Local Lismore war hero, Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith has been included in the Gillard Government’s Victoria Cross Inquiry.
The Gillard Government has asked the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal to inquire into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour.
“This is great news for Lismore. We know that Lieutenant Commander Smith was an engineer, born in Lismore,” local MP Janelle Saffin said.
“He was the HMAS Yarra’s First Lieutenant and was lost in her sinking in World War II. As Officer of Quarters of No 3. gun, he received high praise for his actions but has never received an award. But not enough is known about Smith and his gallant actions.
“Today, I am calling on local RSLs, historians and families to send war diaries, letters and photos about the HMAS Yarra to the Tribunal. It’s important that we remember and recognise our local war history,” she said.
“There have been numerous acts of gallantry and valour by Australian naval and military servicemen since World War I,” Senator David Feeney, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence said.
“I am pleased that the Tribunal will inquire into recognition for thirteen naval and military personnel. Their brave acts of gallantry and valour deserve greater recognition. These Australians will now receive the national recognition that they deserve,” Senator Feeney said.
A call for submissions will be released shortly in the national press. Submissions to the Inquiry will close on 30 June 2011.
The full terms of reference for the inquiry and guidance on how to make a submission can be obtained at: www.defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au
The Tribunal can be contacted at:
Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal
Locked Bag 7765
CANBERRA BUSINESS CENTRE ACT 2610
or via e-mail to DHA.Tribunal [at] defence.gov.au
Further Information: Mary Bermingham, Acting Executive Officer, Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (02) 6266 3486.
Media Contact: Lorna Clarke – 0408 345 730.