This will be the last update as the implementation of the Mohr review is now well under way. However, I think it important to use this as a reminder of a couple of matters from the review and particularly reiterate those areas of the review that cannot be implemented and why. Also, I will cover, in more detail, some of the entitlements aspects of the Instruments of declaration and determination for the medals.
There were a number of recommendations rejected either in-part or in-full by the Government, or some cases where, in implementing the recommendations, certain things just could not be done due to other restrictions.
The following are areas that have not been implemented and why:
Eligibility for the General Service Medal (GSM) Clasp ‘Borneo’ in accordance with ANO 241/72 for service on HMAS Gull
It has been established that three ANO’s were raised for different reasons. ANO 241/72 is for port-to-port repatriation benefits and for this reason inconsistent with medals entitlements. Navy ANO 124/65 and 329/66 are the correct documents to use for medals assessments.
Award of the Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal (VLSM) Visits to Saigon in 1963 by HMA Ships Queenborough and Quiberon
The Government stands by the 1993/94 Committee of Inquiry into Defence and Defence Related Awards that whilst Vietnam was on a war footing, the visits were diplomatic port visits, albeit with caution exercised because of the insurgency in the countryside. It was further noted that the GSM clasp ‘South Vietnam’ did not extend to this type of service and there is no link between the VLSM and the GSM.
The entitlement to benefits under the VEA only extends from an ‘Act of Grace’ declaration by former Labor Minister for Defence, Kim Beasley, allotting all RAN personnel who served in the Vietnam Area of Operations between 31 Jul 62 and 11 Jan 73. It is worthy of note that there is no link between the award of medals and VEA entitlements, or vice versa, so the VM or VLSM are not awarded automatically because someone is entitled to qualifying service under the VEA 1986.
Clasp ‘Special Operations’ for the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) 1945-75 and the current AASM
There is no requirement for a Clasp to the AASM for Special Operations. Whenever Australians are involved in warlike activities these will be declared and an appropriate medal issued.
Ubon as follows:
a. Personnel attached to Thailand on ‘EXERCISE OBSERVER’ after 31 Aug 68, until the end of the USAF ‘OPERATION COMBAT LANCER’ in November 1968, be eligible for similar medal and repatriation entitlements to those awarded for service at RAAF Base Ubon.
b. The end date of the ASM 45-65 with Clasp ‘Thailand’, and any other medal awarded for service in Thailand, be extended to a date that would ensure all eligible ADF service in Thailand would be covered. In this regard, as the major involvement of ADF personnel in the Vietnam conflict ceased on 11 Jan 73, perhaps this would also be an appropriate end date for service in Thailand.
Australian involvement in Thailand after Aug 68 was exercises involving observer missions only, not in relation to Vietnam. The ASM with Clasp Thailand under the SEA Review implementation will be awarded only up until 24 Jun
65 at which point the AASM with Clasp will be awarded for warlike service. From 1 Sep 68 to 30 Oct 71, the ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ will be awarded in line with other non-warlike service in the region.
It is recommended that Army and RAAF personnel on the posted strength of units located on the Malay Peninsula, including Singapore, during the period from 17 Aug 64 to 30 Sep 67 inclusive ie, the period of Confrontation defined in Item 7 of Schedule 2 to the VEA 1986, be allotted retrospectively so that they become eligible for full repatriation benefits and appropriate medals entitlement.
Although the VEA 1986 in Schedule 2 ceases entitlements on 30 Sep 67, the Indonesian Confrontation actually ceased on 11 Aug 66. This was ratified in accords which were formally signed by Adam Malik, the Indonesian Foreign Minister and Tun Abdul Razak, the Malaysian Minister for Defence, in a much overt display of good will. This ending of hostilities was a popular act with the Indonesian people. Hence, any service on the Malay Peninsula cannot be classified as warlike after 11 Aug 66, as there was no enemy and no hostilities. It has not been established why the VEA ends on 30 Sep 67.
Some aspects also need reaffirming here due to some confusion in relation to the administration of Imperial awards, eg NGSM and GSM. Imperial awards are governed by British Command Papers and Royal Warrants. As a result, Australia has no authority to award these medals outside of the conditions laid-down by the British Government and approved by the Sovereign. I would also point out that MAJGEN Mohr in his report did state, “I realise that the respective GSM's are Imperial awards and that their conditions of eligibility are sacrosanct”.
