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War Memorial rolls over on peacekeepers on the Roll of Honour

By 6 March 2013 11

roll of honour

The War Memorial have announced they’re giving up the fight to restrict their Roll of Honour to war service:

Today the Council of the Australian War Memorial decided that all Australian servicemen and servicewomen who die on operational service, including non-warlike operations, will be included on the Roll of Honour.

At its meeting in November 2012, the Council decided there was a need to canvas broader community and stakeholder opinion before making a final decision whether to retain or amend existing Roll of Honour criteria.

In announcing the decision to change the criteria, the Chairman of the Council Rear Admiral Ken Doolan thanked all who have provided input about this important commemoration of Defence Force personnel who have fallen in the service of our country.

[Photo Courtesy Between A Rock CC licence]

UPDATE: The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson has welcomed the decision.

“I hope that the Council’s decision brings some comfort to the families who have fought for so long to have their loved ones recognised on the Roll of Honour. The decision will not bring their loved ones back but this now publicly recognises what they have always known to be true, that the service provided by their loved ones is equal to those other brave Australians who are already recognised on the Roll of Honour,” Mr Hanson concluded.

Before entering into politics in 2008, Mr Hanson served 22 years in the Australian Army, including service as a peacekeeper in East Timor and on warlike operations in Iraq.

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11 Responses to War Memorial rolls over on peacekeepers on the Roll of Honour
#1
dks00k7:59 pm, 06 Mar 13

And its about time..

Will that extend to AFP officers or only members of the ADF?

#2
LSWCHP8:23 pm, 06 Mar 13

I don’t agree with this decision.

Others will no doubt think I’m a dick for saying that, and I understand why they might think that because this is an emotive issue. Just my $0.02, that’s all. Your $0.02 may buy you some different thoughts, and you’re welcome to them.

The experience of active service isn’t the experience of peace keeping, and this is the War Memorial Roll of Honour. Emphasis on the “War” bit. I’m an ex-infantryman, so I’m not completely blowing smoke out of my arse about this. Had I been KIA I’d have liked my name to have appeared on the AWM Roll of Honour along with all the men and women who experienced the same fate, including a few of my relatives in Big War Number One. If I was killed while peacekeeping, I’d like my name to have appeared on a Roll of Honour, just not the AWM one.

#3
johnboy8:43 pm, 06 Mar 13

My understanding of the issue is there are many on the roll already who’s deaths were not entirely war like.

Killed in Australia in training, died of disease overseas, and let us not dwell too long on the diseases picked up in the fleshpots of Cairo.

Having already said yes to some grey areas during wartime saying no to deaths in action while wearing blue berets starts to get tricky.

Plus it doesn’t take many irate widows to make for bad optics.

#4
caf9:07 pm, 06 Mar 13

If you’re being shot at by the other team, I don’t think it really matters whether it happened while you were trying to take territory off the Reds, or stop the Reds and Greens from killing each other.

#5
bigfeet9:24 pm, 06 Mar 13

johnboy said :

My understanding of the issue is there are many on the roll already who’s deaths were not entirely war like.

Killed in Australia in training, died of disease overseas, and let us not dwell to long on the diseases picked up in the fleshpots of Cairo.

Having already said yes to some grey areas during wartime saying no to deaths in action while wearing blue berets starts to get tricky.

You are quite correct JB. It was never the manner of death that ‘qualified’ you for inclusion. WWI and WWII basically if you died whilst on duty, for whatever reason and in any location, you were included on the Roll.

Post WWII is was whether the particular operation was declared war or ‘warlike’ that governed whether your name was on the Roll. Again the manner of death was not important ( accident, enemy action, illness etc) . Just the fact that you died whilst on a ‘warlike’ operation.

If you died on overseas service, but the operation was not declared a war or ‘warlike’ operation then you were not included.

Certainly since WWII, the difference between ‘War’, ‘Warlike’, ‘Peacekeeping’ or any other deployment has blurred considerable.

I am generally against revisionist history…but I think there is enough inconsistency and blurring of operational parameters since WWII that peacekeeping operations should be included.

Having said that…there are always going to criteria to meet, and there will always be people who want (often with a valid reason) those criteria to be relaxed.

How far do we go?

#6
LSWCHP9:25 pm, 06 Mar 13

johnboy said :

Killed in Australia in training, died of disease overseas, and let us not dwell to long on the diseases picked up in the fleshpots of Cairo.

