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Qualifying Service - Single Incidents

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Last amended: 2 December 2008

In these cases there are two considerations to a claim.  The first is whether the member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was performing a military task in the area that can be said to be in operations against the enemy.  The second is the member's location in relation to the danger such as the enemy presence or the impact of the bomb, shell or torpedo and can be said to have incurred danger.  Each claim must be considered on its merits and in accord with the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 but some guidelines on who may qualify for some of the more well-known 'single incidents' claims are listed below.

Sydney Harbour (Garden Island)

During the Japanese midget submarine attack that sank HMAS Kuttabul on the night of 31 May 1942, a member of the ADF who was on the harbour at the time HMAS Kuttabul was sunk could be considered to have incurred danger.  If they were actually involved in a military task then they would have qualifying service.  This is the approach determined by the AAT and the Federal Court.

Townsville

The AAT and the Courts have addressed claims arising from the bombing of Townsville where a rule of thumb has been established that the immediate area of danger is limited to within a 2km radius of the bombings.

An account of the Townsville bombing raids in the book “Townsville Under Attack” states that:

  • during the first raid “only six bombs were sighted by those on the ground and these were seen falling harmlessly into the sea, two hundred metres from the main jetties.”;
  • during the second raid eight bombs fell near the foothills of Many Peaks Ridge; and
  • during the third raid seven bombs fell in Cleveland Bay between Magnetic Island and the mainland.  An eighth bomb fell on the mainland near the racecourse.
Eastern Suburbs of Sydney

On the night of 8 June 1942 a submarine attempted to shell the seaplane base at Rose Bay from the Pacific Ocean side of the city.  The shells landed in a small area around Rose Bay and Bellevue Hill.  For qualifying service the ADF member's location in relation to the areas in which the shells landed must be considered and the purpose of their presence.  Because the AAT and the Courts have established a limit to the area of danger within Townsville it is appropriate that a consistent policy be applied to other areas in Australia, including Sydney, when determining whether the objective danger test is satisfied.  Thus a rule of thumb has been established that the immediate area of danger is limited to within a 2km radius of the shelling.

Newcastle

In Newcastle in the early hours of 8 June 1942, a Japanese submarine attempted to fire on the BHP Steelworks/Fort Scratchley.  All shells landed in the water or outside the fort.  However, since Fort Scratchley may have been the target anyone on duty and especially those in the gun battery who returned fire are considered to have qualifying service.

Cowra

On 5 August 1944 Japanese POWs broke out of Cowra killing 4 Australian soldiers.  Those on duty at the time of the breakout are considered therefore to have been in danger and in operations against the enemy.  In the ensuing days the Australian soldiers who were called in to round up the Japanese do not have qualifying service because no actual danger was incurred.  However, should such a person provide evidence of danger then qualifying service would be possible.

Broome

Broome suffered Australia's second worst air raid on 3 March 1942 and was hit again on 20 March 1942.  Broome saw the last raid against it when the Japanese dropped more bombs on August 16 1943.  These dates give a guideline to when a claimant may have incurred danger if they were involved in a military task in Broome.

Dates of Enemy Air Raids

There are other areas in Australia where enemy air raids are known to have occurred.    

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Details of when and where enemy air raids took place

P1/C2/S7/Enemy Raids on Australia 1942-43

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