Donald Cameron (Donny or Hilly) HILL

HILL, Donald Cameron

Service Number: 2794350
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: HQ 1st Australian Task Force, Vietnam
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , 21 December 1948
Home Town: Thirroul, Wollongong, New South Wales
Schooling: Keira Boy High School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Technical Dept Lysaghts Port Kembla
Died: Killed in Action, South Vietnam,, 12 June 1971, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Wollongong City Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, New, South Wales
Indiv Rose 4M
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Grafton Clarence Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Kallangur Vietnam Veterans' Place, New South Wales Garden of Remembrance (Rookwood Necropolis), Port Pirie Vietnam Veterans Honour Wall, Seymour Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk Roll of Honour
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Vietnam War Service

27 Aug 1970: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 2794350
26 Nov 1970: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 2794350
9 Feb 1971: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 2794350
10 Feb 1971: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 2794350
Date unknown: Involvement Private, 2794350, HQ 1st Australian Task Force, Vietnam

Help us honour Donald Cameron Hill's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Tony Cox

Donald Cameron Hill (Don) was born on the 21st of December 1948 and lived in Hamilton Street, Fairy Meadow, from the age of two when his parents moved down to Wollongong from Sydney.  Don has an older brother, Ian.  Don attended Mount Ousley Primary School and then Keira Boys High.  He was an accomplished sportsman, having played soccer for Tarrawanna and cricket for Balgownie from a very early age.

It was through these sports that Don met and became very close friends with Maxwell Rhodes, who was also conscripted and subsequently killed in Vietnam approximately six weeks after the conflict that took Don’s life.

After Donald finished school, he began work in the Technical Department of Lysaghts at Port Kembla and remained there until conscripted into the army.  After he completed his national service and jungle training, Don was sent to Vietnam in August 1970 with the 7th Battalion, whose members had been serving in Vietnam for six months and were returning to Vietnam from their R&R in Australia.

When the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment returned to Australia at the end of their tour in March 1971, Don came home on his R&R (Rest & Recuperation).  He then returned to Vietnam as part of the 1st Australian Task Force.

Operation Overlord, under command of Brigadier Bruce Alexander McDonald MC was a massive simultaneous deployment which occurred on the 6th June 1971 involved all three Australian infantry battalions.

Also included were Centurion tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers two Field Artillery Regiments, US Army Battery C, Engineers, 161 Reconnaissance Flight,  9 Squadron RAAF and Army Assault Helicopter Company flying Cobras.

B Company 3 RAR made lengthy contact with the enemy on the morning of the 7th June 1971 and the savage contact lasted the entire day.  The enemy included D445 Battalion and 3/33rd Regiment.

Killed in action on that day were 2Lt Ian George Mathers, Royal Australian Artillery, 9 Sqn RAAF crew Flight Officer Everitt Lance and Cpl David John Dubber who perished during a mid-contact helicopter munitions resupply.  6 soldiers and two helicopter crew were wounded.

On the 12th June 1 ATF Defence and Employment Platoon of which Donald Hill was a member, had boarded an armoured personnel carrier APC (M113), and were proceeding back to an area by the same route they travelled earlier in the day.

During the return journey, a box of 6 Claymore Mines fell from the leading APC.  Claymore Mines were used for protection at Halts and night Harbours. The second APC stopped, and a soldier retrieved the BOX of claymores, and stowed them next to this APC’s own box of claymores.  At the same time, the last APC had slowed to a stop to maintain his tactical distance from the second APC.

In the meantime, the leading APC, which had continued, rounded a slight bend in the track was struck by a Vietcong RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade)-grenade, severely wounding both the Driver and Crew Commander and disabling the APC.  All three APC’s were immediately engaged by enemy fire.

Initial enemy response included an enemy rocket propelled grenade which secured a direct hit on the external storage bin of the middle APC which now contained two boxes of Claymore Mines, causing a massive explosion that killed all on board that APC.

Also killed with Donald (Hilly) Hill were:

Pte Kenneth James “Kenny” Boardman         A Sqn 3 Cav Regt                    Sutherland, Syd

L/Cpl John Noel McCarthy                            A Sqn 3 Cav Regt                    Springvale Victoria

Pte Trevor James (Atty) Attwood                  1 ATF D&E platoon               Uralla, Victoria

Pte Roger William Driscoll                            1 ATF D&E platoon               Coonamble, NSW

Pte Peter (To Be) Tebb                                   1 ATF D&E platoon.              St George, Queensland

Pte Michael (Mick or Tommy) Towler          1 ATF D&E Platoon               Rookwood, NSW

This one single encounter with the enemy shocked and saddened every soldier on the operation.

Four of the 7 soldiers killed, and three of the wounded were National Servicemen.  Don was 22 years of age at the time of his death.

Don left behind his seven-month-old son, Anthony Cameron Hill, and his wife, Heather.  Donald’s son Anthony had been born while his father was overseas, however, Don was able to be with his son during his five days of R&R in March 1971, during which time the extended family came together for Anthony’s christening.  The christening was conducted by close family friend Reverend Joe Dyer at the Congregational Church in Wollongong where Don and Heather had been married.

Anthony has followed in his father’s footsteps, having grown up and been educated in the same local area and having played soccer, baseball, and representative cricket for local Illawarra clubs.

Anthony joined the NSW Police Force in 1989 and has risen to the rank of Chief Inspector.  Anthony is married and lives in Jindabyne.

Don’s wife, Heather, has continued to live and work in Wollongong.  Before her retirement, Heather worked as a secondary school teacher.


Eulogy supplied by Donald's wife Mrs Heather Hill on the occasion of the Illawarra Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Vigil held on the 3rd August 2023.  Euology posted to site Coordinator organiser Tony Cox.