161 Battery – South Vietnam – 14th February 1967
Peter Williams entered the Officer Cadet School in January 1961 and graduated December the same year. He graduated to the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
Peter was serving with 161 Battery and was a last minute replacement for C Company’s forward observer. He was killed on the morning of 14 February 1967, by an M26 grenade booby trap at Xa An Nhut, Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam during preparations for Operation Beaumaris, (a cordon-and-search operation of the village of An Nhut).
The effect of the explosion was devastating and particularly tragic as it killed three of C Company’s officers and wounded another three men. The Officer Commanding (Major D. Bourne) along with his 2IC (Captain R. Milligan) were also killed in the incident. Williams and Milligan were the same class while Don Bourne was a graduate of the first class (June 1952).
This battle-damaged M16A1 automatic rifle belonged to Captain Peter Williams, 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA). The rifle was damaged when Williams was hit and killed by a mine/booby-trap on 14 February 1967, while acting as Artillery Forward Observer with 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) in Vietnam.
The rifle was returned to the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) headquarters at Nui Dat and sent back to New Zealand with Williams’ personal belongings. It is currently on display at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.
For further information see:
- Vietnam War – Memories of New Zealand – Capt Peter Williams | VietnamWar.govt.nz, New Zealand and the Vietnam War
- Tragedy at An Nhut – Microsoft Word – Document1 (cgtownsend.id.au)
- New Zealand History – Battle damaged M16 automatic rifle | NZHistory, New Zealand history online
- Coleen Brooker and Paul O’Connor – Vietnam War – Colleen Brooker & Paul O’Connor | VietnamWar.govt.nz, New Zealand and the Vietnam War
- 5RAR Association Newsletter p3 – 41 TT Mag Dec – 2015.pub (5rar.asn.au)
- 5RAR Tiger Tales p 10 – 04 Tiger Tales Magazine – August 2003 (Read-Only) (5rar.asn.au)