AUSTRALIAN COMMANDOS Hetherington, Ormond Thomas

John Robertson

Staff member
Ormond Thomas
  • UNIT
2/3 Independent Company
  • RANK
Military Medal
New Guinea 1943
DOW - see Roll of Honour



Military Medal : During operations in the MISSIM area on 20 May 43 Pte. HETHERINGTON displayed outstanding Courage and devotion to duty in exposing himself to heavy enemy fire in order to direct the fire of his VICKERS machine gun. The efficiency of his fire control caused the enemy heavy losses and prevented him from surrounding and destroying our force and forced him eventually to withdraw entirely from the area. Our force was situated on a knoll overlooking HOTE village and its approaches. In the evening of 19 May 43 a party of 150 enemy entered the village and at first light the next morning commenced an attack on our position. The VICKERS immediately engaged the enemy inflicting heavy casualties. However the enemy parties approached under cover of scrub and kunai to commanding positions on either flank and it became impossible to observe all targets from the gun position itself. Pte HETHERINGTON therefore moved to an observation post from which he could gain a full view of the area and proceeded to direct the fire from there. He located and silenced several enemy machine guns positions and, during the whole engagement his VICKERS accounted for 50 confirmed enemy casualties. The enemy was frustrated in his efforts completely to surround our position and the subsequent extrication of our force was effected without casualties. The complete withdrawal of the enemy from the area on 21 May 43 was as a result of the heavy losses inflicted by the VICKERS on the previous day. Our whole position during the engagement came under sustained fire from several enemy machine guns, many rifles and a heavy mortar. Standing at his observation post Pte HETHERINGTON was completely exposed to the view of the enemy positions and came directly under their heavy fire. However he continued at his post with the greatest coolness and utter disregard for his own safety until after two hours he received serious wounds in the head and buttock. It was impossible to evacuate Pte HETHERINGTON from the scene of the action until dark and it was not till the following morning that he reached the R.A.P. Throughout this very severe experience he showed the same indomitable courage which had achieved such notable success during the action.

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