Bruce Cameron An extract which says a little about him ... Corporal Bruce Scott, crew commander of the lead tank (4Charlie) exchanged a wave with the crew of the Duster as they approached. Scott was travelling to the side of the firetrail as much as possible. One of the dangers of this was that the long grass sometimes concealed obstacles, such as the tree stump on which 4Charlie bellied at this point. After being towed off by Cumper’s tank, the troop continued on their way.
Almost immediately there was an explosion; 4Charlie had detonated a 16kg mine. While the turret crew were ok, there was concern that for the driver (Trooper Tony Murphy). Fortunately, it turned out that his leg was ‘only’ wedged under his seat. With damage to the right hand front suspension, the tank was immobilised.
The Operational Damage Report reveals that the VC tactic of laying more than one mine was employed here: ‘Search by mini-team located RPG/Russian grenade mine in close proximity to this incident.’Given the wet conditions at the time, it was decided that the best option was to repair 4Charlie in situ, rather than half-tracking or towing. The necessary parts were assembled and 4 Troop were told to expect a helicopter. At the same time, they were tasked with recovering the Duster. This was pleasing news for the US artillery battery, which was returning to the intersection.
The plan was that 4 Bravo (Corporal Ray Evans) would follow the guns, towing the disabled Duster. Having hooked up, the Centurion set off. Immediately, an explosion occurred! As the tow rope took up the slack, the Duster had slewed to one side, detonating a 23kg mine. Trooper Reg Buerckner on 4Bravo remembers seeing ‘five Yanks sitting on their wagon when it hit the mine; three had to be ‘dusted-off’, nothing serious luckily’. Corporal Scott recalls that the mine:exploded under the Duster’s engine compartment, rupturing the fuel tank and instantly catching fire. The crew ran to my vehicle, while [Corporal] Ray Evans, in the midst of exploding ammunition, calmly unhooked the tow rope and drove his tank a safe distance up the firetrail.