Biography

Birth date: 13 March 1937
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Death date: 13 November 1965
Death place: Vietnam: Quang Ngai Province, Tra Bong
Final rank: Warrant Officer Class 2
Service number: 29890 - Vietnam, 1962-1975
Unit: Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Kevin "Dasher" Wheatley was born in Sydney, and had several jobs before joining the Australian Regular Army in 1956. He served in different battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, including time in Malaya, before being posted to Vietnam in 1965. A short and stocky man, he had become known as "Dasher" for his rugby skills.

On 13 November 1965 Wheatley and Warrant Officer Ronald Swanton, were operating in the Tra Bong valley. Their platoon came under heavy fire and Swanton was shot. Although he knew his mate was dying, Wheatley refused to leave him. Again urged to withdraw, Wheatley would not. Instead, he pulled the pins from two grenades and waited for the enemy. Two explosions were heard, followed by bursts of fire; both men were killed. Wheatley's refusal to leave a mate was seen to be in the highest traditions of gallantry. His body was returned to Australia for burial.

Wheatley was awarded the Victoria Cross, the General Service Medal (for Malaya), service medals for the Vietnam War, the United States Silver Star, and South Vietnamese awards.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Sergeant (Temporary Warrant Officer Class 2)
  • Date of Death: 13 November 1965
  • Unit: Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: Australian Army Training Team Vietnam
  • Conflict: Vietnam, 1962-1975

Collection Items

Photograph

044437

W.O. II KEVIN ARTHUR "DASHER" WHEATLEY WHO WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS.

044437

044438

W.O. II KEVIN ARTHUR "DASHER" WHEATLEY WHO WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS.

044438

081392

WARRANT OFFICER 2 KEVIN ARTHUR "DASHER" WHEATLEY, AUSTRALIAN ARMY TRAINING TEAM VIETNAM (AATTV) WHO WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR AN ACTION ON 1965-11-13. COPIED FROM GROUP PHOTOGRAPH SHA/65/0092/VN. THIS IMAGE IS ALSO HELD AS SHA/65/0092A/VN.

081392

A05546

Warrant Officer Class II, (WO2), Kevin (Dasher) Arthur Wheatley VC, a member of the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam, (AATTV) standing on the roadside near Saigon. WO2 Wheatley was awarded a Victoria Cross (VC) posthumously for action against the Viet Cong. He moved a wounded soldier, WO2 R....

A05546

BEL/69/0833/VN

Exterior view of the Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium under construction at 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG). The Gymnasium is being built with funds mainly provided by the Sportsmen's Appeal for Australian Forces in Vietnam. Named after the first Vietnam Victoria Cross winner it will provide...

BEL/69/0833/VN

BEL/69/0834/VN

Exterior view of the partially constructed Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium at 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG), showing the tennis courts. The gymnasium is being built with funds provided mainly by the Sportsmen's Appeal for Australian Forces in Vietnam. It is named after the first Vietnam...

BEL/69/0834/VN

BEL/69/0835/VN

Exterior view of the partially constructed Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium at Back Beach, 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG). At left is the Peter Badcoe Club. Both buildings are named after winners of the Vietnam Victoria Cross.

BEL/69/0835/VN

BEL/69/0836/VN

Exterior view from the beach side of the partially constructed Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium at 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG). The gymnasium is being built with funds provided mainly by the Sportsmen's Appeal for Australian Forces in Vietnam. It is named after the first Vietnam Victoria...

BEL/69/0836/VN

BEL/69/0837/VN

Exterior view (looking towards Back Beach) of the partially constructed Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium at 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG). The gymnasium is being built with funds provided mainly by the Sportsmen's Appeal for Australian Forces and will provide many sporting facilities for...

BEL/69/0837/VN

CRO/67/0189/HQ

The family of the late Warrant Officer (WO) Kevin Wheatley arrives in Canberra to attend the investiture ceremony at Government House where WO Wheatley's son George received the Victoria Cross on behalf of his late father. From the Canberra airport the family left for the War Memorial.

