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C47/2002 DETERMINATIONS OF SPECIAL MISSION - Employees of Cable and Wireless/Telcom



DETERMINATIONS OF SPECIAL MISSION - Employees of Cable and Wireless/Telcom


The purpose of this instruction is:

  1. to clarify that only the Repatriation Commission (the Commission) has the legal authority to make a decision on what constitutes a “special mission” as defined in section 5C of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA);
  2. to advise on the Commission decision that employees of Cable and Wireless/Telcom during World War II were not undertaking a “special mission”; and
  3. to advise on the treatment of cases where benefits have already been granted to employees of Cable and Wireless/Telcom.

Special mission – definition

Section 5C of the VEA defines a special mission as:

special mission means a mission that, in the opinion of the Commission, was of special assistance to the Commonwealth in the prosecution of a war to which this Act applies.”


The power of the Commission to form an opinion on what constitutes a special mission is NOT delegated.  Each case or group must be individually submitted to the Commission for a decision.

All cases where a claim relating to a special mission is received MUST be referred in the first instance to the Policy Eligibility and Research Section, Disability Compensation Branch in National Office.

Background of Cable and wireless/

Cable and Wireless is a civilian British organisation.  During World War II it had a contract to supply communications, through radio and cable networks, to the British forces.  The Telcom organisation was formed in 1944 to enable employees of Cable and Wireless to accompany members of the armed services to locations outside of Britain. These Telcom personnel remained civilians at all times and had no military status although they did wear a uniform and were given “officer rank” in case of capture by the enemy.

Commission decision – employees of Cable & Wireless/

The Commission has considered the status of this group in relation to the requirements of the VEA.  The Commission has determined that employees of Cable and Wireless/Telcom were NOT undertaking a “special mission” as defined in the VEA.

Pre-existing cases

There are a number of cases where benefits have been granted under the “special mission” provisions, to employees of Cable & Wireless/Telcom.  The Commission has decided to grandfather these cases although they were initially granted without reference to the Commission.

Care must be taken that no further benefits be granted to these individuals on the basis of the previous (invalid) special mission decision.

Mark Johnson

Branch Head

Disability Compensation

25 October 2002