The GSM 1962 with Clasp ‘Malay Peninsula’ is awarded for service during the Indonesian Confrontation from 17 Aug 64 to 12 Jun 65, with an extension to 11 Aug 66 for aircrew engaged on operational patrols over the waters surrounding the Malay Peninsula and Singapore. These conditions are set in concrete by the particular Royal Warrant, therefore, the medals cannot be awarded outside of this criteria. However, the AASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘Malaysia’ will be awarded for service up to 11 Aug 66, after which the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ will be awarded.
Note: Similarly, service in Singapore during the Malayan Emergency will count as qualifying service towards the NGSM (and the AASM 1945-75) for RAN service on the basis that it forms part of the AO taking in the 12 NM limit, and for Army and RAAF service as allowed vide British Command Paper 7907 of March 1950. However, this will only occur for service until 31 Jan 59 after which Singapore is no longer a qualifying area for the Emergency. The NGSM/GSM cannot be awarded for service after this date as the Command Paper was amended by an Amendment Supplement in 1959 ceasing this Service after this date. However, the AASM with Clasp ‘Malaya’ will still be awarded for service up to and including 31 Jul 60, with the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ being awarded for service following that date.
LAOS – VIENTIANE - It is recommended that the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘Special Operations’ be granted for this service (this section also covers Special Ops generally for this update).
The Clasp ‘Special Ops’ is awarded under very strict conditions. Many people believe that because they may have been involved in covert or similar activities, they are automatically entitled to a Special Ops Clasp. However, such activities on their own do not constitute special operations. By way of background, the Clasp was established following
a recommendation of the 1993/94 Committee of inquiry into Defence and Defence Related Awards.
The Clasp was established on the basis that certain activities are conducted outside of a formal declaration of a warlike or non-warlike operation by the Minister for Defence. Due to the special nature of these activities, and the hazards and difficulties associated with them, an award was considered appropriate. Under Instruments of the ASM 1945-75/ASM regulations, the Chief of the Defence Force has the sole responsibility of specifying which activities will be awarded the Clasp ‘Special Ops’, and will only do so on recommendation of an appropriate Chief of Service.
For non-warlike operations that have been declared by the Minister, normal procedures apply in the establishment of an appropriate Clasp to the ASM for that operation. The Clasp was not established to be a ‘default’ award to those personnel who do not qualify under the normal qualifying conditions that relate to a declared operation. The Clasp also is not awarded where service has counted towards another medal, eg. service towards the ASM Clasp ‘FESR’ will not, at the same time, qualify towards the Clasp ‘Special Ops’.
Service in Laos will count towards the award of the ASM 1945-75 ‘SE Asia’ instead.
A note in general concerning the Clasp ‘Special Ops’ is that a person who qualifies for the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘Special Ops’ will not get a later award of the ASM same Clasp and similarly, a person who has qualified for the ASM with Clasp ‘Special Ops’ will not qualify for a retrospective award of the ASM 1945-75 with same Clasp. This follows the same principle as that stated below for the ASM 1945-75/ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’.
Other general matters are:
Awards of the AASM 1945-75 with Imperial medals as Government policy.
We have had phone calls from people claiming that if they are awarded the AASM 1945-75, they should then be automatically eligible for an Imperial medal ie, NGSM or GSM. These claims are made on the basis of the announcement made on 11 July 1997 by the former Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Personnel that the Government determined a new AASM 1945-1975 would be established to recognise those who received, or have an entitlement to, an Imperial General Service Medal for service in the Korean War 1950-53, the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960, the Indonesian Confrontation 1962-66 and the Vietnam War. Eligibility would also be extended to those who have received Vietnam Medal and some recipients of the Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal.
This policy has not changed in that it will still be awarded to holders of those Imperial awards. However, it goes one way and not the other, ie. if you have the Imperial award, you have automatic entitlement to the AASM 1945-75, you do not get an Imperial award if you are issued the AASM 1945-75. I highlight the advice in my October 2000 update:
AASM 1945-75. The qualifying criteria for all operations involving the AASM 1945-75 (and the current AASM) will be standardised in line with modern criteria given to warlike medals. This is basically ‘one day or more on the posted strength of a unit allotted (or assigned) to and serving in an operational area, one operational sortie into the area, 30 non-operational sorties or 30 days for visitors’. This applies to all warlike operations including Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation and service on the Malay-Thai Border. The qualification by time
is the only change here, all other criteria will still be linked to the Imperial awards, eg. eligible personnel (except where the Mohr report has made specific recommendations which have been accepted).
