STAFFORD, J. H., Private ( 5/400007 ),
3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 1950
Private Stafford, a 3 RAR soldier, distinguished himself by gallantry in action against the enemy north of the Chongchon River in Korea on 29 October 1950. During a company action which ultimately cleared the main axis of advance for the US 24th Infantry Division to which his unit was attached, Private Stafford displayed such individual courage and initiative that he made it possible for his platoon to secure its objective. During the platoon's advance towards the objective, intense enemy small arms fire halted the platoon and pinned it down. Private Stafford's section was ordered to advance but again encountered intense enemy fire which resulted in several casualties. With complete disregard for his own safety and in spite of the enemy fire which continued to sweep the area, Private Stafford moved alone around the right flank and destroyed an enemy light machine-gun position. In doing so he exposed himself to fresh enemy fire from the main enemy position. Although he could not advance further in the face of this fire, Private Stafford, from his exposed position, placed such accurate and effective fire on the enemy with the Bren gun he was carrying that the rest of his section was able to advance and bring additional fire to bear on the enemy. Aided by this fire Private Stafford again advanced alone firing his Bren gun from the hip with such devastating effect that the entire platoon was able to advance and seize the objective. During the reorganisation Private Stafford moved forward of the platoon position to clear the front. Discovering what appeared to be a camouflaged dugout, he fired a burst from his Bren gun into what seemed to be the opening but was in fact ammunition on the side of a concealed tank. The resulting explosion blew away the camouflage and drove out the tank crew. The tank was later destroyed. Through the entire campaign Private Stafford showed outstanding courage and was an inspiration to all members of his unit. His masterful use of the Bren gun and his complete disregard for his own safety have repeatedly been the deciding factor in carrying his unit to success over numerically superior enemy forces. The gallantry displayed by Private Stafford was a source of inspiration to those who served alongside him or heard of his courage under fire.