Australian War Memorial unveils new Roll of Honour panels

30 August 2013

Today the Australian War Memorial has unveiled three new bronze panels on the Roll of Honour, commemorating an additional 48 Australian servicemen and women.

A historic decision was made by the Council of the Memorial on 6 March 2013 to amend the criteria for the Roll of Honour to include Defence personnel who have died in non-warlike operations.

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson said, “Today is a milestone for the 48 families of those whose names are being added to the Roll of Honour, for the Australian War Memorial and for Australia.”

“In future, when the government of Australia declares an operation which is named by the Chief of Defence, and men and women of the Defence Forces are deployed, should anyone lose their life as a result of that operation, their name will be added to the Roll of Honour,” said Dr Nelson.

Before the criteria for inclusion on the Roll of Honour were amended, members of the Australian Defence Force who had died during or as a result of non-warlike operational service – including peacekeeping and humanitarian operations – were commemorated in the Remembrance Book.

“An ongoing challenge for the Memorial is to recognise the changing nature of war and conflict. Remaining true to the vision of Charles Bean, the Memorial’s founder, the inclusion of these names on the Roll of Honour fittingly remembers the sacrifice made by these servicemen and women on behalf of all Australians,” said Dr Nelson.

In addition to installing the new panels on the Roll of Honour, the panels for conflicts since 1945 have been reorganised in the eastern cloisters, to provide continuity from the Second World War through to Afghanistan. The new panels recognising the sacrifice of those killed in non-warlike operations have been placed on the end wall of the cloisters.

The Last Post Ceremony this afternoon will include the story of Captain Peter McCarthy, one of the 48 servicemen and women added to the bronze panels today. Captain McCarthy, from Quirindi, NSW, died in 1988 when his jeep hit a landmine while he was serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in South Lebanon.  He was the first Australian Army officer killed on overseas service since the end of the South Vietnam conflict. He was posthumously awarded the Anzac Peace Prize, jointly with the Australian Defence Force Peacekeeping Commitment.