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John Winterbotham1HI ! I am John Winterbotham.  I’ve been researching Australian servicemen for over ten years and in that time have discovered many secrets about those that served that are not generally known.

I became interested in Australian Military History when I met an ex prisoner-of-war (POWs) who had been captured and survived the horrors of the Thai-Burma railway. I then discovered that in the Australian National Archives they held the original Pay History Files and allotment cards on all World War 2 personnel (held in the State of enlistment). The POW files were complete with pay books and I discovered that in some of the pay books were the medical history of the prisoner and where he served, on the railway. Most of the pay books have photos of the serviceman. I also discovered that in some of the pay books were written actual “death certificates” of the soldier who died e.g. – I certify that QX13555 Gnr CUCKSON, George Halliwell died at 0710hrs of cholera on 29/6/43 at POW Camp Kami Sonkurai, Thailand and signed –
Colin P Matthews, Capt AAMC.                                            

You will find these records in the National Archives (NAA) Queensland branch – Series J1193/2.

In 1941 every man up-to and including the age of 45 were compulsary called-up for three (3) months full-time training. They were allocated a service number, etc. On completion of this training they were then sent home and were told that they would be called forward when needed. Most of them were. BUT – their service was not recognised unless they were called up for full-time duty (FTD).   I have discovered four (4) Queensland militia  men who died whilst on this compulsory camp but the Australian War Memorial WILL NOT recognise their service on the ROLL of HONOUR in the War Memorial. WHY? Because they were not called up for FTD. If these soldiers had been in the AIF they would have been recognised . There was discrimination between the AIF and Militia during World War 2 with the AIF being the “superior” force. It still goes on today within the ADF but not to the same degree. During the Vietnam War there was the Regular Soldiers and the National Servicemen. Now you have the Regular Servicemen and the Reservists. In World War 2 they fought side by side, in Vietnam they fought side by side and today they are still fighting side by side. But like in World War 2 when the AIF thought they were better “fighting” soldiers than the Militia. Today, the Regular’s think, because they’re full-time, that they are the better
of the two sections of the Army today.

Below is taken from the Australian War Memorial Web site as Quoted - (Note the word SOLELY.

Eligibility -

Questions of eligibility for the Roll of Honour are determined solely by the Memorial’s Council, and have been considered many times over the years by Council and before it by the Memorial’s Board.                                 (Extracted from AWM Web site) 


The Australian War Memorial has to hand back the power that gave them absolute right over who goes on the ROLLof HONOUR. If you go to their website www.awm.gov.au you will discover that the AWM committee has sole power over who is placed on the Roll of Honour. I believe it should be up to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) to do this. When the AWM was set up after World War 1 the AWM was given some leeway into what and how the AWM should be set up. But that was over eighty (80) years ago and the AWM should bend and sway with the times and surrender the power that was given to them in 1925.


Service records of the Australian Defence Force are available to any person who wishes to request a copy. All that is needed is the service number and name of the serviceman.  They are available through the National Archives (NAA) providing that a period of thirty (30) years has passed from the present day. A cost of $25.00 is charged.

Service records of serving members and ex-service members are available by applying directly to the Soldiers Career Management Agency (SCMA) formally Central Army Records Office (CARO) in


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