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WOOD, George Cameron

WOOD, George Cameron

George Cameron Wood was born on 22 September 1948 at Port Fairy, the son of Reverend L. George Wood. He was educated at Geelong College from 15 February 1962 to December 1966 and had previously attended Rupanyup State School. At College, he was a member of the Library Committee of 1964, the PFA Committee of 1965, the Swimming Committee of 1965-66, and a member of the Swimming Team of 1965-66.

During the Vietnam War, he was called up for National Service and served (No. 3798253) as a Trooper in South Vietnam. He was with B Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps, and latterly with A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment. He arrived in South Vietnam on 11 November 1970 and served with 3 Troop.

He was involved in 'Operation Overlord', when on 12 June 1971, in the vicinity of the Courtenay rubber plantation in northern Phuoc Tuy Province, an armoured personnel carrier (APC), Callsign 84B, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) on its Claymore mine basket. The resulting explosion cost seven Australian lives - those of the two crew of 84B, and of five members of D&E Platoon, HQ 1ATF. George' s 3 Troop was called in to secure the site after the Viet Cong ambush. Later that day, 3 Troop was heavily involved in a further ambush by the Viet Cong. In this conflict, Trooper Danny Handley was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ when his APC was hit by an RPG, and he had to leave the driver's hatch to remove his injured crew commander from his turret, attend to his wounds, and restore the guns to an operational state. This award was later reviewed under the 'End of War List', and Handley was awarded the Medal of Gallantry, the equivalent of the Military Medal.

George Wood was lightly wounded that afternoon when the radio aerial on his carrier was struck by small arms fire, and he was hit by shrapnel. The radio aerial base is now in the possession of George's hometown Bendigo RSL Club. George returned to Australia on 20 October 1971 on a Hercules aircraft from Vung Tau to Darwin and then Sydney, when his National Service intake were withdrawn at the completion of their service.

During his National Service, he was an Inter-Services Representative in swimming, having gained his Swimming Colours at Geelong College.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs lists him with Vietnam Service (National Service) as a Trooper with the Royal Australian Armoured Corps from 10 November 1970 to 20 October 1971 with the following detail:
B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment 10/11/1970 - 18/11/1970
Detachment, 1st Forward Delivery Troop 19/11/1970 - 06/12/1970
B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment 07/12/1970 - 06/01/1971
A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment 07/01/1971 - 20/10/1971

His brother, Peter Wood was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Nominal Roll); ‘Directory of Old Collegians of The Geelong College 1996’ p184; ‘Geelong Collegians at the Second World War and Subsequent Conflicts’ compiled by J. Affleck p574 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; Wood Family). OGC 1963.
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