Far East POW

Inquiry into Recognition for Far East Prisoners of War who were Killed while Escaping

  • The Tribunal investigated recognition for prisoners of war who were killed by the Japanese while escaping from imprisonment during World War II.
  • There was no public call for submissions due to the sensitive nature of the inquiry.
    The report was presented to the then-Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support (PARLSEC DS) on 7 April 2010.
  • On 10 May 2010 the Government accepted the following recommendations:
    • Recommendation 1: The 20 men identified in the report at Appendix 2 Tables 1 and 2 be retrospectively and posthumously awarded the Commendation for Gallantry.
    • Recommendation 2:
      • The Commendation for Gallantry should be presented to the family member in possession of the deceased’s World War II medals.
      • If the family is no longer in possession of the deceased’s WWII medals, then the Commendation for Gallantry should be presented to the most entitled next of kin in accordance with current Defence policy on the posthumous issue of medals.
      • Should a dispute arise over the application of the Defence policy, then the matter should be referred to the Tribunal for consideration and advice on who should be presented the award.
    • Recommendation 3: This report should be publicly released.
  • PARLSEC DS wrote to the Governor General in mid July seeking approval of the awards as recommended in the report. In October 2010, the Governor General advised the Minister for Defence that the awards have been approved.
  • On 6 March 2011 the Government announced its acceptance of the Tribunal’s recommendations, and also called for the next of kin of the 20-named persons to come forward.

Terms of Reference
Media Release – Announcement of the acceptance of the Tribunal’s recommendations

by Ken McFadyen
Oil on canvas on hardboard, 1968

RAAF's first operation over North Korea
Robert Taylor
Oil on canvas, 1986