In effect, the Government has expanded its policy on the award of the AASM 1945-75, but it cannot in relation to Imperial awards. As highlighted earlier, conditions of eligibility for Imperial awards are sacrosanct.
ASM 1945-75/ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ Generally.
The ASM 1945-75 was originally to be awarded for land based service in certain areas of SE Asia during the period 1955-71 outside of the Malayan Emergency 1955-60, Thai-Malay Border operations 1960-66, Indonesian Confrontation 1962-66 and South Vietnam 1962-73. As the recent Media Release by Minister Scott states, this has now been extended to 1975 for service in Singapore and 1989 for service in Butterworth Malaysia. As can be seen, this now passes through the 13/14 Feb 75 where the ASM 1945-75 cuts off and the ASM commences. (see web site http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2000/index.html and look in the May section for media release). Details of the findings of the review for this service is attached at annex A to this update.
The effect of this is that a person who has been awarded the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ for service up to Feb 75 will not be awarded the ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ for service at a later date. The Clasp recognises service in those particular areas of SE Asia as an operation for the period 1955-89, therefore the award of two medals would be tantamount to awarding two of the same clasp to one medal.
Similarly, a person who has been awarded the ASM 1945-75 with Clasp ‘FESR’ will not receive an award of the ASM 1945-75 or ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’. Although different to the ‘SE Asia’ Clasp, the ‘FESR’ clasp still recognises service in SE Asia for the same operation, so another award of a different Clasp for the same service is not justified. The Clasp ‘SE Asia’ will be awarded for the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Force service from 31 Oct 71 to 31 Apr 75, and although this will also include RAN service, the principle still applies that if already awarded the Clasp ‘FESR’, a Clasp ‘SE Asia’ will not be awarded.
The principles espoused above have met with agreement from many serving and former Service personnel I have spoken to so far. I would expect, therefore, that there will be very few who will object to this policy in the long run.
There have been many queries concerning exactly what service will be recognised for the ASM 1945-75/ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’. As approved by the Governor-General under their respective regulations, this will be service with elements of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation; the Australia, New Zealand and the United States (Pacific Security) Treaty; Far East Strategic Reserve; the United Nations; ANZUK; Five Power Defence Arrangement (which includes the Rifle Company Butterworth); and Australian Army Survey Operations in the following areas and periods:
a. service in Malaysia, except that on the Thailand-Malaysia border as shown below, during the following periods:
(i) 1 August 1960 and ended on 16 Au gust 1964;
(ii) 12 August 1966 and ended on 31 December 1989; (warlike land operations on the Thailand-Malaysia border between 1 August 1960 and 16 August 1964, and warlike air operations on the border between 17 August 1964 and 30 March 1966, do not qualify);
b. Service on land in Singapore during the following periods:
(ii) 1 August 1960 and ended on 16 August 1964;
(ii) 12 August 1966 and ended on 30 April 1975;
c. service on land in Thailand during the following periods;
(i) 2 July 1955 and ended on 30 April 1962;
(ii) 1 September 1968 and ended on 30 October 1971;
d. service on land in Vietnam 2 July 1955 and ended on 30 July 62;
e. service on land in Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia 2 July 1955 and ended on 14 March 1975.
f. Participation by ships of the Royal Australian Navy in the ANZUK forces that commenced on 31 October 1971 ended on 30 April 1975.
The medal may be awarded for 30 days aggregate service as a posted member of a unit serving in under one or any of the conditions above, or as an official visitor or on temporary duty. The medal may also be awarded for 30 operational sorties into or over one of the areas above during the relevant period, but is counted only where those sorties were conducted over a period of not less than an aggregate of 30 days at a rate of one sortie per day (ie, more than one sortie a day will not count).
Delays in receiving awards.
Unfortunately, due to the masses of correspondence received concerning the South East Asia Review, it may still be a number of months before some receive any awards to which they may be entitled. This relates particularly to those who applied later last year up until now.
