To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Federal Government released a Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration in July this year for all living veterans of that conflict.
The medallion and certificate are a small but meaningful way that we, as a grateful nation, are saying thank you to those who served during the largest global conflict of the 20th century.
Almost one million Australians served during World War II and some 6000 living World War II veterans have now applied out of around 12,000 still alive today. This means that there are veterans out there who are yet to apply, or have a family or friend do so on their behalf.
I've been humbled to deliver a number of these medallions to some of our nation's veterans and hear their stories. One story that was shared with me is that of Fred Bainbridge who recently received his medallion during a special presentation at his local RSL.
Remarkably, Fred is the last of five brothers who all served in World War II. What is even more remarkable is that all five brothers returned from the war.
Inspired by his brothers, Fred lied about his age when enlisting so that he could follow in their footsteps. He was originally deployed to Dutch New Guinea to defend against any Japanese advance and was then sent to Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Fred was eventually repatriated home after being shot in the shoulder.
When accepting his medallion, Fred was overcome with pride and humbled to be receiving the special thank you.
There is still time to apply to receive the Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration, or have a family or friend do so on the living veteran's behalf. Apply online at www.dva.gov.au/medallion or by calling 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) during business hours.
Together let's ensure that as many of our living World War II veterans receive this commemorative medallion and certificate in recognition of their service and efforts that they made to protect our way of life 75 years ago.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel