The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (218041) Private Beresford Paul Edwards, 9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.187
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 6 July 2021
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (218041) Private Beresford Paul Edwards, 9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

218041 Private Beresford Paul Edwards, 9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment
KIA: 12 July 1969

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Beresford Paul Edwards.

Beresford Paul Edwards, of the Wiradjuri Nation, was born on 13 January 1946 in Wellington, New South Wales, to Lionel George Edwards and Ella Ethel née Forrest.

He was raised by his paternal grandparents, George and Clara Edwards, and grew up in the Blacktown area. He enjoyed rugby league, cricket and swimming. Edwards attended Arthur Phillip High School where he attained his intermediate school certificate in 1960.

After leaving school, he went to work as a clerk, initially for his grandfather and later for McNamara Industries. During this time he met Paula Dugar and they began a relationship.

Seeking greater opportunities, Edwards joined the Australian Regular Army on 30 November 1967, signing on for six years. He successfully completed recruit training in March 1968 and infantry training in June. Beresford was then posted to the Royal Australian Regiment reinforcement wing.

He next attended a battle efficiency course at Jungle Training Centre, Canungra, followed by a basic pioneer course at Ingleburn where he qualified as an assault pioneer in mid-August.

With his deployment to South Vietnam imminent, Edwards proposed to Paula, who accepted.

On 2 September Edwards, along with other reinforcements, flew out of Sydney bound for South Vietnam. He was initially posted to 1 Australian Reinforcement Unit before joining the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, as an assault pioneer at the end of the month.

He was immediately on operations as 1RAR deployed on Operation Windsor, a reconnaissance-in-force operation in the north-west of Phuoc Tuy Province. Edwards spent much of the ensuing months on operations.

After receiving news of Paula’s pregnancy in November, Edwards applied for and was granted emergency leave to return to Australia to marry his fiancée. He returned to Australia in December and married Paula. His time at home was only brief and he was soon back in South Vietnam.

When 1RAR returned to Australia in February 1969 Edwards was posted to Headquarters, 1st Australian Task Force.

On 11 May 1969 Edwards flew out of Saigon for rest and recreation leave in Australia. He arrived in Sydney and spent the next week with Paula. Edwards returned to South Vietnam on 21 May and was posted to the 9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment.

When he arrived at the battalion, Edwards was assigned to 5 Section, 11 Platoon, D Company. The section was led by Corporal Bruno Adamczyk, an experienced soldier with previous service in Borneo.

On 29 June 9RAR was deployed by road and air on Operation Matthew, a reconnaissance-in-force operation. The operational area was east of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation. On 12 July, 11 Platoon, 9RAR was patrolling in the centre of its area of operations when near midday a bunker system was located.

Adamcyzk took Edwards and scouted forward to the first enemy bunker. When Adamcyzk threw a grenade into the bunker, the Viet Cong – who were lying in wait – opened fire from nearby positions with automatic rifles and an M-79 grenade launcher. Both Edwards and Adamcyzk were killed immediately.

The other members of 11 Platoon fought forward to the bunker system. During the contact, the platoon commander called in mortars, artillery and helicopter gunships to harass the Viet Cong, but when the Australians reached the bunkers, the enemy had gone. They were left with the sad task of recovering the bodies of their mates.

Edwards’s body was returned to Australi, and on the 25th of July was laid to rest with full military honours in St Marys Cemetery. He was 23 years old.

Edwards’ name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with more than 500 others from the Vietnam War.

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

The Memorial acknowledges the research compiled by Sandra (Merinda) Smith in conjunction with Edwards’s family in assisting to write this story.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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