Death of a Scheyvillian – 2Lt Leonard Alexander Taylor, Class 1/66
3787987 Leonard Taylor was born on 16th August 1945 and was a trainee sales representative from Sydney. He was called up with the first intake in 1966 commencing Recruit Training on 2nd February. 16 days later he commenced his Officer Training at OTU. He graduated on 22nd July 1966 as Graduate 189 and was posted to 3 RAR. Len was due for discharge at the end of his 2 years on 1st February 1968, however, 3 RAR commenced its ‘Tour’ of Vietnam on 12th December and Len signed on for twelve months for the ‘Tour’. Len died from gunshot wounds on 8th February 1968 at Long Dien. He is buried in the Box Hill Cemetery in Melbourne. 3 RAR’s ‘Tour’ ended on 5th December 1968.
The following information came via 3791271 Brian McKenzie, a Nasho who continued serving after his NS and retired as a Major in the Army Reserve’s 2 RVR, having served as a Company Commander at the Shepparton barracks. Brian’s ‘Tour’ with 3 RAR was from 20th
December 1967 to 28th November 1968. For some time Brian was the President of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia.
The following records tell of the battle.
CONTACT AFTER ACTION REPORT NO. 1 PART 1, PL SGT 5 PL, B COY, 5 RAR
Operation: LONG DIEN, Sub- sector 8 Feb 68 Strength of Pl in contact – 1 Offr, 24 ORs Date/Duration: 081830H – 1920H Feb 68 Location: YS 434587
Pl Task: To secure the LEFT flank at YS 433587 while 4 Pl searched in the area YS 431589 with two sections up. Approximately 40 metres to the front a figure dressed in greens was seen to run across the road from RIGHT to LEFT. All sections were informed and the platoon commander (Len Taylor) ran forward with his signaler (Nasho Geoff Mathews). Both forward sections were then engaged by heavy automatic fire from the front. This fire was immediately returned and voices were then heard calling ‘UC DA LOI, Don’t shoot, Don’t shoot, ARVN.’ The platoon stopped momentarily and the platoon commander stood up and was shot through the leg. At the same time 15 VC moved across the road from LEFT to RIGHT and deployed in front of the RIGHT forward section. This group of enemy was engaged. The rear section had deployed facing outwards on the LEFT flank and further VC were heard close to their location. The platoon was now under fire from front and two flanks. The RIGHT forward section commander advised the platoon commander that two of his section were wounded and was ordered to pull back. The LEFT forward section were then ordered to pull back and in doing so received three casualties.
At this time the platoon commander was killed and his signaller seriously shot through the head. Both the LEFT forward section and the rear section pulled back and deployed in rear of a large house. The RIGHT forward sections withdrew and met up with 6 platoon who had closed up in rear. The wounded were then treated and shortly afterwards the Company Commander and 4 Pl arrived.