b. 30/08/1933 Ingham, Queensland, Australia.
Payne's VC was awarded due to his actions during the Vietnam War. Born 30 August 1933, he is the last living Australian recipient of the original "imperial" Victoria Cross. Keith Payne was born in Ingham, Queensland, the son of Romilda (Millie) Hussey and Henry Thomas Payne. He attended Ingham State School and later became an apprentice cabinet-maker. Dissatisfied with working as a tradesman, Payne joined the Australian Army in August 1951 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in September the following year.
In May 1969, he was commanding the 212th Company of the 1st Mobile Strike Force Battalion when it was attacked by a strong North Vietnamese force. His company was isolated and, surrounded on three sides, Payne's Vietnamese troops began to fall back. Payne, by now wounded in the hands and arms and under heavy fire, covered the withdrawal before organising his troops into a defensive perimeter. He then spent three hours scouring the scene of the day's fight for isolated and wounded soldiers, all the while evading the enemy who kept up regular fire. He found some forty wounded men, brought some in himself and organised the rescue of the others, leading the party back to base through enemy dominated terrain.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: HELD BY KEITH PAYNE. ON LOAN TO AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL.
Alastair Kennedy-Rose (left) and myself pictured with Keith Payne VC, AM at the Union Jack Club, London May 2016
Me proudly holding Keith Payne's replica medals
Dinner at the Union Jack Club with Keith Payne VC, AM, his wife Florence Payne OAM and their daughter Michelle along with Alastair Kennedy-Rose (May 2016)
Union Jack Club
Keith Payne's VC investiture on board the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1970