Harry Kirkman's war story
Kirkman came to our attention in 2004 when an interview about his Navy service was published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. We have accessed Kirkman's service file and determined that as a 17 year old sailor, Kirkman joined HMAS VENDETTA when it sailed to Singapore/Malaya/Borneo as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) Naval force operating in that area between August 1965 and March 1966. Here is a report about that service as told to the Melbourne Age by Harry Kirkman.
Harry Kirkman insists that Two Hundred prisoners of war including women, children and aged persons were gruesomely and relentlessly tortured on the deck of HMAS VENDETTA between the 29th November 1965 and 4th December 1965. He also insists that sometime between 20 November 1965 and March 1966 a riot took place near a British naval base in Singapore in which a British serviceman was killed and crew from HMAS Vendetta were injured. Did these events really happen or has Harry Kirkman concocted a "story" to enhance his war experience and gain benefits from The Department of Veterans Affairs for himself and others?
Harry Kirkman, 65
April 25, 2004
INDONESIAN CONFRONTATION (1964-1966)
Harry Kirkman's greatest escape during the Indonesian confrontation was fleeing "an angry mob brandishing machetes and screaming death to all white men". He turned the wrong corner on leave in Singapore during 1965 and walked straight into "a fully blown race riot where local natives were running towards us whacking any white fella with big stick", he said, "and it looked like curtains". The mob wounded some of his mates and attacked an English officer "beating him to death with bamboo sticks, so I turned and bolted faster than I've ever run in my life to get the hell out of there".
Joining the navy at 15 because "it seemed the best way to help Australia", he served during the confrontation as gunnery officer on HMAS Vendetta, looking for communist insurgents in the Malacca Straits.
"We were the only ship between the communist enemy and non-communist Malays," he said. He tailed 80 Indonesian communist vessels, "loaded and fired very heavy 4.5-inch shells" at enemy ships and "had a few direct hits". His biggest catch was arresting an inconspicuous enemy vessel travelling towards Malaya with 200 Indonesian communists hiding on board. "We held them on the upper deck chained together for five days, interrogated them and turned them over to the Malayan government. That's how we helped win that war."
After the war he served throughout Asian waters on escort vessels Bandanna and Duchess before "stress got to me. Eventually I got a free discharge because they could not control me".
He is married and lives in Sydney.
(Note: Kirkman is not 65 years old - he was born 1st August 1948)
Kirkman has completed other written statements relating to the same or similar incidents, here are excerpts from four other statements he has written.
Statement 1. Undated
On the 29th November we sailed for another patrol returning to Singapore on the 4th December. During this patrol an Indonesian boat with 200 odd Indonesian Army personnel on board were arrested and these people were chained to the Quarter Deck where they were interrogated by Malaysian Army personnel for 5 days. The upper deck was washed down morning and night using fire hoses to clean the area and the people the whole time they were on board. I remember one time during our trip to the Far East I was ashore in Singapore sitting near the gates outside the wharves having a few drinks and something to eat when it seemed like thousands of Singapore natives came screaming up the street banishing bamboo sticks and attacking any British servicemen they laid eyes upon which also included Australian Sailors. Not 15 feet from where I was sitting I witnessed the death of a British Sailor from these people bashing him to the head with their sticks and kicking him. I remember that our leave was suspended until we set sail, which was delayed, due to the number of our ships company being injured during these riots.
Statement 2. February 22nd 2004
During this patrol we engaged an Indonesian boat with 200 odd Indonesian Army personnel on board whom we arrested and these people were chained to the Quarter Deck where they were interrogated by Malaysian Army personnel.
These people were on board for 5 days and we were told that the Quarter Deck was out of bounds. Like all 17 year olds, curiosity killed the cat and the temptation was too great and many sailors investigated what was happening on the Quarter Deck.
Various times over those 5 days I witnessed these people being tortured by the Malaysian Army. They tortured women, children and even the old folks relentlessly for the 5 days. It scared my brain for life what I saw it was gruesome.
We sailed for another patrol on December 8th returning on December 29th. On the 10th December we were ordered to sail toward Raffles Light where we met up with over 80 Indonesian War ships sailing up and down the waterway at full speed.
We were the only allied ship in the area for nearly 4 hours and we were at action stations the whole time as we were unsure what the Indonesian's intentions were so we sailed up and down the coast with them.
The first time I saw these ships was when I had completed my watch in the boiler room and when I came to the upper deck and looked over to the Indonesian Navy sailing what looked like a hundred yards of our starboard I was extremely scared that I would not see home again.
When you are 17 and you are onboard a Destroyer in the Royal Australian Navy nothing gets your adrenalin pumping faster than being on board and traveling at full speed, but when you add the enemy also traveling side by side at full speed, words cannot explain how one felt.
Fortunately 2 of their ships run aground and the British Air force flew over roughly at the same time followed by additional war ships joining us, but those 4 hours I thought it will be the last I would see.
We were part of the Strategic Reserve for another 2 months and we completed another 2 patrols of Borneo before returning home on March 12 th 1966. During this period I remember one time when I was ashore in Singapore sitting near the gates to the wharves leading to the HMAS Vendetta having a few drinks and something to eat when it seemed like thousands of Singapore natives came screaming up the street banishing sticks and attacking any British servicemen they laid eyes upon which also included Australian Sailors.
Not 15 feet from where I was sitting I witnessed the death of a British Sailor from these people bashing him to the head with their sticks and kicking him. I ran for my life with only a few minor bruises and was picked up by the Shore Patrol and whisked back to HMAS Vendetta. I remember that our leave was suspended until we set sail, which was delayed, due to the number of our ships company who were injured during these riots .
Statement 3. 28 February 2005, includes the following;
On 10 December 1965, VENDETTA was ordered " to sail towards Raffles Light where we met up with 80 Indonesian warships sailing up and down at full speed." He came of watch in the boiler room and from the upper deck "looked over to the Indonesian Navy sailing what looked like a hundred yards off our starboard."