A bit OT but I can’t help myself…

My paternal Grandfather was a veteran of two years (16-18) on the Western front, and a mightily committed Christian. His battalion saw some of the worst of it, and was completely wiped out three times over which was pretty much par for the course. All of the friends he joined up with were killed.

He won the MM for gallantry under fire late in 1918 in one of the largest actions of the war. He didn’t suffer a scratch the whole time, and then according to his service records he picked up a dose of the clap from a working girl while celebrating his survival in Glasgow in 1919 just prior to returning to Australia. The irony of it all. :-)

He was always such a total straight arrow, so reading his records for the first time really made me reassess him as a man and a human being. He was a better and far, far braver man than me. He died when I was 15 and I miss him still. I wish I’d known him better.

Back OT…I’m surprised to hear about the non-warlike deaths on the roll. Like I said though, I really don’t want to die in a ditch over this (if you know what I mean) because I understand the feelings of those who had loved ones who were killed, but not in action.

And regardless of what I reckon, it sounds like it is what it is. I’ll pull my head in, because thinking about my Pop and his dead mates is making me cry.

#7
Eby9:26 pm, 06 Mar 13

dks00k said :

And its about time..

Will that extend to AFP officers or only members of the ADF?

The AFP have a memorial near the lake, which includes the names of the officers who have died.

#8
Pork Hunt9:33 pm, 06 Mar 13

LSWCHP said :

I don’t agree with this decision.

Others will no doubt think I’m a dick for saying that, and I understand why they might think that because this is an emotive issue. Just my $0.02, that’s all. Your $0.02 may buy you some different thoughts, and you’re welcome to them.

The experience of active service isn’t the experience of peace keeping, and this is the War Memorial Roll of Honour. Emphasis on the “War” bit. I’m an ex-infantryman, so I’m not completely blowing smoke out of my arse about this. Had I been KIA I’d have liked my name to have appeared on the AWM Roll of Honour along with all the men and women who experienced the same fate, including a few of my relatives in Big War Number One. If I was killed while peacekeeping, I’d like my name to have appeared on a Roll of Honour, just not the AWM one.

I don’t think you’re a dick however comma…
There’s a letter to the editor in todays CT that speaks of war being a means to a peace. If one is a peace keeper and thus prevents war then that is a good thing the writer argued.
Further, if you look at the reasons why peace keepers are in a particular place, there has almost always been a war or a warlike situation there and thus plenty of people who hate each other. Hate enough to shoot, bomb and mortar each other and thus putting peace keepers in the line of fire.
Peace keepers, often from many countries form a force, not always armed themselves in a hostile environment and do risk life and limb.
On the other side of the coin, I have Raafie mates who went to the Sinai with the MFO inthe ’80′s and had a ball. Drank piss in Cairo and Jerusalem without a care in the world.

#9
bigfeet9:56 pm, 06 Mar 13

LSWCHP said :

.Back OT…I’m surprised to hear about the non-warlike deaths on the roll. Like I said though, I really don’t want to die in a ditch over this (if you know what I mean) because I understand the feelings of those who had loved ones who were killed, but not in action.

And regardless of what I reckon, it sounds like it is what it is. I’ll pull my head in, because thinking about my Pop and his dead mates is making me cry.

I sat down and read my maternal Great Uncle’s diary again just the other day…he died of wounds in 1917 after being evacuated to the UK….because I am going to the UK in August and I would like to visit his grave.

I am just as proud of him as I am of my Uncle who was killed in a training accident over the Bass Strait in 1943 whilst he was learning to fly double engine bombers.

Both are honoured on the Roll of Honour… one killed as a result of enemy action overseas…one died from a training accident in Australia…

Like I said earlier…the parameters of operations since WWII have completely blurred…

I am very OK with this decision.

And lets not pretend that I didn’t start to cry as I typed this…..not only about those relatives I said didn’t come back…but those that I knew who did…and now have passed on.

#10
Thumper10:18 pm, 06 Mar 13

Good decisionGetting killed whilst serving OS with the ADF desrves serious recognition.

And an AASM or a an ASM doesn;t quite cut it if you’re dead.

#11
Spiral7:15 am, 07 Mar 13

War: A situation where you try to blend in with the surroundings and are allowed to shoot back at the enemy.

Peacekeeping: A situation where you try to be easily seen, bad guys on both sides may still shoot at you but you often aren’t allowed to shoot back.

It has been said that war is hell. Sometimes peacekeeping must be hell with added torture.

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