Updated: 18 October, 2009


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    • Victoria Cross
    • George Cross 

Victoria Cross:

  • Sir Roden Cutler, VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE, has died aged 85 - Victoria Cross fighting against the Vichy French during the Syrian campaign of 1941. Later joined the Australian diplomatic service, and became Governor of New South Wales. He was the only Australian artilleryman to win the VC, and his courage and determination became a byword among forward troops. Roden Cutler served as overseas vice-chairman of the VC and GC Association from 1986 to 1991, and deputy president from 1991. He was chairman of the State Bank of New South Wales from 1981 to 1986, Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South Wales Regiment, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal Australian Air Force. He was appointed CBE in 1957; KCMG in 1965; KCVO in 1970; and AK in 1981.   portal.telegraph.co.uk 22 Feb 02
  • Told at last: a soldier's tale "Mad" Harry Murray, Australia's most decorated soldier, never attended an Anzac Day march. He almost certainly never wore his medals, at least not all of them together, in all their glory. He landed at Gallipoli with the 16th Battalion on April 25, 1915 and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for "exceptional courage, energy and skill" with a machine-gun crew. He won the Distinguished Service Order for leading his company at Mouquet Farm in France, while twice wounded, "with the greatest courage and initiative". He won the VC for an attack on Stormy Trench in 1917. At Bullecourt he won a bar to his DSO and, by the end of the war, the machine-gun private had become a lieutenant-colonel. Bean called him "the most distinguished fighting officer in the AIF". The Sydney Morning Herald Apr 03   Mad Harry - Australia's most decorated soldier.
  • Aussie VC winner to join America's heroes - Keith Payne VC will be in the company of great American war heroes when the U.S. commemorates September 11. Australia's only surviving Victoria Cross winner from the Vietnam War leaves Australia for Louisiana, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society annual convention. Mr Payne was awarded the Victoria Cross for such an act on May 24 1969 at Ben Het, Kontum Province, Vietnam, when he saved the lives of many soldiers under his command. The Queen presented him with his Victoria Cross aboard the royal yacht Britannia at Brisbane in 1970. He also holds the American Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star, while South Vietnam honoured him with its Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star. bordermail.co.au Sep 02

    • Higher honour Keith Payne, the last Australian to be awarded the military's ultimate medal for bravery, reflects on what it really takes to be a hero. Payne was one of four soldiers awarded the VC for bravery in Vietnam. The others were Warrant Officer Class II Kevin "Dasher" Wheatley and Major Peter Badcoe (both posthumously), and Warrant Officer Class II Rayene Simpson. Payne is probably better known in the United States, where he has been honoured with the Distinguished Service Cross (for the actions for which he also received the VC), and the Silver Star for his actions around Anzac Day, 1969. This year he was recognised with an Order of Australia medal for his commitment to young people and veterans. couriermail.news.com.au 22 Apr 06