He "was sitting near the gates to the wharves leading to the HMAS VENDETTA having a few drinks and something to eat when it seemed like thousands of Singapore natives came screaming up the street banishing sticks and attacking any British servicemen.....not 15 feet from where I was sitting I witnessed the death of a British sailor from these people bashing him to the head with their sticks and kicking him...... I remember that leave was suspended until we set sail, which was delayed due to the number of our ship's company who were injured during these riots."
Statement 4. 27 June 2007 - On the 20th June 2007 we wrote to Kirkman telling him that we had received reports questioning his account of events that occurred on VENDETTA in 1965 1966. He sent us the following email
----- Original Message -----
From: Harry Kirkman
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 4:47 PM
Subject: Harry Kirkman
Now we will study records from HMAS VENDETTA's FESR service to see if Kirkman's version of events gel with the official version. The documents we have are:
Reports of Proceedings (ROPs)
The Captain of HMAS Vendetta sent detailed monthly reports to his Admiral, these reports are known as "Reports of Proceedings" ROPs, they include details of day-by-day occurrences about his ship, including movements, operations, morale, social occasions and any other activities. We have copies of each of these reports for the entire deployment.
Statement from the Captain of HMAS VENDETTA
Vice Admiral D W Leach AC CBE LVO RAN (Rtd) in 1965 held the rank of Commander and was the Captain of VENDETTA, we have a statement from Admiral Leach denying any knowledge of a riot in Singapore during VENDETTA's FESR service.
Statement from the Executive Officer HMAS VENDETTA
Admiral M W Hudson AC RAN (Rtd) (now deceased) was the executive officer of VENDETTA in 1965 holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander, we have statements from Admiral Hudson detailing events surrounding Kirkman's statements about the "mistreatment of Two Hundred communist prisoners of war".
Research from Commodore PM Mulcare RAN Rtd
Commodore Mulcare, produced a report in relation to many of the claims made by Kirkman. Commodore Mulcare summarised his report as follows:
"I have not found any evidence to support the claims by Mr xxxxxxx and Mr Kirkman that there was a riot in Sembawang (Singapore) in March 1966, that they witnessed the violent death of a British 'redcap' or a British sailor and that HMAS VENDETTA delayed sailing because a number of sailors from the ship had been injured in the riot."
"I have not found any evidence to support Mr XXXXXXXX's claim that the Sembawang riot occurred in November 1965, resulting in the ship's sailing being delayed because a number of the crew were injured".
"There is no evidence to support the claims by Mr Kirkman and Mr XXXXXX that Indonesian prisoners were taken onboard HMAS VENDETTA, for a period of five days according to Mr Kirkman, where they were beaten and tortured by Malaysian soldiers."
"I have also examined HMAS VENDETTA's crew list* for the ship's 1965/1966 deployment to the Far East. It was customary for ships patrolling the Singapore Malacca Straits to carry an interpreter, usually a Malaysian junior sailor. The interpreter from 29 November 1965 was ORO SMN B G Ibrahim. He was the only Malaysian serviceman onboard on 30 November 1965.
*The crew list is held in the Naval Personnel Records Section of the Department of Defence, it lists all the personnel who were onboard when the ship sailed from Sydney and all changes that occurred until the ship returned to Sydney at the end of the deployment
Commodore Mulcare's report also includes direct evidence of conspiracy by three sailors to commit fraud - in this paragraph;
" Mr X X XXXXXXX's Statement
In his statement Mr XXXXXX says he was ashore with Mr xxxxxxx and Mr Kirkman about 20 November 1965 when the alleged Sembawang riot occurred. He said "we escaped with a few bruises, one RN sailor apparently died that night. We were rescued by the Military Police and returned to the ship. A number of our crew were injured which delayed our departure from Singapore." He also claimed that families from the MURIARA (sic) were brought on board VENDETTA and "beaten up by Malay soldiers we carried on board."
Report from the Office of the Navy History Section, Sea Power Centre – Australia Department of Defence, CANBERRA ACT
This organisation summed up VENDETTA's 1965 1966 FESR operations as follows: "For HMAS Vendetta and her ship's company, the periods spent on patrol were generally uneventful."
A Statutory Declaration held by ANZMI declaring that Kirkman conspired with others to produce false declarations for the purpose of claiming benefits from The Department of Veterans Affairs.
Report from a HMS Terror personnel
These people were posted to the land based RN facility HMS Terror in Singapore during 1965 and 1966 when Kirkman and others experienced "a riot where a British officer was murdered.
These people told us: inter alia " I lived in Singapore until 1966 and the only riots I remember were in 1963 but they happened outside of the Naval Base Gates and as far as I am aware not at HMS Terror. I do not remember anything at all about any problems in 1965.
A British sailor working at HMAS Terror in 1965 told us: "Wish I could be of some help mate but I don't have any evidence for you. There were fights quite often with drunk matelots coming off shore at the dockyard gates but as for a riot, I must have missed it.. We did quite a bit of training in Terror for just such events but we never had to use it ."
Research by ANZMI investigators
Our investigators have researched Kirkman's claims, including searching the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times , where details of all events and riots in Singapore's post WW ll history have been reported.
A sailor from the Vendetta told us: I cant remember any race riots I think there was a demonstration and we were told to stay away from it but no one from vendetta was injured that I can recall. He further said: "There was definitely no 200 communist prisoners onboard or tortured".
Kirkman's Service file was also accessed from National Archives and his record of service scrutinised.
ANALYSIS OF HARRY'S WAR STORY
We can now compare Kirkman's statements with evidence we have gathered. Here are the Kirkman claims that we say are lies
Involved in a race riot in Singapore on or about the 20 November 1965 or March 1966 (The dates differ depending on who is telling the story) " not 15 feet from where I was sitting I witnessed the death of a British Sailor from these people bashing him to the head with their sticks and kicking him. I ran for my life with only a few minor bruises and was picked up by the Shore Patrol and whisked back to HMAS Vendetta. I remember that our leave was suspended until we set sail, which was delayed, due to the number of our ships company who were injured during these riots" .
