Murray Blake's story

Murray Phillip Blake MC was born on 11 December 1939 in Midland, Western Australian.

Murray's father was a World War I veteran and 5 of his stepbrothers served, so it was no surprise that Murray followed their lead. In 1960, at 17-year-old Murray enrolled at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. After graduation, he was posted a number of times to Queensland and also Portsea, Victoria, as an instructor. He deployed to Malaysia with 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) in 1964.

During his service in the Vietnam War, Murray commanded D Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR). It was a challenge to manage the high turnover of soldiers coming through his company. Battle casualties and injuries, as well as national servicemen finishing their terms of conscripted service, really took their toll. Murray remembered that these changes highlighted the need for good operating procedures. He believed his team operated remarkably well given the situation and that a strong bond formed between members of D Company.

D Company, 5RAR, took part in many dangerous operations. Attacking and clearing enemy bunker systems were hazardous tasks.

In April 1969, D Company was sent to locate and destroy enemy headquarters. What the men encountered was a bunker system. Murray vividly remembered the moments he was fired on by the enemy and the trouble that the platoon was in.

Then in June 1969, D Company was a part of the armoured assault in the Battle of Binh Ba. Several days of fighting caused heavy losses for the North Vietnamese, the Viet Cong and the local villagers.

When Murray boarded HMAS Sydney to return home, it was with mixed feelings. He felt a sense of achievement and great relief that he was going home in one piece. He also felt sorrow for those who didn't make it.

Murray was awarded the Military Cross and was Mentioned in Dispatches for his service during the Vietnam War.

In 1972, Murray served time with the SAS Unit in the Kimberly region of Western Australia before travelling to England with his family for training at the Royal Staff College, Camberley.

One of the most memorable times in Murray's career was as a Land Commander at Victoria Barracks, Sydney. He was commanded all operational elements of the Army, both regular and reserve. He held that position for 4 years before retiring when he was 54.

Last updated: 25 November 2022

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Murray Blake's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 3 October 2023,
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