This information is derived from the Australian War Memorial.
Ray Simpson was born in Chippendale, NSW on February 16, 1926.
Educated at Carlingford and Dumaresq Island public schools, he joined the second AIF on March 15, 1944 and was sent to the 41st/2nd Infantry Battalion, a holding unit for young soldiers.
On the morning of August 5, 1944, Mr Simpson had his first taste of action when he was part of a detachment sent to reinforce the garrison troops at Cowra after the escape of several hundred prisoners of war.
One of his duties that day was to man No. 1 Vickers machine gun, identical to No. 2 gun which several hours earlier had been defended by to the death by Privates Hardy and Jones who were both posthumously awarded the George Cross.
Mr Simpson was first posted to the 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion AIF and later served with the Advanced Ordnance Depot and the 26th Battalion AIF.
Demobilised in January 1947, Mr Simpson worked various jobs during the next four year including tram conductor, builders labourer, sugarcane cutter and sailor around Papua New Guinea.
H re-enlisting in 1951 for service in Korea with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
He was appointed Lance Corporal in November 1951 and promoted to Corporal in January 1953. During this period he married Shoko Sakai, a Japanese citizen, in 1952.
He was posted to the 2nd Battalion in January 1954 and served in Malaya for two years until October 1955.
He was next posted to 1st Special Air Service Company in November 1957 and served with that unit until selected as one of the initial group of advisers for the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam, leaving for Vietnam by air in July 1962.
A year later he returned to Australia and the Special Air Service Unit for 12 months before his second tour of duty in Vietnam began in July 1964.
During this tour he was awarded the distinguished conduct medal for his actions when a patrol was ambushed at Tako on September 16.
Mr Simpson, although severely wounded in the leg, held off the enemy while he called for help by radio.
He and his men repelled several enemy assaults until help arrived, and none too soon, as their ammunition was almost gone and Simpson was weak from loss of blood.
He was evacuated by helicopter to the 6th Field Hospital at Nha Trang and later convalesced in Tokyo.
Simpson had been promoted to Sergeant in 1955 and temporary Warrant Office Class 2 in 1964.
On May 16, 1966 he left the army for a second time but re-enlisted in Saigon for his third period of service in Vietnam.
When he performed the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross he was serving in Kontum province, near the Laotian border, as commander of a mobile strike force.
In a battalion-scale operation on May 6, the 232nd Company of the Mobile Strike Force, under Mr Simpson, was moving through the jungle of large trees and dense bamboo undergrowth in rain and poor visibility in II Corps area near the junction of the borders of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
When one of his platoons became heavily engaged with the enemy, he led the remainder of his company to its help.
As the company moved forward, one of the platoon commanders, Australian Warrant Officer MW Gill was seriously wounded and the assault began to falter.
Mr Simpson, in the face of heavy enemy fire, moved across open ground and carried Gill to safety.
He returned to his company then crawled forward to within 10 metres of the enemy. From here he lobbed grenades into their positions.
He then ordered his company to withdraw and he and five Indigenous soldiers covered the withdrawal.
Next morning, Mr Simpson's company rejoined the battalion in another position where it was resupplied. Three days later, on May 10, contact again was made with the enemy, but insufficient air support and the reticence of the indigenous officers caused it to be broken off.
At first light the next day artillery pounded the enemy positions and the battalion moved forward again to find the bunkers unoccupied. The battalion probed ahead with Warrant Officer AM Kelly leading the 231st Company.
In the first burst of fire from the next contact, Mr Kelly was wounded and the battalion commander, Captain Green of the American Special Forces, was killed when he went to assist Mr Kelly.
Mr Simpson quickly organised two platoons of soldiers and several advisers and led them to the location of the contact. Despite the fact that most of his soldiers had fled, he moved forward through withering machine gun fire in order to cover the initial evacuation of the casualties.
The wounded, including Mr Kelly, were evacuated but Mr Simpson was unable to reach Captain Green's body because of the heavy accurate enemy fire.
He then covered the evacuation of the wounded to the helicopter pad by placing himself between them and the enemy. The action ended indecisively next day when the battalion was evacuated.
Mr Simpson received his Victoria Cross from the Queen during an investiture at Government House, Sydney, on May 1, 1970.
The United States awarded him the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for Valour.
In 1972 he took up a position as administrative officer at the Australian Embassy, Tokyo. He died of cancer in Tokyo on October 18, 1978 and was buried at the Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan.
His medals and a portrait are displayed in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial and his photograph and citation are displayed at the Hall of Heroes, John F Kennedy Centre for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA.
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