HMAS VENDETTA during this cruise tied up in Singapore on eleven different occasions and visited Hong Kong twice. There was no civil unrest in Singapore during late 1965, early 1966. We can find no historical evidence where a British Naval person was killed and Australian Sailors injured. There is no mention in any of the seven, Captain's Monthly Reports of Proceedings (RoPs) of injuries to VENDETTA sailors resulting in a delay of departure from Singapore. There is no doubt that had this event occurred it would have been included in a monthly RoPs. For instance - The Vendetta report for October 1965 reported that "whilst tied up in Hong Kong on the 10 th October 1965, shore leave was restricted for the crew, because of the possibility of civil unrest during the celebration of the Founding of Communist China ." On this occasion, a Concert Group entertained the crew on the wharf; this was paid for from the ships welfare fund. Because of the concern by the Captain about civil unrest in Hong Kong it is most unlikely that he would have not mentioned civil unrest in Singapore where his crew were directly involved, some being injured and a British Naval person killed.
We believe the episode is a lie that has very serious implications for Kirkman and others. We are reliably advised that Kirkman and other sailors from the same ship may have conspired to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs by using this and other imagined events in claims for benefits.
The history of Singapore Riots is well documented as part of the history of Singapore. There have been no riots involving Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Singapore's then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew declared on 9 August 1964 that Singapore was a sovereign, democratic and independent State. Singapore had no problem with the United Kingdom when Kirkman first arrived in Singapore in late August 1965. There are no records of racial tension between "Singapore natives and "White fellas" (as described by Kirkman). The Captain of the VENDETTA knew nothing about the "riot", his injured sailors, or the delay in sailing because of their injuries. Any delays in sailing would have been included in the RoPs, for instance in paragraph 30 of his February 1966 report the Captain says:
"VENDETTA, in company with H.M.A.S. DUCHESS, sailed from Singapore Naval Base at 2200 on the evening of the 24 th bound for Darwin, the original time of sailing having been delayed four hours by the successes of sailors from both ships in the Boxing Finals of MILLSPORT.
Below is a copy of a letter written by Vice Admiral Leach on the 7th February 2007 Denying that the riot took place:
Kirkman's statements together with statements from other sailors of their involvement in a race riot in Singapore on or around the 20 th November 1965 or March 1966 are false, we assert that these sailors made these declaration in relation to claiming benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and they know that their declarations are false.
In his statement of the 27 June 2007 Kirkman seems to have forgotten the most important aspect of the riot, that "a British sailor was murdered fifteen feet from where he was sitting" In addition, there are four variations to where and when the "riot" occurred depending on which statement you read.
1. Turned the wrong corner on leave in Singapore.
2. Sitting near gates to the wharves
3. I was at the gates of HMS Terror.
4. Kirkman infers that the riot occurred during March 1966, others claim it was on or about the 20 November 1965
Held Two Hundred communist insurgents including women and children chained to the deck of VENDETTA where they were gruesomely tortured.
If this allegation were true the Captain of VENDETTA should be charged with war crimes.
Vice Admiral Leach is one of the finest Naval officers ever to serve Australia and for Kirkman and others to declare by Statutory Declaration that he allowed women and children to be gruesomely tortured on VENDETTA during FESR service in 1965 1966 is scurrilous, un- Australian and inexcusable.
Para 27 of the November 65 RoP, says nothing in relation to the 200 prisoners chained to the quarterdeck.
"After a command Team briefing at Fleet headquarters on Friday 26th, VENDETTA sailed for MALACCA Straights patrol on Monday 29th, expecting to return to Singapore by Saturday 4th December. The highlight of the patrol to date has been the assistance in the arrest of an Indonesian coaster by K.D SRI PERLIS (a Malaysian Naval vessel) off Cape Rachado on the evening of the 30th November. This was reported in my Restricted Message D.T.G. 020945Z"
Paras 3 and 4 of the December 65 Rops.
"The first four days of December were spent on Malacca Straits patrol in the Sembilan Islands, Cape Rachado, and Pulau Bengkalis areas. the ship refueled from F.F.A. EDDYROCK on Thursday 2nd"
"At 0800 on Saturday 4th the Bengkalis deterrent patrol was completed and VENDETTA proceeded to Singapore berthing at 1445 on HMAS DUCHESS at number 6 Berth"
Admiral M W Hudson AC RAN (Rtd) – (now deceased) was the Executive Officer aboard VENDETTA during the 65/66 FESR cruise. In June 2004 he made a statement in relation to several claims including one " that families from the MUTIARA were taken onboard HMAS Vendetta and tortured. Admiral Hudson said"
It is obvious that this whole episode is a conspiracy hatched by Kirkman and others to gain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They have committed details of the "gruesome torture of women and children on the deck of VENDETTA in November/December 1965" to Statutory Declarations full well knowing that their Statements are false.
It is also relevant that in his last statement of the 27 June 2007 he reduced the number of "prisoners chained on deck" from Two Hundred to Seventy.
Served during the confrontation as gunnery officer on HMAS Vendetta.
Kirkman was an Able Seaman Mechanical Engineer or better known as a Stoker. Stokers don't fix engines or do any mechanical work they are the roust-a-abouts of the engine room. If guns were fired their "Action Station" may be helping to supply ammunition from ships magazine to Guns. A Gunnery Officer is a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Navy, Kirkman was a junior sailor, who would not have been allowed anywhere near a Ships Gun. In fact there were only two Gunnery Officers onboard VENDETTA and they were the Captain and the Executive Officer. Kirkman says in his statement number 4. "Whoever lays claim that I posed as a gunnery officer is a bloody liar". That aspect was very clearly reported in the Melbourne Age and the reporter wrote what he was told by Kirkman.
Fired 4.5 inch shells at enemy ships and sunk some.
