At any ANZAC Day service there is a press photographer looking for an opportunity to get a photo that adds atmosphere to the meaning of the day and those participating in it. ANZAC Day 2016, at Emu Park in Queensland, provided just that opportunity. Raymond Richard Delaforce looks the epitome of the casual and humble attitude displayed by Veterans on such an important day.
Delaforce served 282 days in Vietnam as part of the 1st Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers, as the Vietnam War Service certificate, below, shows.
An extract of 1st SQN’s service history in Vietnam:
3 Field Troop of 1 FD SQN was deployed to the War in South Vietnam and arrived in Bien Hoa Province on 28 September 1965. When the Australian Task Force was established at Nui Dat in Phouc Tuy Province, the remainder of 1 FD SQN deployed and arrived at Nui Dat on 9 June 1966. The unit was expanded to include 21 Engineer Support Troop, a plant troop, HQ troop, and an expanded RAEME Workshop. In addition, the three combat engineer troops each had an establishment of two officers, a staff sergeant, a sergeant, three corporals, three lance corporals and Sappers to a strength of 65 all ranks. The unit was designated as ”1 FD SQN GP RAE”. The unit returned to Australia in 1972 as a part of the Australian withdrawal from the Vietnam War, and was re-located to Holsworthy.
In the above picture Delaforce is wearing his official medals, all awarded for his service as a ‘Sapper’ with the Royal Australian Engineers. On the left lapel, along with a number of badge-pins, is attached the ‘Front Line’ commemorative medal, not an official medal, in fact nothing more than a worthless trinket.
Above, is a picture of the offending item. The Front Line Service Medal was issued by the 2/12 Infantry Battalion Association, based in Queensland, to identify those who took part in World War Two front line actions with the Infantry, differentiating them from other units. It was manufactured and sold by that Association as a funds raising exercise. They made a lot of money selling this tin trinket to gullible people, who had no association with the 2/12 Infantry Battalion whatsoever.
Defence Honours and Awards has this to say about such medals:
“Medals not listed in the order of wear may be worn officially, on an unrestricted basis, only with the express permission of the Governor-General. As a general rule, such permission is extended only to official awards of foreign governments. It has never been extended to private commemorative medals. Those medals should not be worn at all, and certainly never on the left hand side and mounted with officially issued medals”.
Now, reading the above, one could argue that Delaforce does not have the ‘tin’ medal mounted with his official medals. The thing appears on the left side of his jacket, with his official medals, and anyone not ‘in the know’ would not realise this.
There is also the glaring issue that Delaforce, who served in the Engineers, is wearing an item produced to commemorate service with the Infantry. What was he thinking when he pinned it on?
Raymond Delaforce, obviously the photographer thought it worthy to take that snap of you on that day, as a result of your folly, you are worthy to earn a permanent place on the ANZMI website.