    • War medal to fetch $700,000 Australia's last privately-owned Gallipoli Victoria Cross could fetch as much as $700,000 when it is auctioned in Sydney. The sale is tipped to break the world record, but the prospect has raised fears the medal could be put beyond the reach of the Australian War Memorial. The war memorial holds the other eight VCs awarded to Australians for service at Gallipoli. The medal on sale was posthumously awarded to Captain Alfred Shout of Darlington, a medal-winning veteran of the Boer War. There are also fears that bidders from Britain and the US could snap up the medal as an investment, even though legislation prevents its export. War memorial director Major-General Steve Gower said he would be "shocked if it does not stay in Australia, because it is so important to the whole nation and the only one needed to complete the Gallipoli set". news.com.au 22 Jul 06
    • Buyer digs deep for Gallipoli medal An anomymous buyer spent more than $1.2 million to ensure the nation's only remaining Gallipoli Victoria Cross still in private hands goes on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial. A world record price, it is double the previous highest amount paid for a service medal - about $600,000 in Britain in October 2005 for a medal won by Lord Nelson's fleet captain, Thomas Hardy, at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. Last night's buyer spent $1,214,500, including the auctioneer's premium, for the VC, the Military Cross and other medals of Captain Alfred John Shout. The VC was won posthumously by Captain Shout, the most decorated Gallipoli Anzac, at the Battle of Lone Pine in August 1915, for leading an Anzac attack on Turkish trenches. Following the sale the Double Bay auctioneers, Bonhams & Goodman, issued a statement saying the buyer was an Australian. "We understand that he intends to work through the [RSL] to see the medals in the Australian War Memorial. "All nine Gallipoli Victoria Crosses could now be on public display as part of the most impressive public VC collection in the world." His grandson, Graham Thomas picture left, who sold the medal, said keeping it in the family home had become too much of a responsibility. He also needed the funds to help his children and grandchildren, and to care of his ailing health. "I think Captain Shout would support my decision to sell it to support his descendants," Mr Thomas said. Captain Shout's medal was sold as part of a set including his Military Cross (won by Shout for leading charges against Turkish machine-gun fire at the Gallipoli landing); Star (1914-15); British War Medal 1914-18; Victory Medal 1914-19 and two medals he won earlier in the Boer War - Queen's South Africa Medal and King's South Africa Medal. smh.com.au 24 Jul 06
    • Kerry Stokes Pays Record A$1.2 Million for Military Medals Billionaire Kerry Stokes, who controls Australia's most-watched television network, paid a record A$1.2 million ($900,000) for a collection of military medals, including the highest British awards for valor. Stokes agreed to donate the medals to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Returned Services League said in an e-mailed statement today. The war memorial in Canberra holds the other eight Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians from the Gallipoli battle of 1915. ``In his willingness to ensure that this significant decoration remains in Australian hands, Mr. Stokes has shown a remarkable generosity of spirit and commitment to our nation,'' Returned Services League National President Bill Crews said in the statement. bloomberg.com 25 Jul 06
    • Stokes hands over last Gallipoli VC Tourists to the Australian War Memorial looked on in amazement yesterday as a media pack jostled to record the handover of the last of nine Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians who fought at Gallipoli. In front of a diorama of the action at Lone Pine, where Captain Alfred Shout was fatally wounded, media tycoon Kerry Stokes officially presented the VC to director Steve Gower, bringing the memorial's collection of VCs to 60. Mr Stokes, who owns Channel Seven, paid $1.2 million at auction for Captain Shout's VC and other medals and said he was a "lucky guy", able to do what any other Australian would have. canberra.yourguide.com.au 26 Aug 06
  • WWI hero's Victoria Cross up for auction Months after the record-breaking sale of a rare Victoria Cross, another one has come up for auction. Lance Corporal Bernard Sidney Gordon's grand-daughter is reluctantly selling his medal to help provide for her extended family. In 1915, 24-year-old Lance Corporal Bernard Gordon joined the 41st battalion in Townsville. The next year he was sent to the trenches in France, where his extraordinary bravery astounded fellow soldiers. Doug Formby of the RSL says Lance Corporal Gordon seized a machine gun post and an entire trench, capturing 40 enemy soldiers, all on his own. "He then single-handedly went to the next set of trenches and he captured a further 22 prisoners and three machine guns," he said. Lance Corporal Gordon's VC is one of just 65 awarded to Australian World War I veterans. Whatever the price, the RSL is hoping this medal will go on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Mr Formby says one of the machine guns that Lance Corporal Gordon captured is actually on display at the war memorial. abc.net.au 24 Nov 06
    • Hero medal may bring $150,000 An Australian War Memorial spokesman said the museum hoped "some public spirited figure" would buy the medal and add it to the AWM's trove of 58 Australian VCs. Mr Gordon was a typical knockabout Aussie Digger who was disciplined for being AWOL five times, breaking ranks, urinating on the parade ground and being drunk while on leave. But he won the VC and Military Medal for battlefield bravery which almost defies belief- on one occasion he single-handedly captured two German officers, 61 enemy soldiers and six machine guns. Australia has had 96 Victoria Cross winners, 13 of which were awarded to Tasmanian soldiers. examiner.com.au 26 nov 06

    • Bravery for sale Granddaughters of a Victoria Cross medal winner are disgusted their extended family members are auctioning off the war hero's irreplaceable battle honour. The two sisters, Margaret Schofield and Judy Burrows, found out only days ago that their grandfather Lance Corporal Bernard Sidney Gordon's medal was to be sold to strangers by a granddaughter from his second marriage. Now too late to attempt to stop the sale, the women are pleading for the highest bidder to donate the medal to the Australian War Memorial. "His second wife then asked could she have them and my Mum gave them to her, but I always said they would end up selling them. The award, along with a Military Medal, was passed to his new wife, Caroline Edith Manley, and the sisters haven't seen or heard of them since. Mr Gordon died in 1963 and the VC remained in his second wife's family. townsvillebulletin.news.com.au 28 Nov 06

    • VC medal sells for $400,000 in Sydney auction  A Victorian Cross belonging to an Australian WWI "maverick" has been sold for a total of $480,000. The VC belonging to Lance Corporal Bernard Sidney Gordon of the 41st Battalion Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) was purchased by a woman acting on behalf of another party who wished to remain anonymous. The medal sold at the hammer price of $400,000 with an extra 19 per cent added as a buyer's premium to cover taxes and commissions, taking the final figure up to $480,000. The new owner is understood to be an Australian citizen. Heritage laws prevent the medal from being sent overseas. The $400,000 price tag was double the figure the auction house thought it would sell for and makes it the second highest amount paid for a medal in Australia. It is also the fourth highest figure paid for a medal anywhere in the world. smh.com.au 28 Nov 06

    • VC medal donated to Australian War Memorial A Victoria Cross (VC) medal auctioned in Sydney last month has been handed over to the Australian War Memorial for public display. A mystery buyer paid nearly $500,000 for the rare medallion, which was awarded to Lance Corporal Bernard Gordon for bravery in France in 1918. Mr Fletcher says this latest donation brings the memorial's VC display to 61 medals. abc.net.au 12 Dec 06