The Office of the Navy History Section, Sea Power Centre – Australia Department of Defence, CANBERRA ACT, said
"HMAS Vendetta did not engage, nor did hostile forces engage her, during Confrontation. The ship did conduct what was reported as a naval gunfire support firing exercise in Wallace Bay in North Borneo on 12 November 1965.
The RoP said in relation to the fire support exercise. Paragraph 15 to November 1965 RoP – "On completion of patrol on the night of 11/12th VENDETTA anchored in the approaches to WALLACE BAY for a naval gunfire support firing exercise. This was successfully carried out, spotting being provided by the Royal Artillery Regiment."
On the 10th December we were ordered to sail toward Raffles Light where we met up with over 80 Indonesian War ships sailing up and down the waterway at full speed . We were unsure what the Indonesian's intentions were so we sailed up and down the coast with them…….. .when I came to the upper deck and looked over to the Indonesian Navy sailing what looked like a hundred yards of our starboard I was extremely scared that I would not see home again.
Well Harry the Indonesian Navy never had 80 ships to sail up and down at full speed. If they did it would have been one of the greatest Naval Armadas since the Spanish Fleet had a go at Britain in the year 1588. Let's see what the Captain of HMAS VENDETTA said about this "massive international incident"
para 8 of the RoPs for the month of December 1965
"A day patrol between Tanjong Ayam anbd St. John's Light was carried out on Thursday 9th shifting to the Horsburgh Light area at dusk. Two Indonesian Warship sightings were made that day, one Riga and one Kronstadt proceeding westwards from the Rhio Strait."
para 11 of the December 1965 Report
"After the night patrol of 11/12th VENDETTA proceeded up the Kuals Johore and at 0800 anchored off Loyan. Banyan Beach parties were landed on Pulau Serangoon at 1030 for a day on the beach, however, as a result of further Indonesian Warship movements VENDETTA was sailed with despatch for the Singapore Straits, getting under way at 1345 after recovering the parties. On arrival in the Straits the Indonesian Warships, two Skories and one Riga class were sighted proceeding south westwards down the Phillip Channel. It was later discovered that the Riga class destroyer, KAKIALIA had run aground on the Helen Mar reef."
In Kirkman's statement of the 27 June 2007 he says
"The flotilla of Indonesian Naval war ships occurred when we were on duty and were called to sea. We left many sailors behind on the beach as at the time the lucky few were enjoying a "ban yan" (beach bar-b-q) and we did not have time to pick the guys up."
The RoPs clearly show that the ship recovered all of those at the "ban yan party" and got "under way" at 1345 hrs
At no time did any of the Indonesian vessels make threatening manoeuvres or gestures towards VENDETTA whilst being photographed in the embarrassing situation of having run aground. Harry's declaration describing a major naval operation of an extremely dangerous nature is false
The Captain reported sighting three different Indonesian vessels - he obviously missed the other seventy seven that Harry "saw" one hundred metres off the starboard, sailing up and down the waterway at full speed.
It is also notable that Kirkman changed the distances of the "enemy" ships from 100 metres in his early reports to 1,500 metres in the report of the 27 June 2007.
This is simply another episode of falsely declaring a "Severe Stressor" type situation for the purpose of claiming a benefit from The Department of Veterans Affairs.
We were the only ship between the communist enemy and non-communist Malays.
HMAS VENDETTA was part of a fleet of Commonwealth ships operating in the region as Strategic Reserve Service (SRS). In fact there were twenty six other ships three submarines and one Shackleton Bomber (used for aerial observation) that we were able to count. These were :
RN HMS, Tamar, Euryalas, Ark Royal, Falmouth,
Brighton, Lanton, Woolaston, Blackpool,
Albion, Manxman, Nubian, Triumph, Dido
RN Subs Oberon, Ambush, Anchorite
RFA Tide Reach, Gold Ranger, Eddyrock, Wave Sovereign,
KD Hang Tuah
Harry Kirkman and his co-conspirators seem to subscribe to the theory "the more often something is said the more likely it will be believed", and also "the bigger the lie the more likely it will be believed." Three separate sailors from the 1965-1966 HMAS VENDETTA FESR operations have formally declared "Stressor" inducing events occurred whilst they were crew on VENDETTA. It is most likely that they have all knowingly made false declarations to gain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
We are reliably advised that in the 1960s era Statutory Declarations were a very common document in the Royal Australian Navy; any minor indiscretion could be rectified by a few slick words on a "Stat Dec". Because of such common usage, perhaps some sailors have forgotten that the law will not be your friend if you are detected knowingly lying on a Statutory Declaration.
The small print shown on a New South Wales Statutory Declaration says as follows:
"A person who wilfully makes a false statement in a statutory declaration under the Statutory Declarations act 1959 as amended is guilty of an offence against the Act, the punishment for which is a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both if the offence is prosecuted summarily, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years if the offence is prosecuted upon indictment .
But that is just the start, followed by all the criminal offences committed by the perpetrators of these false claims if benefits have been paid to anyone, as a result of the claims, by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It matters not whether the statements on the Declarations were accepted as true or rejected as false by the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), what matters is that Kirkman and others may have knowingly made false declarations for the purpose of gaining benefit from the DVA.
Kirkman not only committed a false history of HMAS VENDETTA's 1965/66 FESR service to Statutory Declarations he also made statements to the Age newspaper to enhance his war service with information that fitted nicely into the lies put forward by Statutory Declaration to claim benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Harry Kirkman, holds responsible leadership positions in the veteran community, if you type his name into an internet search engine he appears in many different Australian veteran support roles. Initiating false Statutory Declarations about his "war" service is hardly a good trait for a leader, especially when his lies bring disrepute to the senior service and brands his Captain as a war criminal, because, according to Kirkman, the Captain allowed the torture of women and children on his quarterdeck between the 29 th November 1965 and 4th December 1965.
