Orders, Decorations & Medals - Aust. Groups
GEORGE MEDAL GROUP OF FIVE: George Medal (EIIR Tudor crown Br.Omn omitted); Vietnam Medal 1964-73; Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (EIIR Tudor crown Br.Omn omitted) with Australia suspender; Colonial Meritorious Service Medal (Commonwealth of Australia) (EIIR coinage bust Br.Omn omitted); South Vietnam Campaign Medal 1964-72, - clasp - 1960-. Staff Sgt. James R.Barber (310358) R.A.A.O.C. on first medal, 310358 J.R.Barber on second and fourth medals, 310538 (note error during naming process, should be 310358) J.R.Barber on third medal, J.R.Barber on last medal. First and last medals engraved, all other medals impressed. Court mounted, good very fine - extremely fine and rare.
Only 3 George Medals awarded for Vietnam.
Together with copies of various documents including telegrams from the Hon Gough Whitlam MP, at the time Leader of the Opposition, and the Hon. Phillip Lynch MP, Minister for the Army as well as other personal letters, one from Colonel K.S.McKenzie, Deputy Commander 1ATF in Vietnam; also copies of other official documents and newspaper cuttings reporting on the award of the George Medal
GM: LG 3/10/1969, p10115; CAG 2/10/1969, p5778.
Presented by the Governor-General at Government House on Friday 1st May 1970.
Citation: Staff Sergeant James Robert Barber enlisted in the Royal Australian Regular Army on 9th April, 1951 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. He arrived in South Vietnam on 10th September, 1968 as an Ammunition Technician and was responsible for the operation of the 1st Australian Task Force Ammunition Point at Nui Dat.
On 19th February, 1969 Staff Sergeant Barber was driving to the Ammunition Point when a bay of ammunition caught fire and exploded. A series of explosions followed which resulted in ammunition being scattered over a wide area and numerous fires being started. Staff Sergeant Barber despatched his driver and vehicle to raise the alarm while he proceeded on foot to ensure that all personnel at the Ammunition Point were safe. Having established this, he then surveyed the area to determine whether any other bays of ammunition were threatened. Although both high explosive and white phosphorous ammunition were still exploding and debris and unexploded ammunition falling around him he completed this hazardous task.
He then realized that the ammunition bay adjacent to the one burning was in danger of being ignited. This bay contained predominately white phosphorous ammunition and if it caught fire the remaining bays of ammunition would have been set off. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Staff Sergeant Barber moved up to the threatened ammunition bay as soon as the immediate fire had been subdued. He then calmly and efficiently inspected its contents and dragged clear a number of smouldering cases of ammunition. Throughout the entire operation he was in grave danger of ammunition in this and the adjacent bay exploding from the heat it had absorbed in the initial fire.
By his cool and courageous actions Staff Sergeant Barber prevented the fire spreading to the remaining twenty tons of ammunition stores in the Ammunition Point and so averted a major disaster. He was subsequently injured while destroying ammunition which had been damaged during the fire and explosions.
James Robert Barber, born 07Mar1930 at London, England; Enl.09Apr1951 in ARA; Staff Sergeant with RAAOC; served in Vietnam 10Sep1968-03Sep1969 with 25 Supply Platoon RAASC, 1st Australian Task Force; after returning to Australia and some well earned leave, was posted to 2nd Base Ordnance Depot, Moorebank; 10-11Jan1976 was one of two military experts called on by Interocean Swire to inspect their vessel, 'Straat Singapore', as the result of a bomb threat; Died Jun2014.
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GEORGE MEDAL GROUP OF FIVE: George Medal (EIIR Tudor crown Br.Omn omitted); Vietnam Medal 1964-73; ...