CRO/67/0189/HQ

CRO/67/0200/HQ

The Governor General Lord Casey with George Wheatley, the son of the late Warrant Officer (WO) Kevin Wheatley, at Government House where he presented the Victoria Cross to twelve year old George. WO Wheatley was killed in action in Vietnam.

CRO/67/0200/HQ

FAI/70/0109/VN

The Commander of the 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1ALSG), Colonel M. B. Simkin of Red Hill, ACT, addresses soldiers of his unit in the Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium. The gymnasium was opened earlier that night by the Commander of the Australian Force Vietnam (COMAFV), Major General R. A. Hay...

FAI/70/0109/VN

FAI/70/0110/VN

Two of Australia's top soldiers (wheels) sitting in the audience enjoying the lighter side of war at a concert party in the newly opened Kevin Wheatley Gymnasium. The Commander of the Australian Force Vietnam (COMAFV), Major General (Maj Gen) R. A. Hay of Red Hill, ACT (right) and next to him the...

FAI/70/0110/VN

P00963.056

QUANG TRI, SOUTH VIETNAM. 1965. WARRANT OFFICER 2 KEVIN A. (DASHER) WHEATLEY. HE WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS (VC) FOR HEROISM IN AN ACTION ON 1965-11-13. (DONOR: AUSTRALIAN ARMY TRAINING TEAM VIETNAM (AATTV) ASSOCIATION)

P00963.056

P00963.057

QUANG TRI, SOUTH VIETNAM. 1965. WARRANT OFFICER 2 K.A. "DASHER" WHEATLEY (LEFT) AND WO2 L.J. DOWSETT WITH MONTAGNARD TRIBESMEN. WO2 R. J. SWANTON AND CAPTAIN ALLAN (A. S.) HINDS, VISITING AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER, ARE IN THE BACKGROUND. ON 1965-11-13 WHEATLEY AND SWANTON WERE ON PATROL...

P00963.057

P01011.042

TRA BONG, VIETNAM. 1965-11. GROUP PORTRAIT OF `A' TEAM, SPECIAL FORCES. LEFT TO RIGHT: BACK ROW: 13006 WARRANT OFFICER GEOFFREY JAMES SCOTT, AUSTRALIAN ARMY TRAINING TEAM VIETNAM (AATTV), SECOND LIEUTENANT BUSSEY (USSF), WARRANT OFFICER WHEATLEY (AATTV), WARRANT OFFICER PALMER (AATTV), STAFF...

P01011.042

SHA/65/0092/VN

AT AUSTRALIA HOUSE DOAN THI CUC, A 30-YEAR-OLD "BILLET MOTHER" AND ABOUT AS BIG AS AN AUSTRALIAN 12-YEAR-OLD, CHECKS A LOOSE BUTTON ON THE SHIRT OF WOII BRUCE FREDERICK DAVIS, WHILE LOOKING ON FROM THE LEFT ARE WOII KEVIN ARTHUR "DASHER" WHEATLEY AND WOII WILLIAM SWAN DICKEY. PORTRAIT OF WO...

SHA/65/0092/VN

SHA/65/0092A/VN

Portrait of Warrant Officer Class 2 Kevin Arthur 'Dasher' Wheatley, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for an action on 13 November 1965. Copied from a group portrait at SHA/65/0092/VN. This image is also held as 081392.

SHA/65/0092A/VN

SHA/65/0248/VN

PALLBEARERS CARRY A COFFIN DRAPED WITH THE AUSTRALIAN FLAG TOWARDS TAN SON NHUT CHAPEL FOR A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR WARRANT OFFICER 2 KEVIN ARTHUR (DASHER) WHEATLEY AND WARRANT OFFICER 2 R. J. (BUTCH) SWANTON.