However, every effort is being made to ensure that eligible recipients receive their awards as quickly as possible. The findings of the SEA Review were published in March 2000 and the Government accepted 43 out of the 47 recommendations in its May 2000 Budget announcement. The Department of Defence carried out the implementation process for new medals entitlement arising from the Review and the Governor-General approved the relevant Instruments for the awards on 23 March 2001. Several thousand applications were received during the intervening period, however, the department was not able to process any of these applications until the Governor-General’s approval was gained.
While it is appreciated that individuals are keen to receive their medals entitlements, it must be borne in mind that other applicants are equally anxious to receive their due. This includes outstanding claims of veterans from World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Any delays are regretted and patience in this matter is requested.
Application forms may be downloaded form the Internet from web site at http://www.defence.gov.au/dpe/dpe_site/resources/index.htm and mailed to the appropriate address on the form.
Medals and VEA entitlements
It is worthy of note that Government's policy which states:
“Receiving medals does not entitle veterans to automatic service pensions. The eligibility for medals and benefits are considered entirely separately and will remain so under this Government”.
This was also reaffirmed by MAJGEN Mohr in his report where he states, “It is recommended that a policy be clearly laid down to ensure that the recommendation for the award of a campaign medal and the subsequent award of such a medal does not carry with it any entitlement to repatriation benefits”. The above policy meets with this recommendation.
The effect of this policy is obvious, if you are able to get yourself a medal, do not expect that you will automatically get a disability pension or service pension under the VEA 1986.
National Service - Anniversary of National Service 1951 – 1972 Medal
As most would be now aware, the Prime Minister issued a Media Release on 26 April concerning the creation of
a commemorative medal to mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of national service in 1951, with The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence issuing another Media Release shortly after. Copies of these can be found on the web at http://www.pm.gov.au/news/media_releases/2001/media_release962.htm and http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2000/index.html (look in the Apr section on this one). As there is a lot of interest in this, I thought it prudent to put in some information.
The commemorative Anniversary of National Service 1951 – 1972 Medal is a way of publicly acknowledging those who served in the two national service schemes from 1951 to 1972
As per the Prime Minister’s Media Release, applications will not be accepted until the medal has been formally created, which is expected to occur in the second half of this year. Eligibility for the medal will be dependent upon individuals having completed their national service obligation under the National Service Act as it related to them at the time. As there were many different ways in which a person may have met their eligibility, details will need to be determined with the establishment of the medal’s Regulations. These will be formally announced when completed and at which point applications will be sought. A special application form will also be developed for this purpose and posted on the Defence web.
Please note that applications will not be accepted until sought. Any application received before then cannot be processed.
Due to production rates, only initial stocks of medals will be available before Anzac Day 2002. The medal will be worn after long service awards within the Australian Order of Wearing. Further information will be available in due course.
I hope this update explains and clarifies any issues that may be on people’s minds concerning the SEA Review. Also, the information contained herein is not an authority for awards and should not quoted as such.
Staff Officer Policy
Directorate of Honours and Awards
ANNEX A TO SEA REVIEW UPDATE OF MAY2001 FINDINGS OF FOLLOW-ON REVIEW TO THE REVIEW OF SERVICE ANOMALIES IN RESPECT OF SOUTH-EAST ASIAN SERVICE 1955-75
The following is the basis on which the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence approved an extension of the award of the ASM 1945-75/ASM with Clasp ‘SE Asia’ for service in Singapore until 31 April 1975 and Malaysia until 31 December 1989.
In 1955 Commonwealth forces were stationed in Malaya as part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) to deter communist Chinese aggression and fight the continued armed Malaysian communist terrorism. At the time, Australia considered South-East Asia the area of greatest strategic importance to its own defence, let alone the defence of South-East Asia. The strategic thinking behind the FESR was that a military response to a crisis on the Malay Peninsula would be swifter if air power was already in position.
In April 1971 a ‘Five Power’ ministerial meeting attended by representatives of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the United Kingdom selected 1 November 71 as the date on which new defence arrangements would come into effect. Accordingly, FESR would cease on 30 October 1971. Australia’s Chiefs of Staff had previously agreed that a continuing strong presence in the region was highly desirable, and the most effective and convenient form of that
presence would be the two RAAF fighter squadrons already at Butterworth.
