James (Jim) Waters Mallan, President, Gloucester RSL Sub-Branch.
Every now and then at an ANZAC or similar service, you will see someone that causes you from the outset to question the row of medals displayed proudly on their chest. When that person also holds an executive position within the RSL, one must also question their integrity and overall fitness to hold that position.
There are many questions that must be asked of James Mallan.
These photographs were taken at the 2015 Gloucester Dawn Service and later ANZAC March in Gloucester, country New South Wales. Mallan can be seen wearing a well mounted rack of medals, namely:
1. NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Director-General’s Unit Citation (State award).
2. National Medal.
3. Australian Defence Medal
4. Centenary Medal
5. Anniversary of National Service Medal
6. NSW SES Long Service Award (State award)
Established protocols dictate that State awards should be displayed on the right side of the bearers chest They do not belong, and should never be mixed, with official Federal issued medals.
That now raises further questions in regard to the Federal issued medals. Although the award of Mallan’s Centenary Medal (for service to the SES) is listed on the ‘It’s an Honour’ website, there is no record of his having been issued the National Medal. Although the National Serviceman’s Roll is voluntary, there is no mention of Mallan, nor in general is there any reference to his prior Defence service, which one would expect to find something, somewhere, given his position in the community and on the RSL.
Finally, there is the matter of the order that his medals have been mounted, they should appear, from left to right:
1. Centenary Medal.
2. National Medal.
3. Australian Defence Medal
4. Anniversary of National Service Medal.
James Mallan, President of Gloucester RSL Sub-Branch: You have a number of questions to answer, with regard to your honesty and integrity. However, there is no question that you belong on the ANZMI website.
The above photo of Ross was taken at the Cannon Hill RSL 2016 Dawn Service, with his campaign medals proudly displayed.
Ross joined the Australian Army as a volunteer and served a significant amount of time in Vietnam, 594 days in fact. This is an impressive period of service, and for that service he can be justifiably proud, just like the many others who saw active service.
Ross, however, cannot be proud of the fact he has attached a commemorative, or as commonly known, a ‘tin medal’, to his Service medals. Doing such may impress those that do not know, however, you do not fool your fellow veterans.
The Front Line Service Medal was issued by the 2/12 Battalion Association to identify those who took part in World War Two front line actions with the Infantry, differentiating them from other units.
Defence Honours and Awards has this to say about such medals:
“A relatively recent phenomenon medal world is the appearance of a wide variety of non-official medals, generally referred to as ‘private commemoratives’ but also called ‘tinnies’. A non-official medal is any medal that is not listed in the Order of Wearing of Australian Honours and Awards, which was published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Special No. S.101 of 4 April 2002.
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”.
Over the years this policy has appeared to relax a little, with commemorative medals being worn on the right hand side of civilian clothing, and if Ross were to wear this thing, that is where it should be.
Ross has deliberately flouted Government policy in order to give himself just that little more recognition and set himself apart from other Veterans. What he does not seem to understand is that he does not need that piece of ‘tin’ to show his ‘front line’ service as that has been adequately recognised by the Infantry Combat Badge he also wears on his suit.
Stuart Alban Ross, your Vietnam service has earned you the medals that you can be proud to wear, however, by adding a worthless commemorative medal, you have earned yourself a place on the ever-increasing parade numbers on the ANZMI site.
The above photo of Cook was taken at the Koroit RSL 2016 ANZAC Service, where he is laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.
Cook joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1952, serving for 12 years. During this time he spent considerable postings to sea aboard HMA Ships Shoalhaven, Cootamundra, Tobruk (I) and Vendetta.
For his service, Cook would have been entitled to the following medals:
1. Australian General Service Medal - Korea
2. United Nations Service Medal - Korea
3. Australian Service Medal (ASM) 1945-75 (clasp FESR)
4. Naval General Service Medal 1918-62 (clasp MALAYA)
5. Australian Defence Medal
6. Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal
In the above photograph, Cook can be seen wearing a total of 8 (not very well mounted) medals. From the picture, the seventh medal is unable to be identified, however, medal number eight, as circled, is a commemorative medal for service with the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR).
To all discerning Veterans, the FESR Commemorative is nothing more than a ‘tin’ medal, it has no place with authorised Service medals.
So how did this medal come about? Well, people will collect anything and medals have an attractiveness all of their own, particularly when worn in order to impress others rather than just an official recognition of service to Australia.
This was well set out in the advertising spiel of the organisations who produced the commemorative medal.
“To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the RAN's involvement as an integral part of the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR), the HMAS Sydney and the VLSV Assoc (Vic) has dedicated this medal to all of those that served on HMAS ships on the FESR.
Ministerial approval was sought and Navy Office have granted an 'Instrument of Consent' to use certain words/letters on the Obverse side of the medal, thereby making it uniquely 'Navy'.
The design of the medal is a very fitting one, with two uniquely naval motifs included in the design. The first, the quarter compass rose, depicts the North West quadrant, signifying the direction of the 'Far East' in relation to Australia. The second is the symbol of a canted and fouled stockless anchor, superimposed with a scroll signifying the RAN's involvement in the FESR from 1955 until its disbandment in 1971. The wreath beneath the anchor crown is representative of the eucalypt leaves of the Australian bush, and is in tribute to the memory of those that did not return from this service to their country.
The recipient of this medal, whose name appears on the Reverse side, served on the Far East Station in an RAN ship which was a unit of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. And in the fine traditions of the Royal Australian Navy, they served Australia well.”
Defence Honours and Awards policy dictates specifically that such medals are never to be worn with official medals, a policy that is even reflected on the HMAS Sydney Association website and also on many other Navy and Military association pages.
Kenneth Hugh Cook, your lengthy Naval service has earned you the medals that you can be proud to wear, however, by the dis-service displayed by wearing a worthless commemorative medal, you have earned yourself a place alongside the increasing number of Navy veterans on the ANZMI site.
Anthony John (Tony) Flaherty, was born on the 5 May, 1944 at Renmark in South Australia. He is the current Mayor of the District Council of Mallala, South Australia, having been elected to this position in early 2016.
He resides in Two Wells, a small town, 40 kilometres north of Adelaide. He is the President of the Two Wells Returned and Services League (RSL) Sub Branch. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005. He is also the Mallala Citizen of the year 2016.
Flaherty is a glory hunter and a valour thief, who has for at least 46 years, been relating to others, outrageous lies to convince them that he is a Vietnam War Hero.
As a result of these preposterous lies, he was voted in as Mayor of that District in 2008 and again in 2016.
He is now seeking high office within the RSL South Australia State Branch as a State Board Member. He is asking for support from South Australian State RSL executives and members to vote for him at their next upcoming State Board election.
Tony Flaherty is a long time fraud.
Included on his personal resume for election to that office, he has claimed, inter alia, the following -;
TONY FLAHERTY OAM JP
• Regular Army 13 years.
• Army Reserve 10 years.
• Active Service Malaya 1967 – 1969. 8 RAR.
• Vietnam 1969 -1970. Served with 8 RAR in Long Hai Mountains. Operation Hammersley, Platoon Commander role, 8 Platoon, C Company, liaison appointment US Forces at Long Dien.
Tony Flaherty enlisted in the Australian Regular Army about 1963. Following Recruit Training he was selected for Australian Army Catering Corps duty as a Cook. He progressed through the Catering Corps ranks and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
He claims Active Service in 8 RAR (8 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment) Malaya from 1967 – 1969. At this time, he was a member of the Australian Army Catering Corps and not an Infantry Battalion. He was never a member of the 8 Battalion RAR in Malaya. That statement is a lie.
Australian Active Service for Malaya concluded on the 30 September, 1967 and not 1969. Therefore, he did not have active service in Malaya. That statement is also a lie.
In any case, 8 RAR arrived in Malaya in October, 1967. If he was attached to 8 RAR at the time, it was as a Cook in the Catering Corps.
Flaherty was subsequently posted to the then Republic of South Vietnam on the 19 November, 1969. He completed his tour and returned to Australia on the 5 November, 1970.
The above document is a copy of the Vietnam Nominal Roll entry for Anthony John Flaherty.
Flaherty was posted to Vietnam as a Sergeant, with the duties of a Cook, Australian Army Catering Corps. He was attached to 8 RAR during his time there. He was never a member of 8 RAR., or any other Infantry Battalion on this posting, or any other posting during his entire Army service.
He falsely claims that he served with 8 RAR in the Long Hai Mountains on Operation Hammersly in Vietnam as a Platoon Commander. Another lie.
In early 1970 8 RAR took part in Operation Hammersley, a reconnaissance operation in the Long Hải area. This operation began on 10 February and on 18 February it captured a large bunker complex after the Vietnamese Communist defenders withdrew following air raids. The operation continued until 9 March, with the battalion carrying out patrols and conducting ambushes in order to engage Communist troops. These operations were successful, and 8 RAR was awarded the South Vietnamese Government's Meritorious Unit Commendation, including Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation for its role in the operation.
In the above photograph Flaherty can be seen wearing the South Vietnam Government's Cross of Gallantry, with Palm Unit Citation ribbon decoration. (Right side of coat lapel) He is also wearing the Australian Infantry Combat Badge above his medals.
With regard to Operation Hammersley, members of 8 Battalion RAR used hard (field) rations from tins and packets during this operation.
There was no requirement for an Executive Chef or Maitre D where these men were fighting. They were engaged in heavy contact with the enemy in the Long Hai Mountains.
Alas, our highly trained fighting machine Tony Flaherty was not with them on this occasion, and certainly not leading any Platoons of hardened Infantrymen, as he claims.
As indicated, Flaherty also wears the Australian Infantry Combat Badge (ICB) with his medals in addition to the South Vietnamese Governments Meritorious Unit Commendation mentioned above -;
The Infantry Combat Badge (ICB) is awarded to serving members of the Australian Army for service as an Infantryman in warlike operations.
The ICB was first established in July 1970 for recognition of infantry service in battle or on operations, following the decision of the Military Board in January 1970. The role of the infantry is to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and to hold ground, to repel attack, by night and day, regardless of season, weather or terrain. The purpose of the ICB is to recognize this unique role and the particular training, skills and hardships attendant upon service as an infantryman. In exceptional circumstances, the ICB may be awarded to members of other corps, where they have qualified for it as infantrymen.[1
Any member of the Australian Army who:
• was on continuous full-time service as an infantryman at the time of deployment;
• has given satisfactory service as an infantryman;
• has served either a continuous or an aggregate of 90 days satisfactory service on warlike operations for a single deployment or operation; and
• has not been previously issued the ICB.
Under exceptional circumstances, the Approval Authority may approve the issue of the ICB to members on exchange/attachment duties for service with allied units who meet the criteria, and/or to members who would have met the criteria had they not been killed, wounded, disabled or evacuated.
Flaherty does not meet any of the above criteria.
Since Flaherty posted his resume for the RSL State Board election up on the internet, there has been a furious reaction by former senior Commissioned Officers and Non Commissioned Officers, who were attached to 8 RAR at the time of the Battalion’s deployment to Vietnam, and who were directly involved in Operation Hammersley.
We have been forwarded copies of Statements from very concerned former senior members of the Battalion, who state the following, inter alia -;
1. (excerpts Witness 1) Sgt Flaherty was a Sgt Cook and a good one. However,. He was jealous of his peer group wishing to acquire the stature and involvement of an infantry soldier and not as a cook. Though he desired and made no secret about it, Sgt Flaherty never commanded a unit or su¬b unit of C Coy in Vietnam. If he is doing this then it is purely his desires and imagination and it is not true.
2. (excerpts Witness 2) This bloke has been making claims that he ‘commanded’ platoons of C Coy 8RAR for many years. He has even some how wangled, I believe, to get himself issued the ICB despite being posted to 8 RAR, as xxxxx has advised, as a cook. Regarding his claim to have commanded 8 Pl on Op Hammersley, pages 52 and 53 of The Grey Eight in Vietnam, 8 RAR’s unit history, clearly show Lt Chris Sinclair leading men of 8 Platoon as xxxxx has quite rightly stated.
3. (excerpts Witness 3) I have read Tony Flaherty’s claim that he was a Platoon Commander of 8 Pl on Operation Hamersley and find it totally offensive to all who served in that platoon. My memory of these events are clear and I recall that 8 Platoon consisted of Chris Sinclair as Platoon Commander, xxxxxxxx as Platoon Sergeant with Chad Sherrin, ‘Opie’ O’Brien and xxxxxxx as Section Commanders.
4. (excerpts Witness 4)) I served for 30 years in the Infantry Corps and served on active service with C Company 8 RAR as a section commander with 9 Platoon C Company for the entire tour in 1969-¬70. I am concerned of the continuing statements that Ex Sgt Tony Flaherty of the Royal Australian Army Catering Corps (RAACC)is making regarding his war service record, he has made these statements for many years and has been the cause of many discussions amongst the C Company veterans. My memory is clear that Sgt Tony Flaherty was the C Company Sgt Cook and definitely did not serve in any capacity, command or other with 8 Platoon OR ANY OTHER PLATOON at any stage of the tour. The only time that I saw Sgt Flaherty on Operation Hammersley in February 1970 was to visit the 9 Platoon ambush position on the morning of 16th February with the CHQ group after a large action that resulted in a large number of enemy killed. Sgt Flaherty arrived and spent the majority of the short time that the CHQ was there taking MANY photos of the dead enemy until he was advised to stop. I am aware that Sgt Flaherty did accompany some TAOR patrols from the main base at Nui Dat when the company was on operations as part of Rear Details.
Witness 4 states that, “I am aware Sgt Flaherty did accompany some TAOR (Tactical Area of Responsibility) patrols from the main base at Nui Dat when the Company was on operations as part of rear details”
At most, even if Flaherty did accompany some perimeter patrols around the base, he was certainly not on full time duty as an Infantryman at the time of his deployment, and did not serve a continuous or aggregate of 90 days on deployment or operation. (as an Infantryman) He has no entitlement to wear the ICB whatsoever.
These infrequent functions were commonly known as “swannies” in Vietnam. Accompanying trained Infantrymen to patrol a perimeter"outside the wire" as a “rear detail” on a few “swannies” does not justify his wearing of an ICB.
Another witness has provided documentary evidence that at his acceptance speech for the 2016 Mallala Citizen of the Year award, Flaherty informed the gathering, how “he was on Patrol in Vietnam in command of his 8 Battalion RAR Platoon, when it came under heavy enemy fire, and that he had to personally call in artillery support to save the day”. Another lie.
Flaherty was also called to account regarding his false claims, by a former 8 RAR member, who had been seriously wounded in combat in Vietnam. He is still suffering the effects of his injuries.
In this regard, we have another signed statement -;
(Excerpts Witness 5.) “You will note in all cases the individuals making these statements in regards to Flaherty’s claims in two cases highly decorated for gallantry, and in all cases went on and enjoyed commissioned rank. It would be very foolish of the RSL to ignore these statements after complaints had been made by xxxxxxxxxx and a seriously wounded member of that platoon. More so that Flaherty through a Director of the RSL called the wounded soldier a liar. The battle scars carried by this soldier is a bit more factual than the fantasies and stolen valor of ex Sgt Flaherty. Reports indicate that Flaherty has been living this lie for some 46 years and it must be stopped. Stolen valor and false claims of this kind are an insult to those that have done the hard yards, lost close friends, been wounded and in some cases decorated for their actions and this individual is not fit to walk in their shadow let along (sic) be appointed a director of the RSL”.
Flaherty claims on his resume a “Liaison appointment to US Forces at Long Dien”. This is just another outright lie. Can you possibly imagine an Australian Army Cook with the rank of Sergeant being appointed to liaise with United States Army Forces personnel at Long Dien. Maybe he was swapping recipes with our American allies and advising them how to cook up some bangers and mash with damper. Glory be!!!
It is beyond belief that this imposter can steal the valour of so many honourable Australian Infantry soldiers for so long. And not just those still living.
He is an absolute disgrace and should be booted out of the South Australia RSL completely, let alone being appointed to the State Board of the S.A. State RSL Branch, where he would create further disgrace to that organisation, if elected.
He should resign from his Mallalla Mayoral duties immediately, and hand back his 2016 Citizen of the Year award. The Mallala Council and community should notify the office of the Governor General, Canberra, to take action in regards to the Order of Australia award he was presented.
Flaherty needs to publically apologise to all 8 Battalion RAR personnel, particularly the former wounded soldier he offended, all Vietnam Veterans in general, the constituents who voted him in as Mayor, all the members of the Two Wells RSL Sub Branch, and the RSL South Australia State Branch.
He should just then resign all positions he holds. He has no credibility.
In fairness to Flaherty, we sent him three emails, to offer him an opportunity to provide evidence of his claims, or explain his version of the allegations made against him.
We have received no reply.
We continue to expose executive office holders of RSL Sub Branch positions in Australia as being frauds. RSL New South Wales under the new leadership of State President Rod White and CEO Glenn Kolomeitz are trying to do something about it.
