Memorial Council changes Roll of Honour criteria

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Today the Council of the Australian War Memorial decided that all Australian servicemen and servicewomen who die on operational service, including non-warlike operations, will be included on the Roll of Honour.

At its meeting in November 2012, the Council decided there was a need to canvas broader community and stakeholder opinion before making a final decision whether to retain or amend existing Roll of Honour criteria.

In announcing the decision to change the criteria, the Chairman of the Council Rear Admiral Ken Doolan thanked all who have provided input about this important commemoration of Defence Force personnel who have fallen in the service of our country.

“All members of Council including the Service Chiefs have canvassed this matter widely and we believe this decision reflects a wider community perspective in a changing world” Rear Admiral Doolan said.

“The founder of the Memorial, Charles Bean, could not have envisioned the world in which we now live, but it is important that we uphold the spirit of his vision.  Members of the Australian Defence Force continue to help define our nation, so it is of vital importance that their service and sacrifice, in all operations, be fittingly commemorated.”

All the names of Defence personnel currently recorded in the Remembrance Book will be added to new bronze panels to be installed on the Roll of Honour wall in the Memorial’s Commemorative Area.  The current Remembrance Book will be preserved as an important part of the Memorial’s National Collection.

The Council will consider at its May 2013 meeting the details and implications of the application of an Operational Service definition for addition of names of Defence Force personnel to the Roll of Honour.  The Director, Dr Brendan Nelson will oversee this process and do so in consultation with relevant authorities but in particular, the Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

The Council has further resolved to reorganise the panels in the eastern cloister.  The Roll of Honour panels for the ‘Post-1945 conflicts’ including Korea and Vietnam will be relocated to a position adjacent to the end of the Second World War panel.  The panel for Afghanistan will then be placed adjacent to it on the same wall.  The panels to recognise the sacrifices of those killed in operations of a non-warlike nature will be placed on the end wall of the cloister.

“This reorganisation of the cloister will enhance the presentation of the Roll of Honour.  It will also provide a physical continuity to commemoration along the eastern wall from the Second World War to Afghanistan”, said Rear Admiral Doolan.

The Council has also undertaken to substantially enhance the display of the Commemorative Roll, which records the names of Australians who died in wars while serving with Allied forces, the Merchant Navy, and civilian organisations.

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