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Peter Alexander Bysouth DFC

161 (Indep) Recce Flt 26 Aug 69 - 27 Aug 70

  Second Lieutenant Peter Alexander Bysouth graduated from the Officer Training Unit on 14 July 1967 to undergo helicopter training at 1st Aviation Regiment. He arrived in South Vietnam on 27 August 1969 on appointment as a Rotary Wing Pilot in the 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight.

In the early hours of 12 August 1970 an element of 8th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, ambushed an enemy resupply party in the vicinity of Hoa Long village. Heavy losses were inflicted on the enemy but an unknown number escaped into the nearby countryside. Using the light of illuminating flares dropped from another unit aircraft Second Lieutenant Bysouth flew into and searched the area at low level in an effort to locate the escaping enemy and to guide ground troops to the enemy locations.

Approximately three hundred metres from the ambush point he located two enemy hiding in a clump of bushes. To ensure the enemy did not escape Second Lieutenant Bysouth hovered his aircraft in such a way that the enemy were continuously in the beam of his landing light whilst he guided armoured personnel carriers by radio into the area. As the vehicles approached one enemy broke from cover and ran across the paddy field. Second Lieutenant Bysouth followed and illuminated him with the result that the enemy soldier was killed by fire from the armoured vehicles.

Second Lieutenant Bysouth then returned to the clump of bushes and illuminated the enemy with his aircraft landing light. When the armoured personnel carriers arrived six enemy emerged from cover and surrendered. Second Lieutenant Bysouth continued searching the area until just before dawn when he was relieved by another aircraft.

During the late morning of the same day Second Lieutenant Bysouth was flying a Sioux helicopter on a low level visual reconnaissance mission over the Long Hai mountains in support of the 7th Battalion., The Royal Australian Regiment. While observing at low speed and from tree top height the aircraft was subjected to automatic small arms fire and it was evident that the aircraft had been hit in several places. Using minimum power, Second Lieutenant Bysouth flew his aircraft to the nearest secure fire support base, where, despite an increasing difficulty in controlling the aircraft, he completed a successful low speed running landing. Subsequent inspection of the aircraft revealed extensive damage to major components of the aircraft and to critical control lines.

Throughout this day Second Lieutenant Bysouth displayed the skill, courage and determination which were at all times evident in the one thousand hours of dedicated flying support he provided ground forces during his twelve month tour. Second Lieutenant Bysouth proved an inspiration to fellow Army Aviators and has brought great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for " Honours & Awards" dated 08 February 1971.

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