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William Bevil Flanagan DFC

Attached to 161 (Indep) Recce Flt from 19 Mar 69 until Mar 70

  Captain William Bevil Flanagan enlisted in the New Zealand Army on 29 January 1962. After attendance at the Australian Officer Cadet School he was commissioned on 15 June 1963, and subsequently qualified as an Army Pilot. He arrived in South Vietnam on 19 March 1969.

On 16 November 1969, Captain Flanagan located an occupied enemy bunker system. Except when relieved briefly on one occasion to refuel his aircraft, he maintained for a period of six hours a continuous and close surveillance of the enemy whilst being continually engaged by fire. Flying at tree-top height he skilfully manoeuvred his aircraft, accurately adjusting artillery onto the bunkers. In addition, he controlled three airstrikes onto the position, By his flying skill and complete disregard for his own safety he was able to continue to bring fire to bear onto the bunkers until all enemy opposition ceased.

On the night of 3 December 1969, after one of his unit aircraft had been shot down by enemy ground fire, Captain Flanagan volunteered to search for survivors. With aerial flares to provide illumination he located the crashed aircraft. He then hovered his helicopter only feet above the ground in an area known to be occupied by the enemy until he was able to locate and establish the fate of the missing crew members.

On each occasion Captain Flanagan displayed a high degree of flying skill, determination and courage. His complete disregard for his own safety was an inspiration to the members of his unit.

* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for " Honours & Awards" dated 01 May 1970.

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