Brian (Bull) WALSH MM

WALSH, Brian

Service Number: 214468
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Warrant Officer Class 2
Last Unit: Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV)
Born: Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia, 3 October 1939
Home Town: Denman, Muswellbrook, New South Wales
Schooling: Merriwa Convent 1944-1950,Martindale Primary 1951, Denman Convant School 1951, Muswellbrook High School 1952-1954. Received outstanding sportsman and intermediate certificate & school army cadet.
Occupation: Qualified Painter, Soldier
Died: Killed in Action, Ben Het, Kontum Province South Vietnam, 27 June 1969, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Rookwood Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria, New South Wales, Australia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Canungra - The Grove - AATTV Row of Memory, Grafton Clarence Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Kallangur Vietnam Veterans' Place, Kurri Kurri War Memorial, Port Pirie Vietnam Veterans Honour Wall, Seymour Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk Roll of Honour
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Vietnam War Service

8 Apr 1967: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 214468
8 Apr 1967: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 214468, 7th Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR)
24 Mar 1969: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 214468
24 Mar 1969: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Warrant Officer Class 2, 214468, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV)

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"214468 Sergeant Brian Walsh MM, Platoon Sgt, 9 Platoon, C Company, 7 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR)... When previously serving with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), Sgt Walsh had been awarded the Military Medal for his actions in helping to evacuate a wounded soldier near Ben Het on 11 May 1966. He was killed in action near Ben Het on 27 June 1969." - SOURCE (


Biography contributed by Brett Walsh

Veteran Notes/Bio: 
The experiences of Brian Walsh as related by his brother Peter “Pop” Walsh:

Brian was born on 3rd of October 1939, in a shack built by his parents, Elvin Bailey Walsh and Sarah ‘Dolly’ Irine (nee Wicks) in Merriwa At birth Brian weighed in at a hefty 14 pounds 10 ounces (6.4 kilograms). Brian’s father had won a ‘selection’ on a soldier settlement farm in 1951, in Martindale Creek, Denman. Brian was one of 10 children; Noel, Moira, Patricia, Kevin, Peter, Brian, John, Anne, Dorothy and Allan.

From the time ‘Bull’ as he was known to everyone was nine years old, he worked for a carrier and a woodcutter after school and on weekends. However, he still managed to complete his Intermediate Certificate (now known as the School Certificate) at Muswellbrook High School and then went on to complete an apprenticeship in painting and decorating.

From the age of fifteen Bull played rugby league for Denman, with a great deal of success, until he joined the regular army on the 18th on January 1962. Following the completion of his basic training Bull was sent to Malaya and served there with both the 2RAR (Royal Australian Regiment) and 3RAR.

Bull’s first tour of Vietnam commenced on the 27th October 1967 where he was involved in search and destroy missions. By the 18th November 1967 he has risen in rank to Sergent Brian Walsh, appointed to the 7RAR.

In one incident, Bull and another soldier, both fully armed, perhaps on a short R&R (rest and relaxation) away from their camp, decided to check out a local massage parlour. As night fell their base camp (which was located at the edge of town) came under heavy bombing from enemy fire. Both men knew if they tried to get back to their camp they would be killed either by their own buddies or the V.C (Viet Cong), so both men got onto the roof of the shed at the rear of the parlour and watched the fireworks. They decided that they would take the opportunity to get back when it came. To their amazement four V.C. soldiers came down an open drain, climbed out and walked into the shed that the two Aussies were standing on. The two men looked at each other, quickly pulled the pins on two grenades and threw them into the shed, blowing off the roof as well as themselves!

When they recovered from the shock, they realized how lucky they were to be alive! By then, the parlour girls had dressed their wounds and put them to bed and somehow cared for them. The next morning they checked what was left of the shed, finding no dead bodies but there was a manhole covering a tunnel.

Back in Australia, Bull was training recruits and regular soldiers, with all types of enemy weapons. Early in 1969 he was asked by army command, if he would do a second tour of duty with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV).
The Hunter Valley man did not know how to say “No”! Bull was promoted to acting Warrant Officer Class 2 and on arrival back in Vietnam, he was sent to the Ben Het area, to train Montagnard tribesman into regular soldiers. These tribespeople were from the mountains and had little communication with others. They learnt to love and respect this Australian leader of men.

On the 11th of May 1969, Bull as the Commander of the 231st Coy, was leading a Montagnard soldier Strike Force group, which was part of a search and clear operation in Kontum Province. The whole battalion came under heavy fire from close range in an ambush. The American battalion commander, Captain Green USSF, was killed while trying to help a wounded Australian; Warrant Officer A.M. Kelly. By this time Bull’s company was now at the front and the fire power from the enemy was extreme – to say the least! He tried to rally his indigenous soldiers, but in vain.

Bull heard W.O. Kelly calling that he was wounded and the V.C. and regular soldiers were getting closer. Under heavy fire, Bull went alone, found Kelly lying in the open, was joined by an American Sergeant and they moved the wounded man to a safer area. During all that time, W.O. Ray Simpson was creating Havoc for the enemy. Moving alone, having the same problem Bull had with the indigenous soldiers, he was crawling, throwing hand grenades and then running. He actually forced the enemy to move back and re-group. When Bull and Simpson got together, Simpson said “Did you get the documents from Green’s body, Brian?” Bull looked at Simpson and said “cover me” and went it alone. The enemy were waiting this time and so was Simpson who stood in the open inviting the enemy to fire at him and not at Bull – he stood behind a large tree only to change his magazine. Bull got the documents and returned to safety, his knife still dripping with blood and his clothes shredded from enemy fire.

Simpson and Bull, in very hazardous circumstances, continued to assist in the evacuation of wounded soldiers, until the arrival of other friendly soldiers.

Bull was awarded the Military Medal, the Victorian Cross, which was awarded to the great Australian soldier Ray Simpson, Warrant Officer 1st Class. The soldier was a veteran of WW11, Malaya and now Vietnam and beat them every time!

Bull continued to train and work with these Montagnard people, that he cared for until June 27 1969 when he was killed from ambush, during a security sweep of his camp perimeter. Normally, following a kill the V.C. would take a solders clothing, weapon and boots, with Bull they pulled his hat over his head wound, folded his arms across his chest and left him fully intact, some soldiers say this is a mark of respect for a Hunter Valley hero.

This information came to my mother and I directly from W.O. Kelly who visited us after his wounds had healed. Bull’s medals can be viewed in the Denman RSL Club House and include: a Military Medal, two General Service Medals and Bar, the Malaya and Borneo Star, the Vietnam Medal with bar, the Australian Active Service Medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam.

The Other Ranks Command Post Canteen at Myambat was named after Bull, officially nominated by Major General D.M. Mueller A.M. on the 29th November 1994 – a mark of respect from the Army. The Myambat Club has copies of the medals and a photo of Brian.

One memento of Bull’s that I still have is the wooden police baton and kung fu nunchuck he owned.

In a little over seven years Bull rose from joining the army as a Private, to the rank of Warrant Officer 2nd Class. Some say he was the most decorated soldier from the Hunter Valley to be involved in the Vietnam War.