Given the timetable for the British withdrawal, the nucleus of a new air defence system had to be in place by mid-1971. The two RAAF fighter squadrons at Butterworth assumed the leading role in the new integrated air defence system giving Malaysia and Singapore an opportunity to build up their own defence forces. In 1974 Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft commenced a program of continuous rotational deployment through Butterworth for regional surveillance. The surveillance of the region provided a valuable contribution to the stability of the Malaysian borders.
The Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Force was created on 1 November 1971 with troops from Australia, the UK and NZ stationed as a deterrent to armed attack, or the threat of such attack. The ANZUK Force was created from its existing resources and was not an integral part of the Five Power Arrangements. The ANZUK Force was disbanded on 1 January 75 with the last elements of Australian military personnel withdrawn in April 75.
The Rifle Company Butterworth was established in 1970 as a quick-reaction force to provide protection for Australian assets within the perimeter of the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth, due to the continued threat of armed Communist terrorism within its borders. It was initially provided from the ANZUK Australian Force and was formally under operational command of the Commander ANZUK Forces. Besides securing protection for the two jet squadrons within the perimeter of the Air Base, the role of the RCB was to provide a quick-reaction force to meet the communist terrorist threat, and be responsible for internal security within Air Base Butterworth. The RCB was not to be involved in local civil disturbances or to be employed in operations outside the gazetted area of the Air Base. Rules of Engagement (ROE) for the RCB were specific on ‘Orders to Open Fire’ if threatened and security was breached, but were applied within Air Base Butterworth only, regardless of curfew, periods of increased security, air defence exercises or time of day or night. Although it may have involved patrolling, its ROE was defensive only, not unlike those during UN peacekeeping operations.
There are recorded incidents of ambushes on Malaysian troops, bombings and daily skirmishes with local military and police forces by the terrorists. Accordingly, due to these terrorist activities, the northern regions of the Malay Peninsula were ‘no go’ areas for Australian Defence Force personnel.
In February 1988, the then Minister for Defence announced a reduction of the RAAF presence at Butterworth in consultation with the Malaysian and Singaporean governments. In December 1989, Chin Peng, the leader of the Malaysian Communist Party signed a peace accord with the Malaysian Government. These events resulted in the RAAF presence being dramatically reduced and the quick reaction role of the RCB abolished. Since 1989, Butterworth has provided a good overseas training ground for Army personnel, albeit still under the name of RCB. Although there is still a Five Power Agreement, this is now primarily a Defence cooperation agreement rather than a regional security treaty, ie. the RAAF and the RCB devote more time to training activities with the Malaysian and Singaporean Armies.
In view of the conditions that existed in Singapore and Malaysia after the Indonesian Confrontation on 11 August 1966, and until the end of FESR on 30 October 1971, duties in Butterworth are equally deserving of an award due to the terrorist threat which existed and the purpose of regional security under the ANZUK and FPDA.[Hit Counter]
Medals have been despatched to some recipients.
All former 8 RAR members who served in Malaysia are encouraged to apply for their Medal
The Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 was established in 1995 to recognise the part played by Australian service personnel who had not previously received an award for their service during the period 1945 to 1975 in overseas peace keeping and other non-warlike activities.
The Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 is a circular nickel-silver medal ensigned with the Crown of St Edward.
The obverse(or front) features a modified shield of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.
The reverse (or back) features the Commonwealth Star overlaid with a plinth on which the recipient's name is engraved surrounded by clusters of wattle blossom symbolising the Australian nature of the award, and the presence of Australian service personal in overseas peace keeping and other non-warlike operations.
The medal also has a nickel-silver clasp to identify the locality of the a recipient's service.
The colours of the ribbon are bands of light and dark blue, kahaki, green and gold representing the Australian Defence Services.
There are no postnominal entitlements for this medal.
Now Continue on to read the Submission.
VETERANS OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 1955-75
Extension of repatriation benefits in recognition of service in South-East Asia between 1955-75, overcoming anomalies in entitlements for Australian Defence Force personnel.
The Federal Government is committed to ensuring veterans receive proper recognition for their service to the nation in times of war and conflict.
Eligibility for qualifying service will be granted to:
about 1800 Royal Australian Navy personnel who served with the Far East Strategic Reserve during the Malayan Emergency;
RAN radio operators who served at Kranji Wireless Station and RAF Base Seletar in Singapore between 11 May and 31 July 1960;
ADF members who served on the Thai Malay border immediately after the Malayan Emergency, between 1 August 1960 and 27 May 1963;
Army and Royal Australian Air Force personnel who served on the Malay Peninsula and in Singapore during the Indonesian Confrontation;
members of the ADF seconded to the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces during the Confrontation;
personnel who served at RAAF Base Ubon in Thailand between 26 June 1965 and 31 August 1968; and merchant mariners who served with RAN personnel on HMAS Boonaroo and Jeparit during the Vietnam War.