    • ADF silent on Iraq hero's bravery award If Australia is soon to have a new, highly-decorated war hero, defence is not letting on. Speculation is growing that a young, unnamed soldier, who last month helped wounded mates before returning to a burning vehicle and opening fire on Iraqi insurgents, could receive a bravery award, perhaps even the Victoria Cross. His feat of courage took place during a roadside bomb attack on an Australian patrol in southern Iraq on April 23. But defence officials would not say whether any award had been recommended for the soldier. Australian Defence Force spokesman Brigadier Gus Gilmore said it would premature to say anything to interfere with well-established procedures for awarding honours and awards. No Australian has been awarded the Victoria Cross since Warrant Officer Keith Payne won it for gallantry in Vietnam in May 1969. In the latest incident, three soldiers were hurt when a patrol of Australian Light Armoured Vehicles was attacked by insurgents with roadside bombs near An Nasariyah. One vehicle was damaged and eventually destroyed by fire. Its driver suffered a broken ankle and burnt legs and is now recovering in Darwin. Two other soldiers suffered less serious injuries. As the vehicle exploded in flames and careered off the road into a swamp, the unnamed gunner helped his wounded mates onto stretchers before leaping back to his turret to provide covering fire. In doing so he faced danger from the flames as well as two further explosions from remotely-detonated bombs, and the possibility of enemy fire. He returned with his patrol the following day to recover the damaged vehicle and again exchanged fire with insurgents. Captain Tony Copley, who commanded another vehicle caught up in the attack, said: "It was a very courageous thing for him to jump back into a vehicle which had just been hit and was on fire. I can't say enough about him." brisbanetimes.co 10 May 07
  • Medals awarded to Major E. Towner, VC, MC (A.I.F - Australian Machine Gunner)   - Victoria Cross; Military Cross (GVR); 1914-15 Star; British War Medal 1914-18; Victory Medal (MID); British War Medal 1939-45; George VI Coronation Medal; Elizabeth II Coronation Medal  

    VC: L.G. 14 December 1918:
    "For the most conspicuous bravery , initiative and devotion to duty on 1st September 1918, in the attack on Mont St Quentin, near Peronne, when in charge of four Vickers guns. During the early stages of the advance he located and captured , single-handed, an enemy machine gun which was causing casualties, and by turning it on the enemy, inflicted severe losses. Subsequently, by the skilful, tactical handling of his guns, he cut off and captured twenty-five of the enemy. Later, by fearless reconnaissance under heavy fire, and by the energy, foresight and promptitude with which he brought fire to bear on various enemy groups, he gave valuable support to the infantry advance. Again, when short of ammunition, he secured an enemy machine gun which he mounted and fired in full view of the enemy causing the enemy to retire further, and enabling our infantry to advance. Under intense fire, although wounded, he maintained the fire of his gun at a very critical period. During the following night he steadied and gave valuable support to a small detached post, and by his coolness and cheerfulness, inspired the men in a great degree. Throughout the night he kept close watch by personal reconnaissance on the enemy movements and was evacuated exhausted thirty hours after wounded. The valour and resourcefulness of Lieut Towner undoubtedly saved a very critical situation, and contributed largely to the success of the attack".

    MC: L.G. 24 September 1918: " For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, one of the first to reach the objective, he got his guns into action very quickly, thereby greatly assisting the right company in consolidating. He also brought a captured machine gun into action. When one of the infantry posts was badly blown in he went out at great risk and helped reorganise it".

    MID: L.G. 13 May and 1 October 1918.
    Edgar Thomas Towner was born at "Glencoe" station in the Barcoo district of Queensland on 19th April 1890. Enlisting in the AIF on 4th January 1915, he embarked for the Middle East in June of the same year with the 25th Battalion. In March 1916, now promoted to sergeant, he sailed for France. Commissioned on 18th November 1916, he was posted to the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion and promoted to lieutenant on the 24th February 1917. After being wounded at Mont St Quentin he rejoined his unit on 12th October 1918. Returned to civilian life on 16th August 1919, he took up "Kaloola", a grazing property near Longreach, Queensland. On 8th August 1937 he was appointed to the 26th Battalion with the rank of captain. Promoted Major in the early stages of the war, he retired on 21st February 1942, returning to "Kaloola". He was a member of the Royal Geographical Society of Australia and the Royal Historical Society of New South Wales and in 1956 was awarded the Royal Geographical Society of Australiasia.Queensland, Doctor Thompson Foundation gold medal for this own geographical work. He died at Longreach on 18th August 1972 and is buried at Lingwood, Queensland.
  • Australia Major Blair Wark and Private Robert Beatham Victoria Cross Winners Rare VC medals on loan to Qld Queenslanders will have the opportunity to view two highly-prized Victoria Cross medals from next year, after a businessman loaned them to the Queensland Museum. Mackay businessman Neil Jenman bought the medals at a Melbourne auction in 1999. For the past eight years the prestigious awards have been kept in the United Services Club in Brisbane. An agreement between the club, Mr Jenman and the Queensland Museum will allow the medals to be displayed for the public. "I think that medals are awarded to people for bravery and when they die they should go to the country," Mr Jenman said. "When I saw a VC was up for sale and it could go overseas I was horrified, so I asked how I could buy it." The majority of VCs awarded to Australian soldiers are held at the War Memorial in Canberra. Mr Jenman believes the medals should be more widely available for public viewing. Mr Jenman paid $185,000 and $100,000 respectively for the two medals, awarded to heroic young Australians who fought in France in World War 1. Major Blair Wark (left) and Private Robert Beatham (right) were both aged 24 when they were recognised for their brave deeds on the field of battle.

