The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (14208) Sergeant Ronald Thomas Carroll, 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.36
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 5 February 2017
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Michael Kelly , the story for this day was on (14208) Sergeant Ronald Thomas Carroll, 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam.

Speech transcript

14208 Sergeant Ronald Thomas Carroll, 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
KIA 4 August 1968
Photograph: P01499.034

Story delivered 5 February 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Ronald Carroll.

Ronald Thomas Carroll was born on 17 December 1936 in Moree, New South Wales, to Thomas and Edna Carroll. The family moved to Grafton when Carroll was a young boy and he attended the local school before becoming an apprentice painter and signwriter.

Carroll wanted to make more of his life, so on 25 June 1956, aged 19, he enlisted in the Australian Regular Army for a six-year term. Following basic training he was posted to the Ordnance Corps and became a storeman.

Again wanting to do more, Carroll requested a transfer to infantry. After training as a rifleman, he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, on 11 July 1957. The following month he was detached for duty with 3RAR.

In October Carroll was posted to Western Australia to attend a basic parachuting course. He passed the course and joined 1 Special Air Service Company. He was sent on more courses in 1958, including his subject courses for corporal in June, followed by a promotion to temporary corporal in July.

While posted to the SAS in Perth he met Jennifer Ward-Hughes, and the two began a relationship. They married on 2 April 1960 in Geraldton, and in the following years had three sons and two daughters.

Carrol was posted as an instructor to Kapooka in January 1960 and successfully completed his subjects for promotion to sergeant. He returned to 3RAR in May 1962 and the following month re-enlisted for a second six-year term.

The battalion deployed to Malaysia in August 1963. Carroll’s family was able to travel with him and was allotted married quarters. Over the next two years the battalion was involved in the Indonesian Confrontation and patrolled into Indonesian territory, at times clashing with Indonesian regular forces. Carroll was made acting sergeant on several occasions during the deployment.

The battalion returned to South Australia in 1965. On New Year’s Day 1967 Carroll was made a sergeant. That year 3RAR was trained for service in Vietnam and the battalion was brought up to strength with national servicemen. It embarked aboard HMAS Sydney on 16 December 1967, arriving in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

In June 1968, with his service about to expire, Carroll re-enlisted for a three-year term. Next month 1RAR and 3RAR were deployed on Operation Platypus in the Hat Dich area, the objective of which was to disrupt enemy operations, particularly those of D445 Battalion. On 4 August 3RAR located an enemy base camp. Following a preparatory artillery strike, D Company moved to assault the camp. During the advance, Carroll, who was directing the right–hand section of 10 Platoon into fire positions, was shot in the chest. The round punctured one of his lungs. Despite all efforts, he died of his wounds not long afterwards. He was 31 years old.

His remains were initially laid to rest in Terendak War Cemetery, Malaysia. In June 2016 the remains of 33 Australians buried in Terendak were repatriated to Australia. Sergeant Carroll was laid to rest in the Perth War Cemetery with full military honours.

Ronald Carroll’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among the more than 500 others who died as a result of their service in Vietnam. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Ronald Thomas Carroll, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (14208) Sergeant Ronald Thomas Carroll, 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam. (video)