We have received numerous reports about Kirkman similar to the one shown below:
"Harry Kirkman, whilst the sub-branch President of St Mary's, openly bragged to all and sundry that he was made a TPI (Totally and Permanently Incapacitated) was involved in a riot whilst serving on HMAS Vendetta during which a British MP was killed. He and a number of sailors were posted to Vendetta before being escorted back onto Vendetta".
It is common knowledge that Harry Kirkman and another sailor made Statutory Declarations in support of a veteran claiming a severe stressor for the "riot incident". These Statements are known to be false. The riot did not happen, nor were Two Hundred communists including women and children tortured on the deck of HMAS VENDETTA,
We have on our web site another sailor who produced "Severe Stressor" evidence "to order", for DVA claims, this is the infamous "China" Hammal, who will remain on our site for the rest of his life as will Kirkman and when we get around to it the other Kirkman conspirators.
There is no place in the veteran community for dishonest leaders. Kirkman has pushed himself to a position of leadership and then taken advantage of his influence and position to gain benefits from DVA for himself and others.
The weight of evidence is very much against Kirkman. Evidence from:
1.Three high ranking Naval Officers.
2. The Office of the Naval History Section, Sea Power Centre
3. History of riots in Singapore and the Straits Times newspaper
4. Reports from HMS Terror where the "riot" was supposed to
5. Reports of Proceedings from HMAS VENDETTA.
6. Statutory Declarations from individuals.
7. ANZMI Investigators.
The above evidence shows that Kirkman is a liar and fraudster and that he has conspired with others in his fraudulent behaviour.
Kirkman by his false statements has brought dishonour on the Officers and crew of VENDETTA and on the Navy generally.
Another side effect of this unhappy saga is that by his fraudulent actions as a pensions advocate, Kirkman may have brought the Department of Veterans' Affairs Training & Information Program ( TIP) into disrepute. There are a large number of very dedicated men and women TIP trained Pension Officers and Advocates who have voluntarily taken on this onerous task of assisting ex and serving members of the Australian Defence Force who are in great need of representation . It is very important that the scurrilous few who defraud the system are brought to light by the veteran's community themselves and the Federal Government guarantees that offenders are prosecuted to preserve the integrity of the Veterans Pensions system.
Remember Newtons third law:
- For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction -
Let's hope that in this instance the "equal and opposite reaction" comes from - The veteran community - Department of Veterans Affairs - The State and Federal Police and that retribution is swift and meaningful.
Harry Kirkman – Unrepentant liar.
Harry Kirkman is an unrepentant liar, cheat and wannabe. In two emails dated 29 June 2009 he “dons” the mantle of a sagacious adviser about matters relating to the Veterans Review Board (VRB).
He was originally listed on this web site as a liar and a wannabe in regard to his lies and gross exaggeration of his FESR service on HMAS Vendetta. His lies attack the fabric of the integrity of HMAS Vendetta Crew during FESR service. If his assertions were true the Captain and many of the crew would be guilty of war crimes. Our original listing is also about how he signed and submitted false Statutory Declarations on behalf of another sailor to the VRB
After you have read the initial ANZMI report it is hard to believe how Kirkman would have the gall and lack of integrity to avow that all he had said about his FESR service was true. On the 2nd June 2008 he said in an email
From: Harry Kirkman
Sent: Monday, 2 June 2008 9:17 PM
Subject: The vicious lies of xxxx xxxxxx
Against my better judgement I had a look at the xxxxxxxxweb site tonight and I find my name is still plastered all over it with crap like "HARRY KIRKMAN NO LONGER A DIRECTOR AT ROOTY HILL RSL CLUB".
The fact is my name has been listed on the wannabee site ANZMI. This site is suppose to deal with frauds in the Veteran Community. I.e. Guys wearing medals they are not entitled to or claims from guys that they went to Vietnam when in fact they never left their mother's tit.
I wear 6 medals all supplied by the Australian Government so I guess I have not been named and shamed by xxxxxxxx because I am wearing medals I am not entitled. I was on HMAS Vendetta when it was on duty in the Far East during the Malay Emergency and I went to Vietnam during the same trip to the FESR. I turned 17 1 month before our first patrol in Borneo.
Why was I listed on the ANZMI Site, simply put because I submitted a statutory Declaration for a Veteran who had joined and served with me on the Vendetta for his VRB hearing.
The point is VRB hearing documentation is not public domain information. How did xxxxxxx get his hands on this document? I did not give him a copy and nor did the Veteran so either he received the document from the VRB or from the Advocate.
Let us look at the document and I will swear on a stack of bibles that I have not lied. My statement may not be 100% correct either and that I will not make an excuse for because what I have stated is what I remember as a 17 year old boy who was serving on the front line of defence for my country and those memories are embedded in my mind.
xxxxxxx is a hypocrite, he took the time and made the effort to dissect the memory of a 17 year old which happened well over 40 years ago and make out that I was lying to make monetary gain. This was not my VRB we are talking about, this is my account of the events which I signed a statutory declaration which has ramifications if found to be false. I stand by this document.
(Note: Irrelevent paragraphs have been deleted)
Kirkman has not denied that his Statutory Declarations were false (criminally so). He says like a spoilt child - “It’s not fair you weren’t supposed to read what I said”
We don’t know whether Kirkman includes in his “I Stand By this document” statement all of the crap about relentlessly torturing women and children aboard HMAS Vendetta for five days. Or his lies about witnessing the murder of a British serviceman during a “riot” (that never happened) in Singapore.
In an email of 29 June 2009 Kirkman becomes the great adviser on matters VRB, and in one paragraph says
Personally, I would not lodge a claim for a Veteran if he/she did not suffer from the condition however when doing the claim the Veteran may say he is suffering from an illness but when it is investigated further by DVA sometimes the condition may not be present or as severe as the Veteran makes out as to the information DVA have raised however at the VRB I have the opportunity to supply fresh material including up-to-date medical reports and I present the facts to the VRB as I see them and they can ask the Veteran any questions that they believe will enhance his claim. DVA do not get that opportunity mate, DVA can only go off what has been written.
