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35/1994 Eligibility - Members of CMF &VAD during WWII
Central Office Instruction
amending General Orders (1993 edition)
Instruction No. 35
Date of Effect: 1 November 1994
ELIGIBILITY - MEMBERS OF CMF, AND VAD DURING WORLD WAR II
[All refences to women's service in this COI have been superseded by NOI 47]
The purpose of this Instruction is to clarify the meaning of sub-section 4(2A) of the Defence Service Homes Act 1918. The effect of this clarification is a variation in a longstanding practice in relation to determination of eligibility for members of such services during World War II.
A recent case brought to our attention through an informal review following an appeal to the AAT has highlighted the need to issue an instruction clarifying this matter.
Eligibility under the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 for those who served during World War II was based on enlistment or appointment for, or employment on active service overseas outside Australia or on a ship of war.
By enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy during World War II, volunteers made themselves liable for active service outside Australia. These volunteers committed themselves to potential risks beyond those normally associated with peacetime service and it was this commitment that was recognised by the conferring of the loan benefit among other repatriation measures. Members of the Women's Services were also volunteers and as the war progressed, they had a growing expectation that they might be called upon to perform non-combatant support duties overseas.
While many male volunteers were actually sent overseas, a significant number were required to perform their military service within Australia. There was no distinction drawn between this group and those with overseas service for the purpose of eligibility under the Defence Service Homes Act 1918.
In 1948 it was decided that because the CMF and Women's Services were raised primarily for home service, service in these forces would not of itself, be generally regarded as qualifying service for Defence Service Homes assistance unless there was substantial evidence that the person had, in fact satisfied the definition of Australian Soldier in section 4. The general principle applied was that the applicant actually had to have seen active service outside Australia in order to satisfy the definition. This policy was applied until the Act was amended with effect from 11 November 1978 to include the present sub-section 4(2A). Question 18 of the Request for Service Details Form D7602 is designed to satisfy this long held interpretation of sub-section 4(2A).
As a result, former members of the CMF, Women's Services and VAD who did not actually serve overseas during war time are generally excluded from Defence Service Homes benefits in contrast to their AIF, RAAF and RAN counterparts. Eligibility GO 220.127.116.11 reflects this position.
The case referred to above involved a member of the AWAS who served from 6 November 1942 to 2 July 1946 and who was posted to two different units within Australia for the express purpose - 'for overseas movement'. Neither overseas movement eventuated, but the fact that she was posted in this fashion within Australia indicates that the terms of her continuing engagement in the Forces were such that she was prepared to be sent, and that the Army was prepared to post her accordingly. This latter fact was not known to the delegates who made the initial and review decisions, but came to light with further questioning of the Defence Records Office during the informal review.
The question that needs to be resolved in any case involving service during World War II is 'was the person enlisted or appointed for or employed on active service outside Australia or on a ship of war?' We know that members of the AIF, RAAF and RAN during World War II enlisted for active service outside Australia or on a ship of war, and even if they did not go overseas, are still eligible. We also know that the CMF, Women's Services and VAD were raised generally for home service. It is for this reason sub-section 4(2A) goes on to say that in considering whether a person meets the definition of Australia Soldier in section 4, a member of the CMF, the Women's Services and VAD shall not, by reason only of being or having been such a member, be taken to have been enlisted or appointed for active service outside Australia or on a ship of war. In other words, membership of such groups is not of itself sufficient to grant eligibility, unlike membership of the AIF, RAAF and RAN. This provision requires us to decline eligibility for members of the 'home services' unless there is evidence that the military authorities intended to actually employ them on active service outside Australia. It does not, contrary to long standing practice, require us to be satisfied that the person had actually served overseas.
In view of the foregoing, the original decision and review decisions on the case in question were set aside on informal review, and a fresh determination made that the applicant is an eligible person as defined and that a Notice of Eligibility should be issued accordingly.
It is important that this case is not seen as a criticism of those who dealt with the case, nor of longstanding practices employed in all State Offices and Central Office in dealing with similar cases. The problem has been the interpretation of sub-section 4(2A) and the subsequent design of the Request for Service Details Form.
Policy to be applied
Members of the CMF, Women's Services and VAD during World War II are generally not eligible under the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 unless there is evidence that the military authorities intended to actually employ them on active service outside Australia. Initially, applicants from these groups should be asked whether the terms of their employment satisfy this requirement, and where possible, to provide evidence in accordance with the 'best evidence' policy. Satisfactory evidence would be documentation of an overseas posting during World War II or of a posting within Australia 'for overseas movement'. If applicants do not claim to have served on active service outside Australia or to have been posted 'for overseas movement', it is reasonable to decline eligibility on that basis. If enlistment for active service outside Australia is claimed and insufficient confirmatory evidence is provided, a Request for Service Details Form D7602 should be sent to the relevant Service Records Office with the accompanying question appended to Section B.
'Was the person posted either within or outside Australia for the purpose of serving on active service outside Australia? If so, please provide details.'
The Request for Service Details Form D7602 will be amended to include this question before the next reprint.
Attached is an amended pages 13-14 of the Eligibility General Orders reflecting a change to GO 18.104.22.168. Please replace the existing pages 13-14 with the amended version. This Instruction has no effect on any previously issued operative COI.
Eligibility GO 22.214.171.124 has been altered to read:
" 126.96.36.199 Forces raised for Home Service. Enlistment in the following Forces was generally for home service:
- Citizen Military Forces;
- Women's Royal Australian Naval Service;
- Australian Women's Army Service;
- Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force;
- Australian Army Medical Women's Service (but not a member of the AIF); or
- Voluntary Aid Detachment.
Accordingly, eligibility can only be established if a person who enlisted in one of these Forces actually served outside the territorial boundaries of Australia, or there is evidence that the military authorities intended to actually employ them on active service outside Australia. Acceptable evidence would be documentation of an overseas posting or of a posting within Australia 'for overseas movement' during WWII. "
Notes 1 and 2 of GO 188.8.131.52 remain unchanged.
28 October 1994