent R & C.
I have read O'Brien's and Ravenscroft's accounts, and still, find it difficult to apportion blame. That was why, in my memoir, I avoided that, and mentioned the blow to morale the whole episode was responsible for.

Blog archive