The above photograph was taken at the 2015 Swansea ANZAC Dawn Service. It is the sort of picture that media photographers love – a veteran, deep in reflection for mates lost, as the sun rises on a new day.
Perhaps Jackson is really thinking, “Here I am at another ANZAC service and nobody has noticed I am wearing a couple of worthless medals”.
Jackson accrued 330 days Vietnam service, shuttling personnel and equipment between Australia and Vietnam as a crew member of HMAS Jeparit and HMAS Sydney. For this service he was awarded the appropriate medals, which he can wear with pride.
However, Jackson has chosen to embellish his awards by adding two worthless commemorative medals. These medals are nothing more than trinkets to satisfy one’s vanity, and should never be worn alongside official medals.
Ex-service organisations sometimes commission their own unofficial medals to mark participation in particular military campaigns, periods of service, or types of service that have not been recognised through the Australian Honours and Awards system. Protocol dictates that unofficial medals should not be worn at public ceremonial and commemorative events. However, if they are worn as the occasion demands, the convention is that they are worn on the right breast.
The two medals above are commemorative ‘tin’ originally commissioned by a Naval association associated with HMAS Sydney, “The Vung Tau Ferry”. Before the early 1990’s there was no recognition for the Navy personnel who crewed the support ships serving Australians in Vietnam. Because of this, Naval associations produced their own. The VLSM was later instituted by the Commonwealth to provide official recognition.
The medal on the left was only available to association members who had served on the Sydney and the other is the Australian Logistic Support Forces Medal. These are purchased medals, commonly referred to as ‘tin’ medals. They are mere trinkets.
Of note, the directive, that clearly displayed on the front page of the HMAS Sydney Association website, in bold red lettering, is the following:
“It is advisable that members do not wear commemorative medals alongside their awarded medals. Commemorative medals should be worn on your right breast”.
Douglas John Jackson, it is often quoted, “One picture is worth a thousand words”. Not that many words have been written about you here, however, many may be spoken by the veterans you have disrespected through your actions. That one opportune picture has now earned its place in the ANZMI gallery.