SHA/65/0248/VN

SHA/65/0258/VN

PALL BEARERS STAND NEAR THE COFFINS DRAPED WITH THE AUSTRALIAN FLAG DURING THE FUNERAL SERVICE AT TAN SON NHUT CHAPEL FOR WARRANT OFFICER 2 KEVIN ARTHUR (DASHER) WHEATLEY AND WARRANT OFFICER 2 R. J. (BUTCH) SWANTON. THE THEATRE IS BEING USED AS A CHAPEL.

SHA/65/0258/VN

Film

For valour

This kinescope recording of the 'For valour' television documentary on the four Victoria Cross (VC) recipients from the Vietnam war. The documentary tells the story of the actions for which Major Peter Badcoe, Warrant Officer (WO) Kevin Wheatley, WO Keith Payne and WO Ray Simpson were awarded the...

F04628

Wheatley Victoria Cross presentation to the AWM DPR/TV/593

The wife, mother, sister and children of the late Warrant Officer Kevin Wheatley arrived in Canberra this morning to attend an investiture at Government house, and watch 12 year old George Arthur Wheatley receive the Victoria Cross, posthumously awarded to his father who was killed in Vietnam. At...

F03858

Heraldry

Victoria Cross : Warrant Officer Second Class K A Wheatley, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details and reverse cross with date of action.

REL05125.001

General Service Medal 1918-62, with clasp MALAYA : Warrant Officer 2 K A Wheatley, 3 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

General Service Medal 1918-62 (EIIR) with MALAYA clasp. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL05125.002

Vietnam Medal : Warrant Officer 2 K A Wheatley, AATTV

Vietnam Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL05125.003

National Order of the Republic of Vietnam, Knight's Badge (5th Class) : Warrant Officer 2 K A Wheatley, AATTV

National Order of the Republic of Vietnam, Knight's Badge (5th Class). Unnamed as issued.

REL05125.005

Bas Relief Sculpture of WO2 Kevin Wheatley, VC : Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Bronze bas relief of the upper torso of Kevin Arthur 'Dasher' Wheatley surmounting a separate bronze commemorative plaque, both attached to the same wooden backboard. The bas relief measures 386 high x 300mm wide x 26mm at its maximum thickness. The commemorative plaque measures 325mm high x 430mm...

RELAWM40873

Technology

Colt Model M1911A1 Pistol : Warrant Officer Class II K A Wheatley, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Colt Model M1911A1 semi automatic pistol. The top slide is commercially marked with 'GOVERNMENT MODEL COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBER .45' and the horse trade mark on the left. The right side has 'COLT'S MFG. HARTFORD CT USA'. There is no serial number on the slide or inspectors' marks apart from a plain...

RELAWM40825

Sound

Three 'Turn of the Century' ABC Radio Programs featuring Dr Peter Stanley discussing aspects of Australia's military involvement in war and peacekeeping throughout the 1900s

PROGRAM 1: Dr Stanley discuses attitudes to war and Australia's committment to war; Australian's went to the Boer War (South Africa) with idea that war was romantic and adventurous but during the century there was a changing view of war; men went to the Great War initially with enthusiasm but the...

S02107

Timeline

Date of birth 1937-03-13 Sydney, NSW.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1956-07
Other units 1956-09 Posted to 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR).
Other 1957 - 1959 Served in Malaya.
Other units 1957-03 Transferred to 3rd Battalion RAR.
Other units 1959-08 Transferred to 2nd Battalion RAR.
Other units 1961-06 Transferred to 1st Battalion RAR.
Other 1965-03-13 - 1965-11-13 Tour of duty, Vietnam.
Other units 1965-03-16 - 1965-11-13 Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam (AATTV).
Date of death 1965-11-13 Tra Bong Valley, South Vietnam.
Date of honour or award 1965-11-13 Awarded Victoria Cross, for action at Tra Bong Valley, Quang Ngai province, Vietnam whilst serving with Australian Army Training Team as a Warrant Officer Class II.