Peacekeepers and the Memorial’s Roll of Honour

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Yesterday Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Ret’d), Chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial tabled at a meeting of Council a petition – presented to the Chairman by Mrs Avril Clark, accompanied by Ms Sarah McCarthy – calling for peacekeepers who die on non-warlike operations to be included on the Roll of Honour.  He also fulfilled his undertaking to Mrs Clark to inform Council about their discussions at the time of the petition presentation.

The Council of the Australian War Memorial includes the Chiefs of Navy, Army and Air Force, members of the veteran and ex-service community and representatives of the broader Australian community.  Council members are most mindful of the sensitivities surrounding the inclusion of names on the Roll of Honour and of the need to consult a wide range of stakeholders on these matters.  Council is aware of a number of differing views in the broader Australian and veteran communities and has undertaken to further consider these opinions over the coming months.  This will include a detailed analysis of the comments on the petition presented by Mrs Clark.

From its inception, Memorial founder Charles Bean’s vision included a Roll of Honour that would list the names of all who died serving in the Australian forces during the First World War.  Since then the scope of commemoration at the Memorial has broadened, and continues to evolve.

Today, the Memorial has three honour rolls commemorating those servicemen and women who have given their lives for this country: the Roll of Honour, the Commemorative Roll, and the Remembrance Book.

  • The Roll of Honour includes those who died in war or on warlike service.
  • The Commemorative Roll records the names of Australians who died in wars while serving with allied forces, the Merchant Navy, and certain civilian organisations.
  • The Remembrance Book commemorates members of the Australian Defence Force and Australian police forces who have died during or as a result of service designated as non-warlike or humanitarian peacetime service. 

Currently, 11 of the 52 names in the Remembrance Book are names of peacekeepers; the others lost their lives in other non-warlike operations.  Three peacekeepers’ names appear on the Roll of Honour, as they died on operations classified by Defence as warlike.

Taking all these matters into consideration, the Council came to the unanimous decision to retain the existing criteria but will further review this matter at its next meeting.

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