Book penetrated by bullet

On 21 September 1971, Second Lieutenant Graham Spinkston was officer commanding of 12 Platoon, 4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment/New Zealand as it participated in a larger search and destroy operation south of Courtenay Rubber Plantation in Vietnam. The platoon came under heavy fire from a bunker complex manned by elements of the 33rd Regiment, People's Army of Vietnam, and quickly suffered casualties.

Private James Duff was killed instantly by rocket propelled grenades. Spinkston was among the wounded, hit by shrapnel in the right leg, which he said felt like being "hit with the flat side of a cricket bat". The platoon withdrew approximately 20 metres and called in artillery and gunship support. Thirty soldiers were wounded and five were killed in what became known as the battle of Nui Le. They were the last Australians to die in combat in Vietnam.

Before the battle, Spinkston had picked up this copy of The Taste of Courage: The War, 1939-1945, which was in his left basic pouch behind his hip. During the battle the book was hit by an AK-47 round. Spinkston didn't feel the bullet hit, and did not know it had until he was released from hospital in October.

Realising the significance of the book that may have saved Spinkston's life, his commanding officer suggested it be given to the Australian War Memorial. Unknown to all but Spinkston, the bullet in the book was replaced with an unfired round. Graham Spinkston kept the original as a lucky charm.