These veterans will be eligible to apply for full repatriation benefits, including the service pension.
Eligibility for disability pensions will be extended to some 1500 veterans who served aboard HMAS Sydney,Vampire,Parramatta and Yarra in Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation.
In 1999 the Federal Government commissioned an independent review of cases where veterans claimed they had been denied equal recognition for their service in conflicts in South-East Asia between 1955-1975.
The Review of Service Entitlement Anomalies in Respect of South-East Asian Service 1955-75 was undertaken by former South Australian Supreme Court judge Robert Mohr.
The Mohr review brought to light new evidence that enabled the Department of Defence to make a fresh assessment of South-East Asian service, based on the standards of “warlike” and “non-warlike” service applied to modern ADF deployments.
While the deployment of personnel to Borneo aboard HMAS Sydney,Vampire, Parramatta and Yarra during the Indonesian Confrontation was not addressed by the Mohr Review, the Government has also extended eligibility for disability pensions to these personnel. The Government has recognised that these veterans took part in a “non-warlike” operation and should be eligible to claim the appropriate benefits.
Repatriation benefits will not be extended to members of the Australian Civilian Surgical and Medical Teams in Vietnam. The policy on repatriation benefits for civilians has consistently required they be attached to the Australian Defence Force, for example in the case of merchant mariners. These civilians worked under arrangements made by the then Department of External Affairs and the review provided little or no evidence that they served under ADF command. However, the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence will review the case of any civilian, where they can provide evidence that they served under military command.
The Review of Service Entitlement Anomalies in Respect of South-East Asian Service 1955-75 has resulted in a series of recommendations to extend entitlements for service medals.
Eligibility for the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 has been extended to:
RAN personnel who served with the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) during the Malayan Emergency. These personnel will also be eligible for the Naval General Service Medal;
official, uniformed war correspondents and war artists who served with ADF personnel during the Malayan Emergency;
ADF personnel awarded the General Service Medal 1962 with Clasp ‘Brunei’ for service during the Indonesian Confrontation;
RAN personnel serving in HMAS Vampire during the Indonesian Confrontation;
ADF members serving on the Thai Malay border immediately after the Malayan Emergency, between 1 August 1960 and 27 May 1963;
ADF members seconded to the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces during the Indonesian Confrontation; Australian Army Air Dispatch serving with 55 AD Coy RASC or ‘Miscellaneous Australian Detachments unit of FARELF’;
personnel who served at RAAF Base Ubon in Thailand between 26 June 1965 and 31 August 1968; and QANTAS crew members who served on RAAF charter flights during the Vietnam War from 1964-73.
Eligibility for the
Australian Service Medal 1945-75
will be extended to:
Australian Army, RAAF and land based RAN personnel who served with FESR for periods of 30 or more days after the Malayan Emergency;
RAN radio operators who served at Kranji Wireless Station and RAF Base Seletar in Singapore between 11 May and 31 July 1960;
ADF members on secondment to the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces after the Indonesian Confrontation;
ADF members detached for duty in the Australian Embassy in Laos between 1959-64; and ADF medical personnel who served in East Timor during the civil war in 1975.
Eligibility for the Vietnam Medal has been extended to RAAF nurses who served on Aero Medical Evacuation flights during the Vietnam War between 1964-73.
Further information on medals entitlements and applications is available by writing to:
RAN personnel or Merchant Mariners
Navy Medals Section
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Australian Army personnel
Army Medals Section
GPO Box 5108BB
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Air Force Medals Section
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Veterans who served in South-East Asia between 1955-75 are expected to able to apply for repatriation benefits from 1 January, 2001, subject to the amendment of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986.
BUDGET 2 0 0 0 - 2 0 0 1
RECOGNITION OF SERVICE BY MEMBERS OF THE EIGHTH BATTALION, THE
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT WHILST PART OF THE
BRITISH COMMONWEALTH FAR EAST STRATEGIC RESERVE IN MALAYSIA
FROM 1 OCT 1967 UNTIL 1 MAY 1969.