Kirkman, although being of proven dubious character has found solace in communicating with a group who call themselves the Mad Galahs, many of the Mad Galahs like Kirkman are proven liars who lack credibility.
No person of sound mind could ever read our report about Kirkman and view him in any other way than being an unrepentant liar, wannabe and a scoundrel.
We will relentlessly pursue Kirkman until he has owned up to his lies and apologized to the Captain and crew of HMAS Vendetta and the Veteran community
As a Veteran’s Advocate all that Kirkman puts before DVA, VRB or AAT should be viewed with great suspicion.
Kirkman says he would swear on a stack of bibles that he has not lied. We all know that he has.
Kirkman is a liar.
This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.
- North Island
Jack Keinzley - Masterton New Zealand
Nahhhhh this fake and impostor is a nephew of the famous Jack Keinzley - one of those imbeciles who like to pretend that he, similar to his famous uncle was a real veteran who had been involved in many conflicts. This clowns only service was as a "Seaman boy" for eight months before he was discharged in 1961 for failing Navy physical standards.
Jack Keinzley – the fake – resides in Masterton in the South East of the North Island. He has also spread lies around his hometown. When he worked as a cleaner at the Masterton hospital he told work mates about his service as a Navy diver who served in Vietnam another time when he was a patient at the same hospital he spread the word that he was having some shrapnel removed. This is his photo below
The real Jack Keinzley was a renowned New Zealand soldier who served as the Regimental Sergeant Major of Royal New Zealand Artillery Unit, 161 Battery in Vietnam in 1968. Here is a photo of the real Jack Keinzley, taken at Nui Dat in 1968.
This insipid nephew of the real Jack Keinzley has been caught out either stealing the identity of his famous uncle or trying to emulate his service.
It seems that on last ANZAC day when the fake Keinzley was photographed the photographers were so taken by his chest full of medals that they forgot to catch his countenance and we ask that if anyone can help by supplying a recent photo of this dill we will display him prominently at the start of the story.
ANZMI, like many genuine New Zealand veterans are waiting with interest to see if any charges are laid against Keinzley.
We know that our neighbours across the Tasman don't like being told what to do, but I'm sure that all New Zealand veterans will agree when we ask them that next time this dill shows his face at a veterans function to remove him from the scene - with pomp and ceremony, and at the same time drink a toast to the real Jack Keinzley a renowned soldier who does not deserve being emulated by a stupid nephew.
Below are follow up newspaper clippings resulting from the fake Keinzley's appearance on ANZAC Day 2007.
This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.
Anthony George Bees - The case of the hustling Hussar .
From our experience dealing with wannabes of all kinds, we find they share many behavioural traits. We created a profile that is indicative that a person may be a wannabe. Tony Bees fits many aspects of our wannabe profile because he claims the following
1. Rank that he never attained.
2. Bravery awards that he was never awarded.
3. Service with Special Forces on secret operations.
4. He is not allowed to discuss his service because of the UK Secrecy provisions
5. He wears many trinkets when "done up" for ceremonial occasions
6. He forges and alters documents as required to "prove" his credentials
7. He is the President of an Ex Service Organisation (this gives credence to his claims)
8. Exaggerates his civilian occupation
The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars was first raised as Henry Conyngham's Regiment of Dragoons in Ireland in 1693. It saw service for three centuries, including service in Korea in 1950 - 1951. The warriors from this ancient, fierce unit are displeased with Anthony George Bees who has brought discredit to their illustrious history. The United Kingdom Korean Veterans Association, the Australian Korean Veterans Association and veterans generally are disgusted at the contemptuous behaviour of this ex British soldier who says he served in Korea with The 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars then was a Special Forces hero who was awarded an MM and Bar for his part in quelling the savage Mau Mau uprising in Kenya during the 1950s
Most Australian veterans would look twice or even thrice at Tony Bees rack of medals as worn when the Bribie Island Naval Association Sub Section and the Returned Services League Sub Branch combined to commemorate Korean Forces Day at Bribie Island on Queenslands Sunshine Coast on the 27 July 2006. However nothing seems to have been said, or done. We stumbled on to Tony Bees photograph whilst working on another matter, subsequently we learnt that a Returned and Services League (RSL) Sub Branch has been wrestling with the Tony Bees issue for more than ten years. See the photo Below:
Bees is wearing on the top row a Military Medal and Bar (MM) (Imperial bravery medals) two British Army Korea medals, a General Service medal and another unrecognised medal. The bottom row consists of United States (US) medals including a Silver Star (bravery medal), Bronze Star, Purple Heart (awarded by US for being wounded in action) and two other medals. A "Bar" worn on a bravery medal means that the medal has been awarded twice. In the Bees photo the "Bar", is the silver horizontal device about a third of the way up the ribbon above the actual medal. It is clearly visible in the photograph and by wearing it Tony Bees is declaring that he has won the Military Medal for bravery on two occasions.
We urge Ex Service Organisations to take early decisive action against suspected wannabes, those unable to solve a wannabe problem have an open invitation to seek our help - 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Simply send advice to email@example.com
We wrote to Tony Bees and requested that he show evidence of having received the various bravery awards. Here is his reply
Original Message -----
From: Tony Bee
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 9:14 AM
Mr Bees joined the British regular Army in 1949 and trained as a Assault commando then went into a tank Regiment.
He served in Far East Land Forces in different countries and emergencies also in British Army Of the Rhine.
On the question of Medals in 1999 the then Executive of the Nambour RSL sub branch instigated an investigation on the same subject as you are doing now, and got the same results from the Ministry of defence.
Mr Bees however did get a reply from the war office on this issue,he then gave all the relevant documents to his Arbitrator at that time "RSM Frank Pallet RAA OAM Retd" (since Deceased) to be passed on at that meeting, The executive were satisfied with this report and placed all the documents relating to this incident into thier (sic) Archives by the branch Secretary.
