5 RAR – South Vietnam – 24th February 1967
Lt. John Carruthers A career officer who enlisted in April 1960.
On February 21, 1967 Lt. Carruthers was Platoon Commander 4 Platoon B Company, when his leading Armoured Personnel Carrier detonated a massive land mine. The carriers went into counter ambush positions and Lt Carruthers dismounted. A ‘Jumping Jack’ mine was tripped nearby critically wounding Lt. Carruthers and the OC of B Company Major McQualter.
Lt. Carruthers died at 36th Evacuation Hospital Vung Tau on February 24, 1967.
Citation – Mentioned in Dispatches
On the morning of 20 July 1966, 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment was establishing a Battalion size cordon around the village of Duc My in the Province of Phuoc Tuy South Vietnam. B Company was moving the final two hundred metres to complete the cordon on the east side of the village by linking up with other rifle companies on its flank. B Company was being led into position by Lieutenant Carruthers who had previously conducted a night reconnaissance of the area. At 0555 hours Lieutenant Carruthers sighted two Viet Cong moving on a track into the centre of the village. Lieutenant Carruthers did not open fire at that time as he knew that the cordon was not completely in position and any noise would alert the Viet Cong and give them an opportunity to escape. A few minutes later three Viet Cong one of whom was armed moved towards Lieutenant Carruthers who in the semi darkness personally and silently captured them and disarmed the one with the weapon. A few minutes later as the cordon was closed three armed Viet Cong were seen by Lieutenant Carruthers’ Platoon, two were wounded and captured and the other killed. The actions and courage of Lieutenant Carruthers enabled the cordon of the village to be closed successfully before the Viet Cong were aware of its presence. His leadership and courage were of a very high order and an inspiration to his platoon.
Further information is available here:
- Australian War memorial – Lieutenant John Carruthers | Australian War Memorial (awm.gov.au)
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs – DVA’s Nominal Rolls
- Virtual War Memorial Australia – Virtual War Memorial | John (Jack) CARRUTHERS MID (vwma.org.au)
- 5RAR Association – Lt. John Carruthers 5RAR Died of Wounds