Australia — Public hearings for the Victoria Cross inquiry

The Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Defence, Sen­a­tor David Feeney, today announced that pub­lic hear­ings will be held around Aus­tralia as part of the Vic­to­ria Cross Inquiry.

Fol­low­ing the nation­wide call for sub­mis­sions in April this year, the hear­ings will be anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty for the inde­pen­dent Defence Hon­ours and Awards Appeals Tri­bunal to receive evi­dence in rela­tion to spe­cif­ic acts of gal­lantry or val­our per­formed by the fol­low­ing naval and mil­i­tary personnel: 

  • Gun­ner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary — Army 
  • Mid­ship­man Robert Ian Davies — Navy 
  • Lead­ing Cook Fran­cis Bas­sett Emms — Navy 
  • Lieu­tenant David John Hamer — Navy 
  • Pri­vate John Simp­son Kirk­patrick — Army 
  • Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Robert William Rankin — Navy 
  • Able Sea­man Dal­mor­ton Joseph Owen­dale Rudd — Navy 
  • Ordi­nary Sea­man Edward Sheean — Navy 
  • Lead­ing Air­crew­man Noel Ervin Shipp — Navy 
  • Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Fran­cis Edward Smith — Navy 
  • Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Hen­ry Hugh Gor­don Dacre Stok­er — Roy­al Navy 
  • Lead­ing Sea­man Ronald Tay­lor — Navy 
  • Cap­tain Hec­tor Mac­don­ald Laws Waller — Navy 

I am pleased that the Tri­bunal is now in a posi­tion to speak face to face with peo­ple who can con­tribute fur­ther to this impor­tant Inquiry,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

Many Aus­tralians have fought for years for fur­ther recog­ni­tion of these 13 naval and mil­i­tary per­son­nel.  The Tri­bunal has received about 55 writ­ten sub­mis­sions from across Aus­tralia in rela­tion to acts of gal­lantry and valour. 

To make sure the Inquiry has all of the rel­e­vant and accu­rate his­tor­i­cal evi­dence before it, the Tri­bunal is invit­ing a wide range of peo­ple to pro­vide more infor­ma­tion to the Inquiry. 

The Tri­bunal will invite his­to­ri­ans, authors, for­mer mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Defence Force, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ex-Ser­vice asso­ci­a­tions to give evidence. 

The hear­ings will be open to the media and in 2012 the Tri­bunal will con­sid­er a fur­ther 89 sub­mis­sions which pro­pose addi­tion­al names of ADF per­son­nel who may be con­sid­ered for recog­ni­tion of mil­i­tary val­our,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

The Inquiry is head­ed by the Chair of the Tri­bunal, Mr Alan Rose AO

He will be assist­ed by Tri­bunal members: 

·        Pro­fes­sor David Horner AM, Mil­i­tary Historian; 

·        Vice Admi­ral Don Chalmers AO (Retd), for­mer Chief of Navy; 

·        Brigadier Gary Born­holt AM, CSC (Retd), for­mer senior Army offi­cer; and 

·        Air Com­modore Mark Lax OAM, CSM (Retd), for­mer senior Air Force officer. 

Hear­ings will be run by the inde­pen­dent Defence Hon­ours and Awards Appeals Tri­bunal and held in Can­ber­ra, Mel­bourne and Launce­s­ton in Decem­ber 2011.  In 2012, the Tri­bunal will hold pub­lic hear­ings in Syd­ney, Ade­laide, Perth and Brisbane. 

Loca­tions have been cho­sen by the Tri­bunal and reflect where the 55 writ­ten sub­mis­sions have been received from. 

Inter­est­ed mem­bers of the pub­lic are invit­ed to attend these hear­ings and wit­ness the pro­ceed­ings.  Those inter­est­ed in attend­ing are asked to reg­is­ter their inter­est (for admin­is­tra­tive pur­pos­es only) by con­tact­ing the Tri­bunal via tele­phone (02) 6266 3486 or via email to DHA.Tribunal@defence.gov.au .  Please note that only those invit­ed by the Tri­bunal to speak will be able to do so. 

The Terms of Ref­er­ence can be found at: http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2011/04/16/parliamentary-secretary-for-defence-victoria-cross-inquiry/

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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