Noel Crouch

Noel Valentine Crouch

Noel Crouch was born in Katanning on 23 September, 1947, the youngest son of Valentine Severn Crouch and May Crouch and brother to Dorothy, James and Valerie. He served his country in Vietnam where he was killed in action on 21 May, 1970. He left behind his new bride, Olive (nee Landers).

noel crouch
Private Noel Valentine Crouch

Noel Crouch

Rank                                      Private
Unit                                       7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Service                                  Australian Army
Conflict/Operation              Vietnam, 1962-1975
Date of Death                      21 May 1970, aged 22
Place of Death                     South Vietnam, Vietnam
Cause of Fate                       Killed in action
Buried                                   Katanning Cemetery
Medals                                 AASM / Vietnam Campaign Medal / ADM / ANSM / South Vietnam Star

5716239 – Private Noel Valentine Crouch was born in Katanning, West Australia, on the 23rd September 1947. He was a 14th intake National Serviceman.

Private Noel Crouch ‘marched in’ to 7RAR’s Finschhafen Lines at Holsworthy around mid January of 1969. Fresh from Christmas leave which had followed recruit training he was about to commence Corps training within 7RAR, followed by specialty training and training exercises, Canungra and then overseas service in Vietnam. He served in Vietnam with the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, from the 16th February 1970 until his death on the 21st May 1970.
“We were lucky people as we were all in some way wounded, some seriously. In many respects we were extra lucky, as when we assaulted the position we were confronted by bunkers which we didn’t use for cover for some reason, because of a sixth sense. I have since reasoned that we didn’t use them because they were unoccupied by the VC. We found later that these bunkers were rigged with trip wires and instantaneous grenades”.

The Australian force withdrew to evacuate its casualties. As this was occurring, 3 platoon and A Company Headquarters, led by Major Chris Thomson, were moved by armoured personnel carriers from the Horseshoe to the contact area. When they arrived, Major Thomson called for helicopter gunship support.

Three Australian Bushranger helicopters pinned down the estimated 50 man Viet Cong force in bunkers within 100m of the company until the A Company group re–assaulted the position. During the battle the Hoi Chanh shouted out to his mates in the bunkers, waited for them to appear and very happily blazed away at them. The entire position was secured by 1600 hours. The enemy casualties were five killed and three prisoners of war. A large quantity of food, documents and stores were captured.

A Company suffered one soldier, Private Noel Crouch, killed in action. When Corporal Powell saw that Private Crouch had been killed, in a retaliatory act of bravery, he charged the bunkers and was wounded himself. There were twelve Australian soldiers wounded in this action.

Information from Find a Grave Memorial

noel crouch     noel crouch     noel crouch

noel crouch7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Battalion nick-name        The Pigs; Porky’s People; The Pig Battalion
Battalion march                 Australaise (for brass band) and Cock ‘o the North
Current home                    Now part of 5/7 RAR (Mechanised) in Darwin
Mascot                                 A pig (unofficial and never on parade)

noel crouch
Photo taken in 1967 and supplied by Wal Lotocki 10 Platoon Delta Company 7RAR

7 RAR was formed at Puckapunyal, Victoria on 1 September, 1965 as a part of the Australian Army’s build up for the Vietnam War. The Battalion subsequently served twice in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. The first tour was from April 1967 and the second from February 1970. Both tours lasted approximately 12 months and during this time 7RAR was deployed on 48 operations. 7 RAR was eventually linked with 5/7 RAR in December 1973. The colours and traditions are maintained by 5/7RAR in Darwin.

Approximately 2,400 men served with the Seventh. Of these thirty three were killed and 220 were recorded as being wounded.

The nick name of the Battalion; “The Pigs” is one that Diggers loved or hated. These days after some 35 years being called a PIG by other members of the Regiment, most have got used to it. Here is the story of how it started taken directly from the pages of 7RAR Association’s book Conscripts & Regulars, with kind permission of its writer; Brigadier Mike O’Brien who was with the Battalion in 1970-71, as a Platoon Commander and Intelligence Officer. Still a Serving Officer when this was written, Brigadier O’Brien was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 1992.

Corporal Roy ‘Doc’ Savage gave this explanation of the pig origin: The single men of 3RAR were sent to Puckapunyal (Victoria) to form a new Battalion, 7RAR. I arrived there on 11th November 1965. At first there were only regular soldiers. We used to keep the boozer open all weekend having the cooks bring our meals there. Anyway, on my second week there the new CO (Lieutenant Colonel Eric Smith) decided to inspect his Battalion area on a Sunday. He immediately closed the boozer. The next day he called a muster parade of the whole Battalion and commenced to tell us what he thought of us. Half way through his speech he said and I quote. “You are nothing but a mob of Pigs”.
Then from the back rank someone called out “oink, oink”. From that time onwards we became the “Pig Battalion”.

Secondly, the matter of whether Porky went on parade or not is interesting as well.  I recall that when we linked with 5 RAR our transport Sgt went to a lot of trouble to find a pig that would match Quintus in size. He found a monster down Campbelltown way and on the linking parade Quintas, in a cage, was at the exit of the parade ground and Porky, likewise in a cage, was at the entrance to the parade ground (near the Sergeants Mess) I recall as we marched off, Quintas got frightened by the pipes and drums (if a Bengal tiger is frightened by anything) and he let out a mighty roar. Woman and kids, in the viewing stands alongside his cage, screamed and ran in all directions.
Kev Gillett

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Information sourced from various sites including:
Australian Wall of Faces
RSL Virtual War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Digger History

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