214035 Corporal Harold Charles SPRADBROW
Military Medal (MM)
Corporal Harold Spradbrow enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 11 May 1961. He served with 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in Malaya and Borneo from 1963 to 1965. He joined 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on 18 January 1966 and arrived in South Vietnam in April 1967.
During Operation Ballarat in Phuoc Thy Province on 6 August 1967, A Company engaged a large force of enemy and came under heavy attack from machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades and rifle fire. As the battle developed, Corporal Spradbrow’s section found itself closest to the enemy and bore the brunt of the fighting for almost two hours. For most of this time the enemy were from ten to thirty metres away. At one stage the enemy charged towards his position but were beaten back by the section whose fire was calmly but aggressively directed by Corporal Spradbrow. The information passed to his Platoon Commander by Corporal Spradbrow enabled artillery and armed helicopter fire to be directed accurately onto the enemy.
It is a measure of his professional skill that only one member of his section was wounded by enemy fire while his section caused many enemy casualties.
On 14 September 1967 while commanding a patrol Corporal Spradbrow had a chance encounter with one Viet Cong. He killed the Viet Cong with his first shot.
On 1 October 1967 while commanding another patrol, Corporal Spradbrow located an occupied enemy camp. After carrying out an undetected reconnaissance he informed his Platoon Commander of the location of the camp and led the platoon to the spot. Corporal Spradbrow’s section was deployed by him on the outskirts of the camp. While the remainder of the platoon were deploying, two armed Viet Cong were sighted. Taking the initiative Corporal Spradbrow ordered his section to fire with the result that a Viet Cong officer was killed, another Viet Cong wounded and a number of important documents captured.
On all three occasions Corporal Spradbrow showed initiative, professional skill, leadership and personal courage to a degree which has set him apart from his fellows. His exploits have set an example which is felt throughout the Battalion.
Extract from: Vietnam Veterans Honours and Awards by Alexander M Palmer