  • Kelly country home to three heroes No patch of dirt in Australia has produced such heroism as the soil around Euroa and Longwood in northeast Victoria . Three men raised in those rolling hills, which are more famous as the home of Ned Kelly, were awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Boer War and at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Two of them, Leslie Maygar and Frederick Tubb, are remembered in the tiny white weatherboard that is St Andrews Anglican church in Longwood, described by Les Carlyon in his epic The Great War as a "token gesture to God in the Great Australian Nothingness". Maygar and Tubb were soldiers and graziers. The third VC winner from the area, Alec Burton, was an ironmonger in a family of grocers from nearby Euroa. His enlistment number in 1914 was 384. Maygar was awarded his VC for gallantry in 1901 during the Boer War; Tubb and Burton earned theirs defending the same trench at Lone Pine in 1915. A third VC was won that day, by Bill Dunston, a Ballarat clerk whose son Keith would become one of Australia's best-known newspaper columnists. theaustralian.news.com.au 25 Apr 07
  • Mackay war hero sells VC medal Mackay's Victoria Cross recipient Keith Payne has made the heart-wrenching decision to sell his medal. Mr Payne sold his VC to the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum which now owns two of the most coveted military decorations in Australia. Several Victoria Crosses have been sold to museums recently for about $1.million. The Maryborough Chronicle is reporting Mr Paynes medal was rumoured to be sold for more than $1.million. Museum spokesman John Meyers said: "One of the things he (Mr Payne) is excited about is the fact that the medal group is staying in Queensland for Queensland people to be able to view it. Last November, The Daily Mercury reported Mr Payne was considering selling his medal for his family. At the time he told The Daily Mercury: "I know it sounds selfish (selling the medal) but, like everybody, I want to be comfortable and live debt free but also help out the family while I am still alive." The Australian War Memorial (AWM) senior curator for heraldry and technology Nick Fletcher said he respected Mr Payne's decision. Mr Payne was awarded the VC on May 24, 1969, for courage under fire during a battle in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. In the battle he organised and led the rescue of 40 wounded men. dailymercury.com.au 19 Jun 07
  • Victoria Cross medal withdrawn from sale A rare Victoria Cross that was to be auctioned on Sunday has been withdrawn because of a disagreement over its value between descendants of the digger who received the medal. The VC belonged to William Jackson, a private with the 17th Battalion in the Australian Imperial Force fighting on the Western Front in France during World War I. A spokeswoman for auctioneers Bonhams and Goodman said the three siblings of Pte Jackson had had a disagreement and had withdrawn the medal from the Remembrance Day auction. "We received instructions unacceptable to us and unrealistic for the lot - they had set too high a reserve price," she said. She said Bonhams and Goodman valued the VC, along with other service medals won by Pte Jackson who had also fought at Gallipoli, in the range of $500,000 to $800,000. Pte Jackson, at just 18 years old, received the VC in 1916 after his right arm was blown off by an exploding shell while he rescued wounded soldiers in No Man's Land on the battle front. He had continued rescuing wounded comrades even after losing his arm. It was to be the third Victoria Cross to have been sold by the auction house in 16 months. The previous two were sold for $1.2 million and $480,000 to Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes who donated the medals to the Australian War Memorial on behalf of the RSL. theage.com.au 11 Nov 07
  • What price one man's bravery A Victoria Cross won posthumously by an Australian army major in Vietnam is tipped to fetch up to $600,000 when it is sold at auction by his family next month. Major Peter Badcoe won the Commonwealth's highest military bravery award for three actions in 1967. On February 23 he dodged bullets as he ran 600 metres to reach a wounded American soldier and treat his wounds. He then led a platoon charge on a Viet Cong machine gun post, killed the enemy, and carried the body of another US soldier back to safety while under fire. Two weeks later he led another charge on an enemy position. A month later he was killed while leading a charge on enemy machine gun positions. Badcoe was a public service clerk who looked more like an accountant, preferred reading to carousing, didn't drink or smoke and was devoted to his wife and three daughters. But the bravery of this quiet man stunned fellow soldiers. A tough US marine colonel who saw Badcoe in action predicted: "Within two weeks he will have won every medal in the war or be dead." Sadly, he was right. The Americans awarded him the Silver Star. Badcoe's medal was one of four VCs won by Australians during the Vietnam War. It was exhibited for 20 years at the Australian War Memorial, along with 58 of the 96 VCs won by Australians since 1900. His family has decided to put the medal up for auction. "It's for private reasons and it was a very hard decision for the family," said his daughter Carey Badcoe, of Bronte. "We hope whoever buys it will donate it back to the war memorial." Ms Badcoe will travel to Vietnam for Anzac Day and, for the first time, visit the spot where her father was killed. The medal will be auctioned at Bonhams & Goodman's Double Bay office on May 20. Head of collectibles at the firm, Giles Moon, said it could fetch between $400,000 and $600,000. smh.com.au 20 Apr 08
  • Remembering bravery in times of war The Victoria Cross, Australia's supreme award for military gallantry, is dead. Yet despite the high regard in which it is universally held, its demise occurred with barely a whimper. As I researched my new book on some of Australia's most outstanding VC winners, I became aware that beneath the surface in military circles there is a rumbling of discontent but no one is prepared to confront the issue publicly. The director of the Australian War Memorial, General Steve Gower, expressed his unease with the wholesale changes to our military decorations when we separated from the imperial system in 1991, but his concerns are more about notions of tradition. Australia's leading authority on the VC, Anthony Staunton, is slightly more assertive. He says the top honour for gallantry now available to Australians is regarded by many servicemen as the "pup" VC. But no one is prepared to break ranks to mourn the loss of  something very special in our military history. Australia can claim 96 Victoria Cross winners from the 1353 recipients since the medal's inception 150 years ago. They have all added lustre to the award, which in turn has immortalised their memories. The medal itself has become ever more prized, its story ever more gloriously arrayed in myth and legend. Today at auction medals can fetch up to $1 million from private and institutional collectors. Australia's first VC winner, Neville Howse, won his award in the Boer War when he rescued a trumpeter under fire who had been shot from his mount in open country. Howse, a medico with the unit, leapt on a horse and dashed out to the fallen soldier and had his own mount cut from beneath him.  