Identity discs: 37010 Private William Thomas Carroll, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Place Asia: Vietnam, Bien Hoa Province, Bien Hoa
Accession Number AWM2016.169.1
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Nylon, Stainless steel
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1964-1965
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Pair of stainless steel identity discs, one round and one octagonal, threaded on a length of green nylon cord. Each disc is engraved on the obverse '37010/ CARROLL W./ O.P.D.' and on the reverse 'B. POS'.

History / Summary

William Thomas Carroll was born at Perth, Western Australia on 6 August 1943. Joining the Australian army as a private soldier, service number 37010, Carroll was posted to C Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, for its first tour of service in Vietnam in 1965.

Based at Bien Hoa, the entire battalion had arrived in Vietnam by 4 June. After training and acclimatisation the battalion was considered ready for its first operation. It was tasked with clearing an area to the south-east of the base for incoming United States units. Although the area contained few enemy troops, the task was considered an ideal opportunity to test the battalion's battle procedures and practise a helibourne assault. The operation began on 25 June and was completed the following day.

Sixty members of C Company, together with some American troops, returned from the helicopter landing zone to their base in a large American truck. They were tired and thirsty and the truck stopped outside the company kitchen, where, it was announced, cold drinks were inside. Without waiting for the tailgate to be lowered many of the men clambered over the high front and sides of the truck to get ahead in the queue. A grenade attached to Private Carroll's belt caught on the side and exploded, killing him instantly. Also killed were 37867 Private Michael Alwyn (Stoney) Bourke and American Private First Class D Pierson. Another Australian, 54320 Private Arie Van Valen died of his injuries on 29 June. A further nine Australians and two Americans were injured.

The bodies of the Australian dead were repatriated at the beginning of July. William Carroll was buried at the Warrnambool Cemetery in Victoria. He was 21 years old and left a young widow and infant son.