Douglas Graham (Bootlace) BORLACE

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BORLACE, Douglas Graham

Service Number: 42809
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Craftsman
Last Unit: 3rd Cavalry Regiment
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 10 July 1944
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Oakbank Area School
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Killed in Action , Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, 15 July 1968, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Stirling District Cemetery, S.A.
Plot: North side 2 27A
Memorials: Adelaide South East Asian Conflicts Memorial, Adelaide Vietnam War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cavalry Memorial (Tongala) Vietnam 1965-1972, Grafton Clarence Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial
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Vietnam War Service

20 Jun 1968: Involvement Australian Army (post WW2), Craftsman, SN 42809, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
28 Jun 1968: Involvement Australian Army (post WW2), Craftsman, SN 42809, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
15 Jul 1968: Involvement Australian Army (post WW2), Craftsman, SN 42809, 3rd Cavalry Regiment

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Biography

42809 Craftsman Douglas Graham Borlace was KIA in South Vietnam on the afternoon of the 15th July, 1968 whilst on operations in an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) with A Squadron 3rd Calvary Regiment Light Aid Detachment (A Sqn 3 Cav Regt LAD)

Doug was posted to A Squadron on 29th June 1968 as a vehicle mechanic (VM). With Doug in the APC was Timothy(Tim) Foster, John Chislett and Sgt Brian Smith of 1 RAR and the crew commander Kenneth Turnham.
The APC, in the morning, had attracted small arms fire from the Viet Cong they were then lured into an ambush site by the VC, the APC hitting a land mine wounding Tim Foster and the crew Commander Kenneth Turnham.
Doug Borlace was killed immediately, the crew commander instructed the soldiers to drag Doug's body back into the APC on which he had been travelling on top. His boots and legs were visible through the crew commander's turret but when they dragged Doug back into the APC he had been decapitated from the waist up.
For many years after, Tim Foster lived with this memory of that day in South Vietnam. Tim and all members of 1 RAR and the APC Crew had only met Doug on the morning of the 15th when he came across to assist repair/replacement of a track on the APC. It is believed a pin had come out of the carrier track.
Some years later with the assistance of the Battalion Padre, Brian Tinker and other parties, they were able to find out Doug had been adopted at an early age. After locating Doug's adopted parents, Tim Foster and the Padre visited them to explain the loss and sadness of losing Doug in action. 

At Enoggera Army Barracks in Brisbane, the Borlace Club has been dedicated to Doug. The RAEME Vietnam Association carried a flag with a plaque in memory of Doug at the unveiling of the Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra on October 1992.

 

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