Reaching the wounded man, Howse staunched the flow of blood and lifted him on to his shoulders. Then in a series of short rushes he brought the young man back to the lines, where he discovered he had a perforated bladder. He operated immediately and the patient survived. In World Wars I and II, a parade of true heroes like Albert Jacka, Harry Murray, Joe Maxwell, Tom "Diver" Derrick, Hugh Edwards, Roden Cutler and Charles Anderson brought great distinction to the reputation of the Australian fighting man. No VCs were awarded to Australians in Korea but Vietnam saw four VCs awarded, including that to the only living winner, Keith Payne. Yet very quietly in 1991 the whole system changed. On January 15 of that year the Queen and then Prime Minister Bob Hawke signed a document that ended an era. The VC ceased to be an imperial honour. Even the title was changed. It became "The Victoria Cross for Australia" and its new warrant differed starkly from those for the previous 135 years. The new arrangement provided no particular process for recommendation and review up the chain of command, but made the Defence Minister the final arbiter. The minister would almost certainly take the recommendation to Cabinet, and it would be signed off by the Prime Minister of the day. The decoration would only be awarded for "the most conspicuous gallantry of a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy". But those eligible would not only include members of the defence force but "other persons determined by the Minister for the purposes of this regulation". This marks a reversion to the only other time when civilians were permitted to receive the VC: that is, during the Indian Mutiny. But even then they needed to be operating under the command of a military officer. Today not even that condition applies. There may well be a case for non-military bravery to be rewarded with the VC, not least because the George Cross has been abandoned. Nevertheless, by widening the field of eligibility and separating the VC from its traditional roots, the Hawke government can be accused with some justice of devaluing the honour, at least until the new regime develops its own tradition. Some important elements of the VC remain. Hancocks, the London jeweller, will continue to cast and engrave the medals for the Australian authorities; the source of the bronze will probably remain the Chinese canons not the Russian guns, as legend asserts that have provided the metal since the award's inception. But the changes to the VC are part of a larger process which includes the other imperial service awards now abandoned: the DSO, DCM, MC, MM and M-I-D in the Army and their equivalents in the other services: the Distinguished Service Cross in the Navy and the Air Force's Distinguished Flying Cross. In their place, for all branches of the service, have been substituted (in descending order) the Star of Gallantry, the Medal of Gallantry and the Commendation for Gallantry; the new unit awards are the Unit Citation for Gallantry and the Meritorious Unit Citation. War Memorial Director Steve Gower questions the change of designation. "I find them very hard to correlate to the former Imperial Awards," he says. "I think it's important to have our own. But I really don't know why they were not designated the Australian DSO, the Australian MC and MM." Whatever the merits or otherwise of the change, some universal and immutable truths remain: the best VC is the one that is never awarded, because war is the last and the worst resort. Its greatest heroes will always be those who hate it most and wish to end it quickest. And their stories will forever be a treasured part of our national heritage. Robert Macklin's book Bravest How Some of Australia's Greatest War Heroes Won Their Medals is published by Allen & Unwin. RRP $29.95 canberra.yourguide.com.au 25 Apr 08
  • Vietnam War VC sold for $488,000  A Victoria Cross medal from the Vietnam War has sold for $488,000 at auction in Sydney as part of a collection of 12 medals and memorabilia. The medal was awarded to Adelaide-born Major Peter Badcoe for a series of heroic actions during the Vietnam War in 1967. The Victoria Cross, the commonwealth's highest decoration for gallantry, was sold to an anonymous buyer, but will remain in Sydney, the auctioneer said. Bonhams & Goodman chairman Tim Goodman said the medal would remain in Australia. "The collection has been purchased by a prominent Australian who wished to remain anonymous," he told reporters after the auction. news.theage.com.au 20 May 08
  • TROOPER MARK GREGOR DONALDSON AWARDED TO THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR AUSTRALIA Trooper Mark Gregor Donaldson Awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia For most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril in Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group during Operation SLIPPER, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. On 2 September 2008, during the conduct of a fighting patrol, Trooper Donaldson was travelling in a combined Afghan, US and Australian vehicle convoy that was engaged by a numerically superior, entrenched and coordinated enemy ambush. The ambush was initiated by a high volume of sustained machine gun fire coupled with the effective use of rocket propelled grenades. Such was the effect of the initiation that the combined patrol suffered numerous casualties, completely lost the initiative and became immediately suppressed. It was over two hours before the convoy was able to establish a clean break and move to an area free of enemy fire. In the early stages of the ambush, Trooper Donaldson reacted spontaneously to regain the initiative. He moved rapidly between alternate positions of cover engaging the enemy with 66mm and 84mm anti-armour weapons as well as his M4 rifle. During an early stage of the enemy ambush, he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to draw attention to himself and thus away from wounded soldiers. This selfless act alone bought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety. As the enemy had employed the tactic of a rolling ambush, the patrol was forced to conduct numerous vehicle manoeuvres, under intense enemy fire, over a distance of approximately four kilometres to extract the convoy from the engagement area. Compounding the extraction was the fact that casualties had consumed all available space within the vehicles. Those who had not been wounded, including Trooper Donaldson, were left with no option but to run beside the vehicles throughout.  During the conduct of this vehicle manoeuvre to extract the convoy from the engagement area, a severely wounded coalition force interpreter was inadvertently left behind. Of his own volition and displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Donaldson moved alone, on foot, across approximately 80 metres of exposed ground to recover the wounded interpreter. His movement, once identified by the enemy, drew intense and accurate machine gun fire from entrenched positions.  Upon reaching the wounded coalition force interpreter, Trooper Donaldson picked him up and carried him back to the relative safety of the vehicles then provided immediate first aid before returning to the fight. On subsequent occasions during the battle, Trooper Donaldson administered medical care to other wounded soldiers, whilst continually engaging the enemy. Trooper Donaldson’s acts of exceptional gallantry in the face of accurate and sustained enemy fire ultimately saved the life of a coalition force interpreter and ensured the safety of the other members of the combined Afghan, US and Australian force. Trooper Donaldson’s actions on this day displayed exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril. His actions are of the highest accord and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Special Operations Command, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force. defence.gov.au 16 Jan 09

