Thomas Dudley PHILLIPS MID

PHILLIPS, Thomas Dudley

Service Number: 42352
Enlisted: 1 June 1959
Last Rank: Warrant Officer Class 2
Last Unit: Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV)
Born: Cardiff, Wales, 25 May 1927
Home Town: Puckapunyal, Mitchell, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Died of wounds, South Vietnam, 20 March 1966, aged 38 years
Cemetery: Woden (Canberra) Public Cemetery, ACT
Initially interred Terendak Military Cemetery Malaysia Remains repatriated to Australia 2nd June 2016, Woden Cemetery, Phillip, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Memorials: Adelaide Post Second World War Memorial, Adelaide Vietnam War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Canungra - The Grove - AATTV Row of Memory, Grafton Clarence Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Kallangur Vietnam Veterans' Place, Pooraka War Memorial, Port Pirie Vietnam Veterans Honour Wall, Seymour Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk Roll of Honour
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Vietnam War Service

1 Jun 1959: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2)
7 Oct 1965: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 42352, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV)
7 Oct 1965: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 42352

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Army Number.. 42352

Substantive Rank. Sergeant

Temporary Rank: Warrant Officer Class Two

Christian Name; Thomas Dudley


Honour or Award: MID (Posthumous)

Warrant Officer Thomas Dudley Phillips enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in June 1959 after previously serving for several years in the British Army. He then served continuously with the lst Armoured Regiment at Puckapunyal until posted to the Australian Army Training team in October 1965, and assigned as an adviser to Regional Force units in the central Vietnamese Province of Quang Ngai.

On 18 March 1966, Warrant Officer Phillips was the adviser with the 423rd Regional Force Company on an operation in an area approximately 15 kilometres south of Quang Ngai City. He was accompanied by Warrant Officer John Neville Selmes, who was advising another Regional Force Company, and three United States Army Lieutenants. At 0810 hours both forces were engaged by a significantly superior Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regular Force and a vicious fire fight ensued at close range. After approximately fifteen minutes all the Regional Force troops, with the exception of their Company Commanders, abandoned the position leaving the advisers to oppose the enemy alone and personal weapons only available since requests for artillery and air support had been refused.

At this point, whilst the group of advisers was attempting to withdraw, one of the US Lieutenants was wounded and Warrant Officer Selmes went to his assistance. While Selmes assisted the wounded officer to a safer position, Warrant Officer Phillips continuously exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to engage the enemy effectively and cover his comrades' movement. This enabled the wounded officer to be taken to a rear ward position from which support could again be called.

While Warrant Officer Phillips was providing covering fire and successfully impeding the enemy's' approach he was seriously wounded in the stomach by a burst of automatic fire. He was seen to stumble but nevertheless recovered and continued to give fire support until he could no longer stand. After his subsequent recovery by the remaining advisers and as a result of these wounds, he died in hospital on the morning of 20 March 1966.

During this engagement all the advisers were wounded. By his courageous action, both before and after being wounded, Warrant Officer Phillips enabled the remainder to reorganise their position and eventually arrange evacuation for the whole party, Warrant Officer Phillips sacrificed his life in this endeavour and his conduct was in the highest Australian tradition of courage and professional dedication.