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Who Does the Definition Include?





The majority of persons who meet the definition of a veteran are persons who have continuous full time service with the Defence Force (Army, Navy or Air Force) of Australia during WW1 or WW2 or who were allotted for duty in an operational area after WW2. However, some additional groups are included in the definition in relation to World War 2 and in relation to conflicts since World War 2.

Defence Personnel in World War 2

In World War 2, the definition also includes the following groups:

  • persons who performed part-time service with the Citizens' Military Forces, Volunteer Defence Corps or Royal Australian Air Force Reserve;
  • [glossary:Duntroon cadets:]; and
  • [glossary:RAN midshipmen:].
Defence Personnel in Conflicts since World War 2

In the conflicts since World War 2, the definition also includes:

  • any reservists rendering continuous full time service in operational areas.

Certain civilians can also meet the definition of a veteran. For some of these people, specific provisions of the VEA ensure that they are included in the definition of a veteran. Others are deemed to be either veterans or members of the Defence Force by Ministerial Instrument.

The persons who were not members of the defence force but still meet the definition of a veteran are:

  • [glossary:Merchant Mariners:] (WW1 and WW2).
  • [glossary:Civilians:] who participated in special missions (WW1 and WW2).
  • Residents of Papua and New Guinea (British subjects) who were killed or detained by the enemy (WW2 only).
  • Representatives of philanthropic organisations attached to the Australian defence forces (all conflicts)[glossary:.:]
  • Commonwealth employees attached to the Australian Armed Forces such as personnel belonging to field broadcasting units, telegraphists, camoufleurs, war correspondents, photographers, and cinematographers (all conflicts).
  • Canteen staff employed by contractors on HMA ships (WW1 to Malayan Emergency).
Commonwealth Veterans, Allied Veterans and Allied Mariners

For service pension purposes, some people meet the extended definition of a veteran through service with the regular Defence Force of a Commonwealth or Allied country or (in WW2 only) as an Allied mariner.    

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Continuous full-time service in relation to a member of the Defence Force means that a person must have served on a continuous full-time basis, as opposed to a part-time basis.

A period of continuous full-time service is required by a member of the Defence Force if they are to be considered as having eligible war service, operational service or defence service and access to the benefits associated with those forms of service.

For the purposes of determining a person's eligibility for entitlements under the VEA, being allotted for duty in an operational area (schedule 2 VEA refers) is a reference to a person or unit of the Defence Force, that is allotted for duty by written instrument issued by the:

  • Defence Force,
  • Vice Chief of the Defence Force, or
  • Minister for Defence (deemed allotted subsection 5R(1) refers)

Allotment may be retrospective or prospective.



An operational area is an area specified in Column 1 for the period specified in Column 2 of Schedule 2 of the VEA to which a unit or individual have been allotted or deemed allotted for duty.



A special mission is defined in subsection 5C(1) to mean:

  • a mission that in the opinion of the Commission was of special assistance to the Commonwealth in the prosecution of a war to which the VEA applies.

Only the Repatriation Commission can make a decison on what constitutes a special mission.  Refer to Departmental Instruction C47/2002 for further information on Special Missions.



“enemy means

  • in relation to World War I or World War II - the naval, military or air forces, or any part of the naval, military or airforces, of a State at war with the Crown during that war; and
  • in relation to service in, or a period of hostilities in respect of, an operational area - the naval, military or air forces against which the Naval, Military or Air Forces of the Commonwealth were engaged in that operational area; and
  • persons assisting any of those forces.”



The Australian Defence Force includes:

  • Australian Army
  • Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
  • Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

Camoufleurs are employees of the Department of Home Security, attached to the RAAF during World War 2. Their job was to disguise aeroplanes and other equipment to avoid their detection by the enemy.

Official war correspondents were employed by the Department of Information. They were attached to various units to report on the war.

A Commonwealth country is a country, other than Australia, that is, or was at the relevant time, a part of the Dominions of the Crown.



An allied country is a country, other than Australia or a Commonwealth country, whose forces were engaged in an operational area against an enemy, at the relevant time, which was also engaged against forces of the Commonwealth.