I have posted a page on Jim Bourke which can be accessed via the LH Menu under “The Personalities” Jim never served with 7RAR overseas but joined us in Holsworthy when we came home from the 2nd Tour. You may remember him as OC A Coy but if you don’t, you should remember him as the man who bought home our six MIAs from South Vietnam.
I personally followed Jim’s travails as he fought to bring two of these back home . In 1964, before Vietnam appeared on the RAR radar, I was in 1Pl, A Coy, 1RAR and a month too young to deploy with 1RAR on that 1st deployment – thankfully as it turned out. It was this platoon that was hammered on Operation Hump in November, 1965 and had to leave two of their men on the battlefield. The men, Richard (Tiny) Parker and Peter Gillson were in my section back home in Australia before it all went bad.
They were my mates..
“On 5 November 1965 1 RAR and 1/503 Battalion deployed into an area of operations approximately 17 km northeast of their base location. 1 RAR conducted an airmobile assault into Landing Zone (LZ) Jack in the vicinity of GR YT 134 257, east of the Dong Nai River and 1/503 Battalion flew into LZ King on the west of the River. The operation was code named Operation Hump. On the afternoon of 8 November at approximately 1630 hrs, A Company 1 RAR encountered elements of the Vietnamese C238 Company just over 3.5 km southeast of LZ Jack. Parker and Gillson were hit by enemy fire during the ensuing battle. Because of the intensity of the enemy fire, members of A Company did not attempt to recover Parker and those present believed he was killed. Sergeant Colin Fawcett (1937-1994) and Pte Laurence Domaschenz (1946-2007) attempted to recover Gillson’s body but were unable to do so; however, Fawcett was able to get close enough to Gillson to confirm he had no pulse.
The post is a long read but worth it. It has a lot of details about Jim’s early life, his military career and his persistent pursuit of the MIAs and is written by Graham Buchan, resident in Ayr Queensland. Graham went to school with Jim and recently has organized a memorial to Jim at Ayr
The story of Jim Bourke should become set in stone in the history of the Regiment.
Go here to read the full story or just click the link in “The Personalities”