Australia — Victoria Cross Inquiry

The Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Defence, Sen­a­tor David Feeney, today announced that the inde­pen­dent Defence Hon­ours and Awards Appeals Tri­bunal will inquire into unre­solved recog­ni­tion for past acts of naval and mil­i­tary gal­lantry and val­our.

“There have been numer­ous acts of gal­lantry and val­our by Aus­tralian naval and mil­i­tary ser­vice­men since World War I,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

“I am pleased that the Tri­bunal will inquire into recog­ni­tion for thir­teen naval and mil­i­tary per­son­nel. Their brave acts of gal­lantry and val­our deserve greater recognition. 

“Their sto­ries are hero­ic. Robert Davies fired at ene­my air­craft, as he and his gun mount slow­ly sub­merged. Fran­cis Emms manned a machine gun whilst severe­ly wounded. 

Ordi­nary Sea­man ‘Ted­dy’ Sheean brave­ly shot down a bomber and kept air­craft away from his mates in the water. He went down with his ship. 

These Aus­tralians will now receive the nation­al recog­ni­tion that they deserve,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

The thir­teen ser­vice­men include: 

1. Gun­ner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary – Army (East Gee­long, VIC)
2. Mid­ship­man Robert Ian Davies – Navy (Green­wich, Syd­ney, NSW)
3. Lead­ing Cook Fran­cis Bas­sett Emms – Navy (Launce­s­ton, TAS)
4. Lieu­tenant David John Hamer – Navy (Mel­bourne, VIC)
5. Pri­vate John Simp­son Kirk­patrick – Army (Shield, Coun­ty Durham, UK.)
6. Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Robert William Rankin – Navy (Cobar, NSW)
7. Able Sea­man Dal­mor­ton Joseph Owen­dale Rudd – Navy (Unknown)
8. Ordi­nary Sea­man Edward Sheean – Navy (Bar­ring­ton, Devon­port, TAS)
9. Lead­ing Air­crew­man Noel Ervin Shipp – Navy (Julia Creek, North QLD)
10. Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Fran­cis Edward Smith – Navy (Lis­more, NSW)
11. Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Hen­ry Hugh Gor­don Dacre Stok­er – Navy (Unknown)
12. Lead­ing Sea­man Ronald Tay­lor – Navy (Unknown)
13. Cap­tain Hec­tor Mac­don­ald Laws Waller – Navy (Unknown)

“A num­ber of peo­ple have raised the issue of a Vic­to­ria Cross for for­mer Defence Force per­son­nel with the Gillard Gov­ern­ment,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

“Through the Terms of Ref­er­ence, I have direct­ed the Tri­bunal to make rec­om­men­da­tions on the eli­gi­bil­i­ty of the list­ed naval and mil­i­tary mem­bers to receive the Vic­to­ria Cross, the Vic­to­ria Cross for Aus­tralia or oth­er forms of recog­ni­tion for their service. 

“I am also pleased to announce that as part of this Inquiry, the Tri­bunal will receive sub­mis­sions from inter­est­ed mem­bers of the pub­lic for oth­er Defence Force mem­bers who may also be wor­thy of appro­pri­ate recog­ni­tion for an act of gal­lantry or valour. 

“How­ev­er, it is impor­tant that these sub­mis­sions are sup­port­ed by appro­pri­ate doc­u­men­ta­tion, not just anec­do­tal evi­dence,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

It is impor­tant to note that although sub­mis­sions for ser­vice­men oth­er than the thir­teen cas­es will be received as part of this Inquiry, they will not be con­sid­ered in detail at this time. 

All sub­mis­sions will be record­ed, acknowl­edged, analysed and referred to the Gillard Gov­ern­ment for deci­sion con­cern­ing pos­si­ble future action. 

“I encour­age for­mer ser­vice mem­bers, his­to­ri­ans, fam­i­ly of the thir­teen mil­i­tary per­son­nel and mem­bers of the gen­er­al pub­lic to take advan­tage of this oppor­tu­ni­ty and make a sub­mis­sion to the Tri­bunal,” Sen­a­tor Feeney said. 

The Inquiry will be head­ed by the Chair of the Tri­bunal, Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor Den­nis Pearce AO. He will be assist­ed by Tri­bunal members: 

  • Pro­fes­sor David Horner AM, Pro­fes­sor of Aus­tralian Defence His­to­ry in the Strate­gic and Defence Stud­ies Cen­tre at the Aus­tralian Nation­al University;
  • 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.

“Before the Tri­bunal can make any rec­om­men­da­tions on the eli­gi­bil­i­ty of the thir­teen cas­es for any form of ret­ro­spec­tive recog­ni­tion, we will have to look at the rules, pro­ce­dures and issues of prin­ci­ple relat­ing to the award of the Vic­to­ria Cross, the Vic­to­ria Cross for Aus­tralia, and oth­er forms of appro­pri­ate recog­ni­tion and the evi­den­tiary stan­dards,” Pro­fes­sor Pearce said. 

“We will con­sult experts in the field of hon­ours and awards. We will also take into account the con­sti­tu­tion­al and diplo­mat­ic issues. 

“Only once this has all been done, will the Tri­bunal be able to pro­ceed to the con­sid­er­a­tion of the thir­teen cas­es. We are expect­ing to con­duct pub­lic hear­ings around Aus­tralia in the sec­ond half of this year,” Pro­fes­sor Pearce said. 

A call for sub­mis­sions will be released short­ly in the nation­al press. Sub­mis­sions to the Inquiry will close on 30 June 2011. The full terms of ref­er­ence for the inquiry and guid­ance on how to make a sub­mis­sion can be obtained at:

The Tri­bunal can be con­tact­ed at: 

Defence Hon­ours and Awards Appeals Tri­bunal
Locked Bag 7765
or via e‑mail to

Fur­ther Infor­ma­tion: Mary Berming­ham, Act­ing Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Defence Hon­ours and Awards Appeals Tri­bunal (02) 6266 3486 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →