Report of the Independent Review Panel of the End of War List - Vietnam
25 Aug 1999
The End of War List Vietnam was a review of those individuals who had been recommended for an Imperial honour or award at the highest level of Australian command in Vietnam, but whose awards were subsequently downgraded or not made as a result of deliberations in Australia.
Between the end of the Vietnam war and the End of War List, Australia has insitituted its own system of Honours and Awards. Imperial awards were no longer available. The awards granted by the End of War List were to be the Australian equivalent of the Imperial awards which had been recommended in Vietnam.
Ex-Service organisations and individuals made representations concerning the translation of recommendations for the Military Medal, a level 3 Imperial award, to the Commendation for Gallantry, a level 4 Australian award and the exact equivalent of the Mentioned in Despatches which they had already received.
In early 1999 the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, the Hon Bruce Scott MP, announced the formation of an Independent Review Panel to examine those aspects of the translation between the Imperial awards available during the Vietnam War which related to the Australian awards which had been granted by the End of War List, Vietnam to six soldiers. It was my pleasure to be able to ring each of them and let them know what we had recommended.
The Review Panel was headed by a former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr Noel Tanzer AC, and the panel consisted of the National President of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL), MAJ GEN Peter Phillips AO MC (Ret) and Mr Clive Mitchell-Taylor, National President of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA).
The Review Panel made its report on 25 Aug 1999, explaining in detail the development of the Imperial awards system and recommending the award of the Medal for Gallantry to the six soldiers: John Douglas Burridge; Trevor William Byng; Frank Carr Cashmore; Kevin George Casson; Brian John Collett and Daniel John Handley.
The status of awards in both the Australian and the far more complex Imperial awards systems had been confused by reliance upon the Order of Wear, which placed the officer's cross, the MC, far above the soldier's MM, despite the fact that they were both level 3 awards. The Order of Wear also puts the MC above the 2nd level award for soldier's, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, so applying that logic would have meant that soldiers recommended for the DCM or MM would only have received the Commendation for Gallantry.
The Department of Defence, in scanning the report had incorrectly scanned the table of equivalence in the attached PDF. Having done the original research and prepared the actual report, I have corrected this.
Read the Report .