Campbelltown honours war hero Kevin Wheatley with Mawson Park memorial

 

Kevin Wheatley Memorial

Kevin Wheatley’s children Phyllis Everill, George Wheatley and Ellie Roach, and his wife Edna (front) with the memorial at Mawson Park. Picture: TIM CLAPIN Source: News Limited

FORTY eight years after war hero and Victoria Cross recipient Warrant Officer Kevin “Dasher” Wheatley laid down his life for a mate, Campbelltown has honoured him with a permanent monument at Mawson Park.

See more: Kevin Wheatley memorial unveiling photo gallery

WO Wheatley’s wife Edna Wheatley and Campbelltown Mayor Clinton Mead unveiled a sandstone memorial last Wednesday, more than two years after the Macarthur Chronicle launched a campaign to have WO Wheatley, of Campbelltown, recognised in the region, and 48 years to the day since Dasher was killed in the Tra Bong Valley during the Vietnam War.

 

The memorial at Mawson Park for Kevin Wheatley VC. Picture: TIM CLAPIN Source: News Limited

The sandstone memorial is fitted with an etched photograph and plaque – the exact replica of the memorial which was erected at Vietnam, which was returned to Australia after the nation’s troops were withdrawn in 1971.

It was November 13, 1965, when WO Wheatley died from a gunshot after refusing to leave his mortally wounded comrade Warrant Officer Swanton.

Read more: Kevin Wheatley’s best mate shares his thoughts on the monument

He was posthumously awarded Australia’s highest military honour the Victoria Cross – one of just four Australian’s to receive it for service in the Vietnam War.

WO Wheatley was also awarded the United States of America’s Silver Star and the Republic of Vietnam appointed him a Knight of its National Order and awarded him the Military Merit Medal and Cross of Gallantry with Palm. It early 2011 the Chronicle decided the region needed to do more to honour WO Wheatley, and so a two-year-long campaign began.

Kevin Wheatley Memorial

Noah Everill-Pereira, 3, touches his great grandfather’s memorial. Picture Tim Clapin Source: News Limited

With the campaign gaining the support of WO Wheatley’s family, civic leaders and the community; Campbelltown Council and the Australian War Memorial linked up in November 2011 to start work on a memorial for Mawson Park to honour Dasher.

WO Wheatley’s daughter Ellie Roach thanked those who helped make the memorial possible.

“I would like to personally thank you on behalf of my family,” she told the Chronicle.