Captain Peter Williams was carrying this rifle on February 14, 1967 in Vietnam when he was killed by an enemy landmine. The devastating forces involved with the anti-personnel booby trap that took Capt. Williams life is apparent in his damaged long arm that was also peppered with shrapnel.
Captain Williams was scheduled to return home after his tour of duty when he was asked to supplement one last mission to search a Viet Cong controlled area. During a briefing, Williams and another officer were killed and three other’s wounded in the blast.
I’m at a loss for further words. Rest In Peace, Captain Williams.
From the Australian War Memorial:
An Nhut, Vietnam. One of the casualties of a mine explosion being evacuated to Vung Tau by a 9 Squadron Iroquois UH-1B helicopter (A2-1019). Between 13-14 February 1967 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) were conducting a cordon-and-search (Operation Beaumaris) of An Nhut, a small village between Long Dien and Dat Do, when a mine detonated at C Company’s headquarters during a briefing of C Company officers and senior non-commissioned officers. Five of the group were wounded and three officers were killed; Major Donald Bourne, the Company Commander, Captain (Capt) Robert Milligan, second in command and the New Zealand artillery forward observer, Capt Peter Williams of 161 Field Battery. The explosion was thought to have been caused by an unrecorded ARVN booby trap left behind when old barbed wire barriers were removed from around the village. Identified from left to right: 212969 Sergeant Ralph Hindmarsh, 8 Pl, C Coy, 5RAR; 47046 Lieutenant George Roger Wainwright, Officer Commanding 8 Pl, C Coy, 5RAR; unidentified (on stretcher); unidentified; unidentified; unidentified RAAF crewman; Captain Anthony (Tony) White, Regimental Medical Officer, 5RAR.
From New Zealand History:
This battle-damaged M16A1 automatic rifle belonged to Captain Peter Williams, 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA). The rifle was damaged when Williams was hit and killed by a mine/booby-trap on 14 February 1967, while acting as Artillery Forward Observer with 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) in Vietnam.
The rifle was returned to the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) headquarters at Nui Dat and sent back to New Zealand with Williams’ personal belongings. It is currently on display at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.
From the Auckland Museum Cenotaph: