We honour those who made the supreme sacrifice in war, as we do for those who have lost their lives in peacetime. The collision at sea between the HMAS Melbourne and the USS Frank E. Evans is a tragedy engraved into the defence history of both Australia and the United States.
What is known as theMelbourne–Evans collisionwas a collision between light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourneof theRoyal Australian Navy (RAN) and destroyerUSS Frank E. Evans of the United States Navy (USN). On 3 June 1969, the two ships were participating in SEATOexercise Sea Spirit in theSouth China Sea. At approximately 3:00 am, when ordered to a new escort station, Evanssailed under Melbourne's bow, where she was cut in two. Seventy-four of Evans'crew were killed.
On 03 June 2014, a sombre service was held onboard HMAS Melbourne (III), commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Melbourne-Evans collision. The service was attended by a number of invited former members of the Melbourne’s crew at the time of the incident.
Darrell Bruce Horn was one of the attendees.
Dress of the day for the service was uniform with medals for ADF members and suits with medals for ex-service members in attendance. On that day, Horn was the only one present wearing only medal ribbons. “Why was this”, you may ask – perhaps Horn did not want anyone questioning the authenticity of the decorations he had on his left breast that day.
In the above image Horn is wearing two rows of medal ribbons, signifying his being awarded the total of seven medals for his service. The first three, and the only official medals actually issued to Horn for his Navy service are:
1. Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) 1945-75
2. Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal (VLSM)
3. Australian Service Medal 1945-75 (ASM).
The remaining four ribbons, on the bottom row, represent commemorative medals issued by various Ex-Service associations. These trinkets are generally known as ‘tin’ medals, they have no credibility and should never be worn with official medals.
Horn appears very grandiose, with extra medals adorning his chest, apparently representing a great deal of service. However, Horn has already been recognised for this service by the issuing of official medals.
Wearing unofficial commemoratives with issued medals destroys the integrity of Australia's honours and awards system, and demeans the genuine service of the wearer.
These pieces of ‘tin’ are shown in full below so that the public may recognise this deception and call to account anyone wearing those abominations.
HMAS Sydney Commemorative
Australian Logistic Support Forces Commemorative
Regular Force Service Commemorative
Far East Strategic Reserve Commemorative
Darrell Bruce Horn: Your attempt to give an impression, of your being some sort of super hero on this solemn anniversary, displayed a total disrespect for your fellow ex-servicemen. That disrespect, is now displayed on ANZMI, for all to see.
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.
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.
Barry John Townley is the President of the Swan Hill RSL Sub-Branch, a position, that in itself dictates the example to be set by that office bearer as one of the utmost integrity and honesty.
Townley has been very proactive in promoting the RSL within the local community, building up membership and increasing public awareness of the sacrifices of our veterans, through numerous public ceremonies, presentations at various schools and involvement with sporting clubs.
He has spoken passionately about re-instilling the ANZAC spirit in the community, quoted from a school students’ essay, - his role is, “Continuing to teach the importance of the tradition to the community, especially in schools, and involving different ages into the ceremony has enabled us to remember and honour the fighting spirit and soldiers who gave their lives for the freedom of our country”.
However, for all his good work, Barry Townley appears to have dishonoured his fellow ex-servicemen and women, by failing to follow the principles of honour, honesty and integrity, the foundation values of the ANZAC spirit.
The above photographs were taken at various public commemorations and presentations during 2014 and 2015. Barry can be seen wearing an apparently impressive set of medals, namely:
1. Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 (clasp VIETNAM)
2. General Service Medal 1962 (clasps BORNEO and MALAYA)
3. Vietnam Medal
4. Australian Service Medal 1945-75 (clasp FESR)
5. Australian Defence Medal
6. Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) Commemorative Medal (unofficial ‘tin’ medal)
7. Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
8. Pingat Malaysia Medal (not entitled)
The FESR Commemorative Medal is best described as ‘an abomination’, being nothing more than an insult to those who have genuinely earned Service medals awarded by their country. This medal can be purchased like a trinket from a market stall, and is just as worthless, not belonging beside official medals.
Townley had considerable sea service during the ‘Malaysian Crisis’ onboard HMAS Vendetta, as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) and during the Vietnam war, seeing action on the ‘gun line’ onboard HMAS Hobart. For this service, Barry was awarded six medals, along with a number of clasps to those medals and should be proud of that recognition.
The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) is a special medal of service to eligible Australian Service personnel who served from Independence until the end of Confrontation in the security of Malaysia, with the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve,
during the period 31 August 1957 and 31 December 1966 inclusive.
Like all medals, there are set qualifying periods, and in the case of the PJM, there is a requirement to serve an aggregate of 90 days assigned to the operational area. Publicly available records from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) set out the dates of when ships and units were in the qualifying areas. This is also supported, in the case of HMA Ships, by the availability of the Ships Record of Proceedings (ROPs), being available online from the Australian War Memorial (AWM). Naval Personnel records, up until 1970, are available for public access on the National Archives of Australia (NAA).
Having consulted the records from DVA, AWM and NAA, it can be determined that whilst Townley was posted to the HMAS Vendetta, he was part of the crew for the following ‘qualifying’ deployments:
- 17 Aug 64 to 25 Sep 64 (39 days)
- 12 Oct 64 to 02 Nov 64 (21 days)
- 19 Nov 64 to 10 Dec 64 (21 days)
The above adds up to 81 days, meaning Townley was 9 days short of being eligible for the PJM.
He appears not to have been satisfied with six medals, happy to add another two to make it look much more impressive.
Barry Townley, President of the Swan Hill RSL Sub-Branch, welcome to the long list of fraudulent former and current RSL Executives, who appear on this site, and who have flaunted medal wearing protocols for their own gain and attention.