Lets hope they get some support.
We look forward to completing an update of this valour thief and imposter in the near future.
Thomas (Tom) Varney was described by a certain court official as being ‘something out of Catch Me if You Can’ when being held to account for one of his many impersonations of a medical professional.
It was his tall stories, of being a returned serviceman that, once again, placed him in the spotlight he seems to crave.
During an interview to perform voluntary work with an ex-service organisation, he stated that he had been diagnosed with PTSD subsequent to a 3 month deployment to Afghanistan in ‘support of the Army’. However, he could not disclose any further information about his tour of duty. Varney also stated he worked for an unspecified Defence Organisation Personnel Support Unit that dealt with complex issues that he could not write on his CV as it was ‘classified’.
He went on to state he had been in the ADF for 10 years, but when questioned about his young age, he provided a wishy-washy answer about mainly being in the Navy Cadets, or an ADFA Cadet. At least he was not telling pork-pies about being in the Navy Cadets, as this picture shows.
If you are curious about why he has a stethoscope around his neck, well, read on and all will be made clear.
Some people are content with maintaining just one fantasy. Tom Varney has an obsession with the medical profession, emergency services and uniforms, in general. Given the amount of evidence that he has left in the public domain, via the internet, the community should be made aware, of his ridiculous antics, and the possible danger that his fantasies pose.
The smiling face at the top of the page is the alleged ‘Doctor’ Tom Varney, on duty at Royal Adelaide Hospital in late 2012, where he not only succeeded in examining a patient, but was able to write a script for medication as well! During the year he was able to pass himself off as a doctor and a nurse, at a number of medical facilities in Adelaide, before being caught.
In late 2013, Varney, after a quick visit to the South Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and payment of the appropriate fee, saw Varney become Thomas John Conley. Of course this required a new Facebook page. On this page he states that he is ‘Tri-Service and served at a ‘highly classified’ Personnel Support Unit at the Australian Defence Force. His latest profile, gives the overall impression that he is somehow, a serving member of the ADF.
Garry Owens was involved in an honourable cause for his fellow Veterans, however, like many imposters who parade their deceit in public, this exposure has brought him to the attention of ANZMI and the likely displeasure of his fellow ex-servicemen.
In early 2015, a group of Veterans set up camp on the steps of the South Australian Parliament to protest the proposed closure of the Daw Park Repatriation Hospital in Adelaide. The above photograph was taken by ABC News when the protest finished on day 161 of occupation by the protesters.
Garry Owens joined the Royal Australian Navy on 28 Nov 64 as an Electrical Fitter. After initial training he was posted to the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III) from the 13 Mar 65 to 20 Oct 65.
At the time of joining the ship, it was in refit at Garden Island, Sydney. However this was curtailed early and the ship sailed on 27 May 65, bound for Vietnam with troops and equipment. This would be the first of many such trips that would earn the ship the name “The Vung Tau Ferry”. The Sydney arrived in Vung Tau on 8 Jun 65 and after three days of hectic unloading returned to Australia, via some rest and recreation in Singapore, arriving home on 26 Jun 65.
This was followed by a period of maintenance and preparations in Australian waters before Sydney again departed for Vietnam, on 14 Sep 65 and returning on 20 Oct 65. Owens was posted off the ship nine days later.
In the above picture Owens can be seen wearing, from left to right, the following medals:
1. Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) 1945-75 with clasp ‘Vietnam’ – entitled.
2. Vietnam Logistic Support Medal (VLSM) – entitled.
3. Australian Service Medal (ASM) 1945-75 – entitled.
4. Australian Defence Medal (ADM) – entitled.
5. Vietnam Logistic Support Forces Medal – commemorative medal and not to be worn with official medals.
6. HMAS Sydney Medal - commemorative medal and not to be worn with official medals.
Owens is shown on the Vietnam Veterans Nominal Roll as having 68 days service whilst serving on HMAS Sydney and for this service is entitled to the AASM 1945-75, with clasp ‘Vietnam’ and the VLSM.
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.
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”.
Garry Owens, you may have been engaged in a worthy cause, but your wearing of ‘tin’ medals and a medal to which you had no entitlement shows disrespect towards your fellow veterans. Your heart may have been in the right place, but what was going through your head when you put on those medals?
You have now earned your place on the ANZMI website.