The Australian Government Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal is holding an Inquiry Into Unresolved Recognition For Past Acts Of Naval And Military Gallantry And Valour.
The Tribunal has been directed to inquire into and report on the appropriate recognition for specific acts of gallantry or valour performed by the following naval and military personnel and make recommendations on the eligibility of the naval and military members, as listed, to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the Victoria Cross for Australia or other forms of appropriate recognition :
Gunner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary - Army Aged 22, a prisoner of war who sought to escape after the infamous Sandakan death march in 1945. He was recaptured by Japanese guards and brutally beaten over a period of days before dying.
Midshipman Robert Ian Davies - Navy Aged 18, Australian-born sailor serving aboard the British battleship HMS Repulse. Attacked by Japanese aircraft off the coast of Malaya on December 10, 1941, he was last seen firing at the attackers as his gun position submerged.
Leading Cook Francis Bassett Emms - Navy Aged 32, a cook aboard HMAS Kara Kara, a boom gate vessel stationed in Darwin harbour at the time of the Japanese air attack on February 15, 1942. Despite severe wounds, he continued to fire a machine gun at attacking aircraft. He died en route to a hospital ship. His actions were considered comparable to British sailor Jack Mantle, awarded the VC for defending his ship from German air attack in 1940.
Lieutenant David John Hamer - Navy Gunnery officer aboard HMAS Australia during operations off the Philippines in 1945 when the ship came under repeated Japanese air attack. Over nine days, he calmly directed anti-aircraft defences. One attacking suicide aircraft passed within five metres of his head.
Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick - Army Aged 22, British-born soldier who achieved lasting fame on Gallipoli. Day and night, braving enemy fire he and his donkey carried wounded to the aid station. He was shot dead on May 19, 1915.
Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin - Navy Aged 36, commanded the sloop HMAS Yarra escorting a convoy of merchant ships back to Australia ahead of advancing Japanese forces. Spotting three Japanese heavy cruisers on March 4, 1942, he turned to attack in the hope of allowing the convoy to escape. Yarra's situation was hopeless and Rankin was killed shortly after ordering surviving crewmen to abandon ship.
Able Seaman Dalmorton Joseph Owendale Rudd - Navy One of 11 Australian sailors who participated in the attack on Zeebrugge, Belgium, on April 22-23, 1918. Essentially a commando raid, this was designed to seal off a canal allowing German submarines access to the sea.
Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean - Navy Aged 18, a gun-loader aboard the Corvette HMAS Armidale which was attacked by Japanese aircraft off northern Australia on December 1, 1942. Although wounded, he shot down one Japanese bomber and was last seen still firing as Armidale disappeared under water.
Leading Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp - Navy Aged 24, a sailor attached to the Australian navy helicopter flight in Vietnam, then operating with a US helicopter unit. On May 31, 1969, he was a door gunner aboard a US helicopter gunship which came under intense enemy fire, with its pilot hit. Shipp was observed to continue firing on the enemy position right to the moment of impact which killed all aboard.
Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith – Navy Aged 33, killed while serving as a gunnery officer aboard HMAS Yarra while directing a one-sided battle with superior Japanese warships. Born in Lismore on the NSW North Coast.
Lieutenant Commander Henry Hugh Gordon Stoker - Royal Navy Commanded the Australian submarine AE2 when it successfully penetrated the Dardanelles at the same time as Australian troops went ashore at Gallipoli. AE2 sank in the Sea Marmara and all aboard were taken prisoner.
Leading Seaman Ronald Taylor - Navy Aged 23, a sailor aboard HMAS Yarra who remained alone at his gun, firing continually until killed shortly before the ship sank.
Captain Hector Macdonald Laws Waller - Navy Aged 41, commander of the cruiser HMAS Perth which encountered a superior Japanese force in the Sunda Strait on February 29, 1942. Perth fought until all ammunition was gone and the ship was struck repeatedly by torpedoes. Captain Waller went down with his ship.
*Details of war service found at Towoomba News