George Cross:

  • WWII military medals sold for record $440,000 A set of military medals awarded for heroism has sold in Brisbane for a world record price. The medals belonged to Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander John Stuart Mould. Lieutenant Commander Mould was awarded the George Cross and George Medal by King George, for his work clearing German sea mines during WWII. He was the first to successfully defuse the German magnetic acoustic mine. He died in Sydney in 1957 and his family sold the medals shortly after. Auctioneer Peter Brooks says the group of eight medals were resold to an unnamed Brisbane investor for $440,000. abc.net.au 23 Feb 04
    • Big price expected for wartime bravery medal A George Cross awarded to an Australian after World War II is expected to fetch up to $120,000 when it is auctioned in Melbourne in May. Tim Pitcher, of Sotheby's, said the medal had been awarded to Lieutenant George Gosse, of the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, after the disposal of mines in Bremen Harbour, Germany, in May 1945. The Age, Australia - 24 Apr 2003


Honours and Awards Database - These databases contain details of honours and awards made to Australians while on active service with Australian forces during the Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation and the Vietnam War. Dec 06


  • War medal anguish Cruel thieves have robbed Sharon John of one of her most prized possessions -- her father's George Medal. She said her father Harold Stanley Phillips was awarded the medal for the extreme bravery he showed when risking his life to save those of his colleagues trapped in a burning tank in World War II. He was a turret gunner at the time in the Royal Armoured Corps during battle in Goch in Germany. The thieves did, however, leave behind the letter carrying King George's signature and congratulating Mr Phillips on his medal. Some of the possessions were recovered by police but sadly, not the George Medal. gcbulletin.com.au 17 Jan 07

  • Award to carer for bravery Brisbane disability carer Laura Daley has been given a bravery award for preventing a sexual assault. Miss Daley, 28, was taking a seaside stroll three summers ago, accompanying a profoundly intellectually and physically impaired young woman on a regular outing. This one was along a mangrove boardwalk at bayside Wynnum in Brisbane. With no other people in the vicinity, a man suddenly blocked their path. What followed led to the awarding of the Bravery Medal to Miss Daley for preventing a sexual assault on her young charge. The citation from the Governor-General’s office tells of how Miss Daley protected her companion by submitting herself to repeated assaults from the man. “Throughout the ordeal, Miss Daley courageously held on to the woman to protect her from harm or injury,” the citation reads. A 28-year-old father-of-two was later sentenced to 10 years’ jail for four separate offences. bordermail.com.au 20 Aug 07
  • Australia Commendation for Brave Conduct

    Australian Bravery Decorations - Bravery Medal (BM) and Commendation for Brave Conduct

    S166.doc (220.5 Kb) | S166.htm (53.5 Kb) | S166.pdf (31.5 Kb)

  • Order of Australia

    Honorary Appointments within the Order of Australia 

    S177.doc (230.5 Kb) | S177.htm (40.5 Kb) | S177.pdf (27.5 Kb)

    S137.doc (206.5 Kb) | S137.htm (33.5 Kb) | S137.pdf (26 Kb)

  • Australia Police Overseas Service Medal
    Police Overseas Service Medal Regulations 2007
    •  Declaration and Determination - East Timor S186.pdf (175 Kb)

    • Declaration and Determination - Sudan S185.pdf (175.5 Kb)

    • Declaration and Determination - Timor Leste S184.pdf (180.5 Kb)

  • Australia Star of Courage

  • Australia Ambulance Service Medal
    The Queen's Birthday 2008 Honours List
    •  Gallantry Decorations, Distinguished Service Decorations, Conspicuous Service Decorations S108.doc (217 Kb) | S108.htm (64 Kb) | S108.pdf (39 Kb)

    • Public Service Medal, Australian Police Medal, Australian Fire Service Medal, Ambulance Service Medal, Emergency Services Medal S107.doc (247.5 Kb) | S107.htm (95 Kb) | S107.pdf (45 Kb)

    • Order of Australia S106.doc (487 Kb) | S106.htm (462.5 Kb) | S106.pdf (222.5 Kb)

  • Australia Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal

    Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal 

    (2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Other Natural Disasters Relief) (Pakistan) Declaration 2008 S113.pdf (326.5 Kb)

  • Australia Order of Australia - Companion

    Order of Australia - Notification That The Governor-General Has Accepted A Resignation
    S 99.doc (211 Kb) | S 99.htm (33 Kb) | S 99.pdf (30 Kb)

  • Australia Medal of the Order of Australia

    Order of Australia - Cancelled award of the Medal of the Order of Australia
    S 77.doc (219 Kb) | S 77.htm (36 Kb) | S 77.pdf (34 Kb)

  • Australia National Medal

    National Medal Regulations 1999 

    National Medal (Approved Voluntary Organisations) Determination 2008 S 70.pdf (343.5 Kb)

  • Australian Bravery Medal

    S146.doc (233.5 Kb) | S146.htm (42.5 Kb) | S146.pdf (36 Kb) A

    Bravery Decorations - Bravery Medal, Commendation for Brave Conduct, Group Bravery Citation August 2007

  • Australian Bravery Decorations announcement 27 February 2006 His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (Ret'd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, has approved the award of the following Australia Bravery Decorations, including one posthumous award at the level of the Star of Courage. You can download or print a copy of the Bravery - Decorations List:
  • Courage under fire earns commandos top honours In ferocious fighting, Commando Sergeant A, under direct fire from insurgents, led a rescue mission to save Canadian soldiers as they came under siege in southern Afghanistan. He did it with "absolute disregard for his own safety". Corporal B helped clear a hostile area of militia to enable another coalition unit to evacuate, killing several insurgents in the process. He did this despite being wounded in the foot by a fragment from a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades. Sergeant A was awarded the Star of Gallantry, the first soldier to receive the medal, which was introduced in 1991 and ranks behind only the Victoria Cross in Australian military honours. Corporal B was awarded the Medal for Gallantry. The two commandos, both with the Sydney-based Fourth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando), served for 12 months with the Special Forces Task Group in Afghanistan. Sergeant A led a special forces unit in a four-hour siege in Oruzgan province, coming under intense fire from local militia as they fought to evacuate the cornered Canadians, who had suffered one fatality. The Australians were surrounded by militia for more than an hour, during which every member of the outnumbered unit was shooting at the enemy as close as 50 metres away. Sergeant A had rocket-propelled grenades land metres away from him, and took a bullet in his headrest while others landed between his legs and his vehicle was peppered with fire.After securing the evacuation of the Canadians by air, Sergeant A again led his troops "with distinction and courage" as their vehicles encountered several ambushes on their return to base. Corporal B was one of six Australian soldiers injured when they came under fire, also in the hostile Oruzgan province. Despite grenade injuries to his hand, leg and foot, Corporal B fought on and cleared the area of militia to enable another coalition unit to evacuate. smh.com.au 27 Nov 06
  • Senior Constable Tim Britten wearing his Cross of Valour Bali bravery medal to go under the hammer A policeman who won Australia's highest peacetime bravery award will sell his medal, the Cross of Valour, at an auction near Brisbane tonight. West Australian senior constable Tim Britten was awarded the medal for his rescue efforts in the wake of the Bali bombings in Indonesia in 2002 but says it is now time to put the past behind him. On October 12, 2002, Constable Britten ran in singlet, shorts and thongs, in and out of the burning Sari Club to rescue a woman trapped under rubble, after hearing the explosion from 800 metres away. He was in Bali on leave from a secondment with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in East Timor and walking back to his hotel when the Sari Club went up in flames. Constable Britten and another man, Richard Joyes, rescued the conscious woman from the venue and then worked for hours moving dead bodies from the night club into waiting trucks. He sustained burns to his arms, deep cuts to his feet from exploded debris, and risked injury from gas cylinder explosions, as well as infection from blood-borne diseases, to stay on the scene for many hours. Tonight the Cross of Valour and another medal Constable Britten was given for his work as a police officer in Western Australia are expected to attract bids of more than $150,000 at an auction in Loganlea. Constable Britten was quoted at the time of his Bali citation saying "nothing good happened that night". brisbanetimes.com.au 23 Feb 08
  • Bravery medal goes to Queensland museum A quaint museum in Maryborough in south-east Queensland has purchased Australia's highest peacetime bravery medal awarded to a West Australian policeman for saving a women from a burning nightclub during the Bali bombings. Maryborough's Military and Colonial Museum acquired the Cross of Valour - one of just five ever awarded - after outbidding a confidential WA institution with an offer of $175,000. The medal was awarded to WA policeman Tim Britten who was described at the Brisbane auction as "outstandingly brave". Auctioneer Clive Johnson - one of Australia's leading medal authorities - said Senior Constable Britten was glad the medal set would be displayed in public. "I'm very impressed and very pleased for Tim," Mr Johnson said after the auction. "Unfortunately he had a rather rough time of it with people giving him a hard time for selling his medals, which I thought was miserable. "Everyone has the right to privacy. "This is a very good result for what I would consider a world record for these medals. "I'm even more pleased that they are going into an institution where everyone can now understand what Tim had to look at everyday." Senior Constable Britten was awarded the medal after 28 people recommended him for bravery. On October 12, 2002, Senior Const Britten ran in singlet and thongs in and out of the burning Sari Club to rescue a woman trapped under rubble. After rescuing the woman, and despite burns to arms and deep cuts to his feet, he continued to work for hours to remove dead bodies from the scene. A total of 202 people, including 88 Australians, died in the bombings. Mr Johnson said Senior Const Britten had wanted to attend the auction but had been called away by work at the last minute. He had decided to sell the medal set - which included a WA policeman award for bravery - to put the past behind him and secure the future for his children. Maryborough Museum owner John Meyers said the medals would be a good asset to the institution which already boasts two Victoria Cross medals. "We are very honoured to be able to get it," Mr Meyer said. "I think it was an exceptionally brave act on his part to do what he did to go in there that number of times." Mr Meyer said he hoped to personally meet Senior Const Britten and hoped he would visit the museum someday. news.smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