Mr Bees does not receive any type of Pension from DVA nor any Benifits (sic) from DVA, that is why he has to do the job he does at his age to survive, He also states as it seems to be a problem for your faceless enquirers,He will never again wear any Medals to any ANZAC parade or reunion .
The email appears to have been written by Anthony Bees himself his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org The word "sasqual" of course alludes to him being qualified as an Special Air Service (SAS) soldier.
Bees did not know that we had the above photo when he answered our letter and he has failed to address the issue of the Bar to "his" Military Medal and the United States bravery medals. The only medals mentioned in the RSL meeting referred to in his email above related to wearing a Military Medal (MM) with no Bar.
We well know that the UK Ministry of Defence will not disclose information about British ex servicemen. Service Records can be acquired with the consent of the ex soldier but for obvious reasons Bees will not give permission. There are many other avenues to gain information about soldiers from the United Kingdom. This includes Ex Service Associations, and for bravery awards recipients The London Gazette
In his reply, Bees alludes to an investigation at a Queensland RSL where, with the assistance of "RSM Frank Pallett RAA OAM Retd" (now deceased) he produced "conclusive" evidence to the RSL committee "proving" his credentials as a Special Forces hero who had been awarded a Military Medal. What was that evidence?
1. A letter purporting to have been written by Major Lowther, Bart
"proving" Bees clandestine service in Kenya. (The post nominal
"Bart" means Baronet).
2. A Statutory Declaration signed by Bees and witnessed by Frank
At the meeting where the above evidence was presented by Bees the following verbal information was also tendered ; "Bees informed us that he had been awarded the Military Medal for a brave act in rescuing a farmer's wife and two children hiding under a veranda in Kenya, Africa. This was during the Mau Mau uprising not Korea as mentioned in this original email."
The RSL never scrutinised the letter from Major Lowther, Bart, it was only shown to the RSL President, who then wrote a note to the committee. Here is the Letter written by the then President, and the Statutory Declaration presented to the committee by Bees and Frank Pallett
Here is what Anthony Bees declared on the "scribbly" Statutory Declaration:
"I do hereby declare that I wear the Military Medal Awarded to me by the British Government under circumstances which I am not allowed to disclose with great honour. My no and rank on discharge 22276149 Tpr Bees. I am fully aware of the Penalties for making a false statement as I am a Justice of the Peace Queensland"
Our UK Agent advises that there is not now, and never has been a "Major Lowther, Barts" of Special Forces, Thetford, England. The letter seen by the then President is a forgery and Bees is the most logical suspect to be the forger. The Statutory Declaration is false and as Bees has said on the declaration "I am fully aware of the penalties for making a false statement". Anthony Bees has told lies on a Statutory Declaration to gain benefit and must be prosecuted by the law.
In his reply email, Bees has said: Mr Bees does not receive any type of Pension from DVA nor any Benifits (sic) from DVA, that is why he has to do the job he does at his age to survive.
We have a short Bees resume, where he describes himself as a "Part time Coroner".
In this statement he is drawing a very long bow. The Queensland State Coroners office say they have no "Part Time Coroners", in fact Bees works in the morgue of a regional hospital. Claiming to be a "Part Time Coroner" is akin to a Council Street Sweeper claiming to be "Part time Mayor". In relation to "DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) benefits." Bees has no entitlement to benefits from DVA, however we believe he is administered by DVA on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, War Disablement Pension organisation and is in receipt of some benefits from that UK office.
Anthony Bees claims to have been involved in clandestine military operations in Kenya that he is forbidden to speak about because of obligations under the Official Secrets Act of the United Kingdom. As well as the letter from the mysterious " Major Lowther, Barts" other evidence of this "secret work" is shown on his 1993 dated application to join the RSL. On the document signed by Bees on the 12 Oct 1993 - Shown below - Bees says his rank was from "Cpl - Major" and he claims service with the Army and "Other" in Korea, Malaysia and "Other". (Inferring secret service and secret destinations)
In the British Army there is a rank Corporal Major. If Bees was claiming to have been a Corporal Major he would have written "Cpl Major" on the RSL Application and not " Cpl - Major" indicating his rank went from Corporal to Major. A Corporal Major in the British Army is equivalent to a Warrant Officer - a Regimental Corporal Major being equivalent to a Warrant Officer First Class and a Squadron Corporal Major equivalent to a Warrant Officer Second Class. Bees Certificate of Discharge shows him as being a Trooper on discharge after twelve years service, that rank is equivalent to a Private soldier.
The above document shows his discharge date as 21 April 1966. The document he purports is his Certificate of Discharge shows his discharge date as 25 April 1961. The Certificate of Discharge further shows, that although his discharge date was 25 April 1961 it was signed on the 24 March 1961. There are numerous suspicious marks on the certificate that indicate it has been altered. See Below:
We have further documentation from other sources to show Bees was never awarded an MM and Bar. (For brevity we will not show the complete documents):
The British Commonwealth Ex-Services League, 48 Pall Mall London SWIY 7308 state:
"I have today had confirmation that the MM was not awarded to him for any operation whether covert or otherwise"
If you follow the instructions below there you have 90 pages of British Recipients of the Military Medal. Anthony Bees is not among them.
There are numerous British soldiers listed who are shown as having received the award whilst serving with Special Air Service.
"I have made enquiries with the Medals Office (Army) and the Military Secretaries branch 16, MOD. Both offices have no record of Mr Bees being awarded the Military Medal (MM)"
UK Ministry of Defence - Army Historical Branch, 3-5 Great Scotland Yard London advise: inter alia
"We have found no records to suggest that Mr Bees was awarded the Military medal"
The London Gazette:
The London Gazette promulgates all honours and awards and officer promotions. Bees is not listed anywhere in the London Gazette as he would have been, if he were awarded an MM or been commissioned as an Officer as shown on his RSL Application. In addition the mysterious "Maj Lowther, Bart" does not appear anywhere in the London Gazette.