This submission seeks to justify the award of the Australian Service Medal 1945-75 (ASM 45-75) with clasp FESR to members of the 8th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8 RAR) who rendered 30 days service in aggregate as a part of Australia’s commitment to the British Commonwealth Far Eastern Strategic Reserve (FESR) in Malaysia during the period 1 October 1967 to 1 May 1969 (both dates inclusive).
This submission does NOT seek to recognise this non-warlike service through
award of the Returned from Active Service Badge, or through Department of
Veterans’ Affairs repatriation benefits.
The following documents are submitted as enclosures by way of supporting
a. Department of Defence Minute DM 86/6158 (SPP 1308/89) dated 12 December 1989 and enclosure ‘ The Australian Service Medal’. (FLAG A)
b. Extract of the Duty First: The Royal Australian Regiment in War and Peace, ed David Horner, Allen and Unwin, N Sydney 1990 (pps 198,199). (FLAG B)
c. Extract of ‘Australia in World Affairs 1966-70’ ed Greenwood, Gordon and Harper, Norman, Australian Institute of International Affairs (pps 242-246). (FLAG C)
d. Defence Instructions (Air Force) Admin 10-28 Amdt No1 dated 14 April 1997 (Annex A). (FLAG D)
e. Extract from Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, ed Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan and Prior, Robin, Oxford University Press (p560). (FLAG E)
f. Extract from Report of the Committee of inquiry into Defence and Defence Related Awards - 1994 (CIDA) (Statement of Principles pps 5-8). (FLAG F)
g. Copies of three documents recommending and approving the ASM 1945-75 (with clasp FESR) to RAN Ships allocated or assigned to the FESR. (FLAG G)
Conditions for award of the ASM 45-75...
3 Para 3 of Flag A (Enclosure) states that “Members of the ADF may be called upon to serve in non-warlike operations overseas which are not only hazardous, but prolonged and or arduous. Such service may warrant formal recognition through the award of the Australian Service Medal. Examples of operations which may attract the award are:
b. military training and assistance to foreign countries,
c. occupation duties,
d. evacuation from hostile territory,
e. humanitarian relief, and
f. deployment of forces to sensitive areas.” Refer Flag A
We submit that all service rendered in Malaysia between the end of the ‘Malay Emergency’ and the commencement of ‘Confrontation’, and the period following Confrontation up until 30 October 1971 contained elements of peacekeeping, military training and assistance to foreign countries, as well as deployment of forces to sensitive areas. This service was non-warlike, overseas, hazardous, prolonged and/or arduous.
8 RAR deployed for duty in Malaysia on 1 October 1967 as one of the three infantry battalions of the 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade (28 Bde) garrisoned in Terendak. The tour concluded on 1 May 1969. The commitment of this battalion, as well as other service units and personnel to either 28 Bde, or in other supporting roles throughout the Malay peninsular, was a part of Australia’s ongoing contribution to the FESR under the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement. This agreement lapsed on the 30th October 1971 and was replaced on 1st November 1971 by the Five Power Defence Agreement involving Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore. Refer Flags B&C
Australian forces allocated to the FESR were also earmarked for tasks (operations) as a part of the Australian contribution to the South-East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO). Refer Flag E
Nature of service and effect on individuals...
The members of 8 RAR spent approximately 6 months or 1/3 rd of their tour of duty training in the Malaysian jungle with consequent exposure to a range of debilitating tropical illnesses and diseases. Deployments in force were often into areas close to trouble spots, or into areas where problems had previously arisen with internal security forces.
Married soldiers could be, and generally were accompanied by their spouse and immediate family. Separation from extended families - parents, siblings and friends, however, often placed serious strains on young wives, and on relationships. Long absences due to training and courses placed further strains on individuals. These pressures existed only within this context. Unaccompanied soldiers, many of whom were conscripts or young regulars, were separated from all family support and friends for the full extent of their tour of up to 18 months. Unaccompanied postings to other overseas locations were of 12 months duration, making this both arduous and prolonged service.
