Today marks the 45th anniversary of the death of Noel V. Crouch
… the fatal action in Vietnam …
” We were lucky people as we were all in some way wounded, some seriously. In many respects we were extra lucky, as when we assaulted the position we were confronted by bunkers which we didn’t use for cover for some reason, perhaps a sixth sense. I have since reasoned that we didn’t use them because they were unoccupied by the VC. We found later that these bunkers were rigged with trip wires and instantaneous grenades”.
The Australian force withdrew to evacuate its casualties. As this was occurring, 3 platoon and A Company Headquarters, led by Major Chris Thomson, were moved by armoured personnel carriers from the Horseshoe to the contact area. When they arrived, Major Thomson called for helicopter gunship support. Three Australian Bushranger helicopters pinned down the estimated 50 man Viet Cong force in bunkers within 100m of the company until the A Company group re–assaulted the position. During the battle the Hoi Chanh shouted out to his mates in the bunkers, waited for them to appear and very happily blazed away at them. The entire position was secured by 1600 hours. The enemy casualties were five killed and three prisoners of war. A large quantity of food, documents and stores were captured. A Company suffered one soldier, Private Noel Crouch, killed in action. When Corporal Powell saw that Private Crouch had been killed, in a retaliatory act of bravery, he charged the
bunkers and was wounded himself. There were twelve Australian soldiers wounded in this action.
May he Rest in Peace.
His grave (Grave 424) is within the Katanning Cemetery in Western Australia and is located in the Presbyterian area.