Banner: 10 Platoon, D Company, 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Place Asia: Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province
Accession Number REL36518
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Flag
Physical description Cotton, Ink
Maker Unknown
Place made Vietnam
Date made c 1966
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Black banner edged with red. A stylized .303 bayonet in the form of a cross is printed in the centre. '10 PL' is printed in yellow in the top left corner with 'WE DARE' printed across the bottom. 'D COY 5RAR SOUTH VIETNAM 1966-67' is handwritten in yellow across the top. The banner bears the handwritten names of personnel who served with 10 Platoon, D Company, 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment during the battalion's first tour of Vietnam.

History / Summary

Flag from 10 Platoon, D Company, 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR). This flag replaced one made by Gwen Coupe, the wife of Corporal Brendan Francis 'Danny' Coupe, which was presented to the platoon at a farewell function held at the Coupe residence prior to departure for Vietnam. The original flag was stolen approximately six weeks into the unit's deployment to Vietnam, so this replacement was made.

As members of a newly established battalion, the men of 10 Platoon sought to emulate the Special Air Service (SAS), who were regarded as the army's elite. Drawing inspiration from the SAS's winged dagger and motto 'Who Dares Wins', 10 Platoon used the .303 bayonet and the motto 'We Dare' in the design for their flag.

5RAR arrived in Vietnam throughout April and May 1966, and with 6RAR formed the infantry component of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF). D Company, with the men of 10 Platoon, arrived on 7 May 1966.

During their tour they gave the Nui Dinh - Nui Thi Vai complex of mountains east of Nui Dat their name 'the Warburtons'. There was a popular song at the time called 'Wolverton Mountain', and the members of 10 Platoon would substitute 'Warburton Mountain' whenever this song was played to tease Private Graham Warburton. On one occasion the platoon was attending an intelligence lecture prior to their deployment, and when this complex of mountains was mentioned, Private Colin Illman of 10 Platoon made a reference to the feature as Warburton Mountain. The name stuck, and throughout the Australian involvement in Vietnam the mountain complex was commonly referred to as 'the Warburtons' or 'the Warbies'.

On 24 May, 5RAR moved by helicopter from Vung Tau to Nui Dat to secure and clear the area around the proposed base for 1ATF. On 3 June, the battalion took up defensive positions at the Task Force base to await the arrival of the rest of the Australian forces. Early on the same day near the Soui Da Bang in an area 1500 metres north-west of Long Tan, 10 Platoon engaged the enemy. The Australians charged a group of Viet Cong, killing three and capturing their weapons. There were no Australian casualties.

On 10 June 1966, 5RAR were on patrol with National Policemen and South Vietnamese soldiers. A pair of enemy mortars were engaged and destroyed. When 10 Platoon neared the area they were engaged by another enemy mortar. The location of the mortar was observed and the patrol radioed for an airstrike, which struck the mortar's location with cluster munitions and napalm, but not before Corporal Coupe and Private Les Farren were killed and four soldiers were wounded. For his leadership in this and the action on 3 June, Second Lieutenant (2LT) Dennis Rainer was Mentioned in Despatches.