During the fierce race riots that swept Malaysia in late April and May 1969, some members of 8 RAR and later, 1 RAR, were involved in providing protection for married service personnel, their families and those ethnic Chinese and Indians who were closely associated with the Australians, British and New Zealanders. A large number of service personnel were accommodated outside the garrison proper. During this period of racial unrest, the ethnic minorities were frequently beaten and slain by Malay religious zealots. No major incident occurred in the married quarters areas guarded by our members, and it is certain that the mere presence of those guards assisted in persuading zealots to avoid acts of violence against our members and associated nationals who were not ethnic Malays.
Internal threat to regional stability...
During the 8 RAR tour of Malaysia, there still remained an active if somewhat reduced Communist Terrorist (CT) threat. This continuing threat to internal security is clearly evident in the willingness of both the Malaysian and Singaporean governments to retain a strong Commonwealth presence for an extended period.
External threat to regional stability...
Another regional threat at this was the continued interest of Indonesia in the landmass of the archipelago and Borneo as a part of the Malaysian confederation. This threat had twice been realised with the Emergency and the Confrontation, as they have become known.
Role of Commonwealth forces
It is our contention that the presence of a strong, highly trained and capable contingent of Commonwealth forces in the area prevented further threats to Malaysia and Singapore. Defence co-operation, joint exercises and training, together with the presence of a strong role model provided a firm foundation for the defence forces of these countries. The term “peacekeeping” did not exist at this time, and neither was the UN a force for regional stability. Nonetheless this is the role that was fulfilled by the Commonwealth forces within the newly independent countries of this region. It is a role comparable to some peacekeeping deployments undertaken by the Australian Defence Force in other countries in later years.
Relating the nature of this service to qualification for the ASM 45-75...
This threat to security and our continued presence certainly justifies and meets the criteria of deployment of forces to sensitive areas. While the service of British, Australian and New Zealand forces in Malaysia may strictly speaking be not termed ‘peace keeping’ in its current sense, our presence did provide stability and the opportunity for the inexperienced armed forces of Malaysia and Singapore to train, develop and expand with a degree of reassurance and security. Refer Flags B&C
Previous consideration by CIDA
The CIDA previously considered the award of the ASM 1945-75 for service in Singapore and at Butterworth after the cessation of ‘Confrontation’ and determined that it did not meet what is defined by Statement of Principles No 1 as, ‘ Normal duties such as training and garrison duties should not be recognised by the award of a medal, even though they may be demanding, hazardous and uncomfortable, and may beundertaken in countries other than Australia. As a general rule, medals should be reserved for the recognition of service in military campaigns, peacekeeping or other military activities clearly and markedly more demanding than normal peace time service’ . Refer Flag F
This principle has not always been consistently applied during the initial CIDA deliberations and in the subsequent consideration and recognition of service of our RAN colleagues on board RAN ships allocated or assigned to the FESR. In fact the documentation and process for gaining recognition and RAN ships assigned to the FESR is very scant compared with the detail required by CIDA when initially considering submissions for recognition. Refer Flag G
CIDA Principle No 3 comparable service
Without seeking to denigrate the contribution of our RAN colleagues, whose service as part of the FESR has been duly recognised, we ask the committee to compare RAN service in Malaysian waters with that of 8 RAR who were also part of the FESR and whose service has not yet been recognised. CIDA noted that “To maintain the inherent fairness and integrity of the Australian system of honours and care must be taken that, in recognising service by some, the comparable service of others is not overlooked or degraded”, and enshrined this in its Statement of Principles No 3. Refer Flag F
Grounds for award of the ASM 45-75
Service with 8 RAR was non-warlike, overseas, hazardous, prolonged and/or arduous. It involved deployment of forces to sensitive areas, military training and assistance to foreign countries as well as what is now defined as peacekeeping. This fulfils a number of grounds for award of the ASM 45-75 as well as Principle No 1 of the CIDA Review. These duties were and are comparable to the service of other elements of the Australian Defence Force whose service has already been recognised by award of the ASM 45-75. Failure to recognise this service perpetuates the inequity of recognising comparable service over the same period of time within the FESR for the RAN, but not for the Army. This contravenes Principle No 3 of the CIDA Review.
Recognition of service
We therefore submit that the Committee of Review of Service Entitlement Anomalies in Respect of South East Asian Service 1945-75 accept the case for recognition of service for a minimum aggregate period of 30 days with the Eighth Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment between 1 October 1967 and 1 May 1969 with award of the Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 with clasp ‘FESR’ .
Clive Mitchell-Taylor JP
8 RAR Association
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