Lance Corporal David Douglas
avid Maihi Douglas. 530325. Lance Corporal. Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. Whisky Two Company. New Zealand Gazette Number 20 dated 2 April 1970. The late Corporal Douglas joined the Regular Force in May 1965. He saw service in Malaysia and Borneo in 1966-1967 and then in South Vietnam with Victor One Company. He returned to Vietnam as a section commander with Whisky Two Company for his second tour of duty in November 1968. On 23 February 1969, Corporal Douglas was commanding a section as part of a Whisky Company defended position. During the evening stand-to his section came under heavy small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Corporal Douglas was an early casualty, receiving a shrapnel wound to his right side. He refused treatment for his wound and, throughout the two hour engagement, he constantly forsook the safety of his own bunker to move amongst his section, encourage them, direct their fire and distribute ammunition. When the enemy withdrew they left behind six dead and evidence that they had suffered more casualties. On 22 June 1969, Corporal Douglas was leading his section along a track when they were engaged by a well-entrenched enemy using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. Finding his observation restricted, Corporal Douglas crawled forward alone to within 20 metres of the enemy bunkers and from this exposed position directed the fire of his section. An attempt by the enemy, estimated to be in company strength, to outflank the section was observed by Corporal Douglas and by redirecting his section’s fire the enemy attack was defeated. Corporal Douglas remained in his exposed position to adjust artillery fire on to the enemy bunkers nearest him so that his section, and the rest of the platoon which had come up in support, could be safely extracted. Under the cover of this artillery fire, and although hampered by painful burns to his shoulder and abdomen, Corporal Douglas withdrew his section in good order. On two occasions when painfully wounded Corporal Douglas continued to command his section with great skill and confidence. His bravery was an example to his men; his willingness to expose himself to danger ensured that casualties were kept to a minimum. As a result of the wounds he received on 22 June 1969, Corporal Douglas was evacuated from Vietnam and hospitalised for six weeks. His bravery, outstanding leadership and his skill as an infantry section leader reflect great credit to himself, his unit and the New Zealand Army. Corporal Douglas’s award is being received today by his widow Mrs Anne Douglas.