  • Rodney Wells will be awarded an Australian Bravery Medal Bravery Award for Dangin Man A man who rescued two women from a burning car moments before it exploded will receive an Australian Bravery Medal for his efforts. In January 2008, Rodney Wells ran to a station wagon which had crashed and was on fire. He rescued one woman then returned for the other. He told her to cover her face before he smashed the back window and pulled her to safety moments before the car exploded. Mr Wells said the only light was from the fire which was burning around the engine area. He has played down his act of bravery, saying most people would have done what he did. He said he did not know the women and only came across their crashed vehicle about 9.30 that night after delivering some livestock to market. Mr Wells, who is a farmer in the Quairading Shire, said the women had been injured in the crash and were unable to get out of the car which was on its side. Not wanting to take all of the accolades, Mr Wells was quick to praise the police and emergency services crews who attended the crash scene. merredin.yourguide.com.au 12 Mar 09
  • POA Benjamin Sime awarded the Medal for Gallantry Sailor awarded for bravery An HMAS Albatross petty officer has been awarded for his bravery. POA Benjamin Sime has done the Navy and the nation proud by being awarded the prestigious Medal for Gallantry in the Australia Day Honours. The medal was awarded for gallantry in action in hazardous circumstances during a waterborne terrorist attack in the North Persian Gulf, Iraq, during Operation Catalyst in 2004. POA Sime said the Seahawk helicopter he was in was conducting a surface search when a coordinated attack occurred involving the two main oil terminals in the North Persian Gulf. “A US vessel was involved in an incident that resulted in American sailors entering the water with various degrees of injuries. “We were called to assist one particular sailor and this involved me jumping 10 feet from the aircraft into the water to assist. “Once in the water I supported the severely-injured sailor until a rescue boat was deployed.”  

    The citation

    PETTY officer Sime gave a selfless and spontaneous display of gallantry on April 24, 2004, under the most hazardous operational circumstances following a coordinated terrorist attack against Iraqi oil terminals, during which sailors from USS Firebolt were critically injured.

    Petty Officer Sime showed outstanding courage and remained dedicated to supporting a sailor in his care without regard to his own safety.

    His efforts and his achievements were of the highest order and were in the finest traditions of the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Defence Force. nowra.yourguide.com.au 20 Feb 09

  • Australia Star of Gallantry

    Australian Bravery Decorations- Monday 17 March 2008

    The Australian Bravery Decorations were announced. The official gazetted version of the Australian Bravery Decorations announcement is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website. A comprehensive list of the Australian Bravery Decorations honours recipients is also available at the Governor-General’s website.        

    VC Our good friend Lucas Gaszewski has created the first Rackbuildder for the ribbons of Commonwealth countries on the Internet, including the Orders and Medals of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. GC
    SSM CD
  • The Australian Antarctic Medal was established on 2 June 1987 to recognize outstanding service by those connected with Australian Antarctic Expeditions. 

  • List of recipients

  • Antarctic Pioneer Acknowledged An Australian scientist who has been instrumental in educating the world about Antarctic flora has today been awarded the Australian Antarctic Medal. The award was officially announced by His Excellency the Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, CVO, MC (Retd). Dr Patricia Selkirk, a terrestrial scientist from Turranurra in New South Wales, was awarded the medal as a tribute to her dedication as a scientist and the lasting contribution she has made to Antarctic research. Dr Selkirk has given selflessly of her time and energy to further community understanding of Antarctic science through her numerous publications and media involvement over many years with appointments on several significant national and international scientific committees. aad.gov.au 21 Jun 04

  • Midwinter's Day 2005 Honours List The Governor-General was pleased to announce the award of the Australian Antarctic Medal to: Mr Geoffrey Reginald Copson of 32 Red Chapel Avenue, Sandy Bay, TAS 7005 For outstanding service in support of Australian Antarctic expeditions; and to Mr Andrew Graeme Tink of 65 Clunes Road, North Creswick, VIC, 3363 For outstanding service in support of Australian Antarctic expeditions. A copy of the media release is available at the Australian Antarctic Division website. 21 June 2005 
  • Adventurer awarded medal A veteran Victorian adventurer has been awarded the Australian Antarctic Medal. Per Brun Larsen, of Cowes on the Bass Strait coast, received the award today as part of the Midwinter's Day Honours List for outstanding service in support of Australian Antarctic expeditions. Since 1994, Mr Larsen has completed 26 Antarctic voyages on the Aurora Australis as part of the Australian Antarctic program. His service includes more than 1000 days at sea and about 580 days below latitude 60 degrees south. On the honours list, Mr Larsen is acknowledged for his breadth of knowledge and leadership in marine science programs. theaustralian.news.com.au 21 Jun 06