It is well known that persons receiving honours whilst serving with Special Forces, for security reasons may be listed in the London Gazette under their "home" unit, meaning the unit in which they served before working with Special Forces. This means that even though a medal may have been awarded for work with Special Forces it is still promulgated in the London Gazette against their "home unit". Bravery Awards for Special Forces personnel are not suppressed for security reasons, especially those supposedly awarded fifty years ago.
We have found no records in the London Gazette to suggest that Mr Bees was awarded the Military Medal in any unit in the United Kingdom.
Bees Korean unit The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars know nothing of his MM and Bar. We received this email through an intermediary.
"I have spoken with the Regimental Secretary of the 8th Kings Irish Hussars. They have a Bees who served in Korea, as a Corporal with the Recce Troop. There are no Bees in the list of Honours and awards in connection with Korean Service to anyone of this name. They have apparently had previous enquiries about him. This chap obviously needs to be confronted and told that there is no record of him being awarded a Military Medal, and Bar, nor of any American Awards, and asked to produce the evidence. He seems to be trying to make a name for himself in the Korean Veteran Community, the sooner it is cleared the better for all concerned.
From our United Kingdom ANZMI Agent
"There is no record of Tony Bees being awarded an MM in this campaign.
There was a small involvement by the SAS in Kenya but no MM's awarded.
From info provided Tony Bees is not entitled to wear the MM and definitely did not serve with Special Forces."
The report from the 8th Kings Irish Hussars states that Bees served as a Corporal, yet on his Certificate of Discharge and on his Statutory Declaration he is shown as "Trooper". Because of the extent of Bees known lies, his reluctance to explain his true service and our inability to view Bees's UK Service file without his permission it is not possible to prove conclusively that Bees is even the same person shown as having served in Korea with the 8th Kings Irish Hussars.
You may also ask why he has shown his rank as Cpl - Major meaning "Corporal to Major" on his RSL Application. If he was a commissioned officer why would he say he was a trooper on his Statutory Declaration. If he was a soldier of outstanding qualities and abilities who had been awarded two imperial and a US bravery medal and served with Special Forces under very secret conditions, can you imagine him only reaching the rank of "Trooper" after twelve years service. (A Trooper is equal to a Private soldier). Neither his written or verbal tales stands up to scrutiny.
During this investigation we found no evidence to indicate that Tony Bees earned any of the USA awards that he "sported" on the occasion of the Bribie Island ceremony on the 27 July 2006. They are all fakes. This is the first known occasions that he has worn them, and a Bar to the Military Medal. Tony Bees laid a remembrance wreath at that event on behalf of the Sunshine Coast Korean Veterans Association Inc. On that occasion every genuine veteran attending must have found his rack of medals rather odd, however nothing was done by anybody attending. It is a gross insult to those being remembered to have the wreath laid by a scandalous, unrepentant pretender.
Bees is the President of the Korean Veterans Sunshine Coast Association Incorporated, in Queensland. Was his election to President assisted by his contemptuous acts of medal fraud? Surely veterans from the Sunshine Coast could have figured out that Bees is a fraud, his array of medals is ludicrous. It has been stated by members of that organization that Bees is known to be a fraud, but "does such a good job as President they let him be" - How could genuine Korean veterans have such notions festering in their brains? Aiding and abetting wannabes and military frauds is equally offensive as the act it self.
Time and technology have caught up with older frauds like Tony Bees, who seem to think that migrating to the Antipodes shields them from scrutiny, however, ANZMI through the miracle of the Internet and their massive cumulative military experience can reach into filing cabinets in most countries of the world.
Our ANZMI agent resident in the UK has been kept extremely busy these last few years - and looks forward to assisting us in any further investigations.
The act of falsely wearing bravery medals is an offence against the Defence act that carries a fine of $3,300 or imprisonment for six months or both. Despite our continued protestations the Australian Federal Police, State Police and Public Prosecutors continue to insult Australian veterans by ignoring those who offend. For instance Reginald Bruce Newton (see his entry on our site) is a dishonest unrepentant fraud who continues to mesmerise his sycophants and continues to falsely claim he earned a Military Cross and Bar through acts of Cold War military bravery. Newton was "outed" in March 2006 and has since been ignored by law enforcement agencies.
We iterate this is an insult to Australian veterans and their mates who paid the supreme sacrifice. We strongly urge action against Bees, Newton and all other offenders who are being deliberately ignored by our law enforcement agencies.
It is notable that many ex service organisations, both British and Australian involved with Bees were quick to assist in exposing Bees as a wannabe. We would hope that all ex service organisations expel Bees for his disgraceful behaviour, because, if Ex Service Organisations don't take appropriate action, how can we expect the law enforcement agencies to become serious. It behoves Ex Service Organizations to lodge official complaints about wannabes to law enforcement authorities. We can't deport Bees back to the UK but we can at least send him to Coventry.
Tony Bees is a fraud who was confident enough to believe he could fool us Colonials into believing he is a British Korean war, and Kenyan Special Forces hero. Well Tony Bees as long as we Colonials have breath in our bodies we will pursue and "out" fools like you. We have world wide contacts and we do our work diligently and honourably and will continue to do so until the last wannabe is comprehensively rounded up, roped and branded - as Bees has been.
We recently received a photograph of Mr Bees miniature medals, a very impressive rack don't you think!
1) Military Medal & Bar
2) Korea Medal
3) Korea United Nations Medal
4) Africa General Service Medal with Kenya clasp (bronze issued 1952-1956 Mau Mau Rebellion)
5) General Service Medal with Malaya Bar (UK)
6) Silver Star (USA Gallantry in Action)
7) Legion of Merit (USA Exceptionally meritorious conduct) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Merit
8) Purple Heart (USA)
9) Croix de Guerre (French) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_Guerre
10) Commemorative Medal (trip Australia to Korea -by Korean Government)
11) Korean Service Medal (USA 1950-1954) Bought one
12) Korean Commemorative Medal 50th Anniversary Medal
13 British National Service Commemorative Medal 1939-1960 (bought one)
This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.