January 23

Victoria Cross: Cpl Ben Roberts-Smith

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A corporal in the SAS has been awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry shown while attacking Taliban machine gun positions in Afghanistan. He is Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, aged 32. He received the Victoria Cross from the Governor-General, Ms. Quentin Bryce, at a special ceremony in Perth on Sunday, 23 January, 2011.

The video clip below of the ceremony comes from the leading Australian news broadcaster, Sky News.

In 2006, Corporal Roberts-Smith was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for bravery under fire in Afghanistan in 2006.

The Prime Minister, Ms. Julia Gillard, the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott and the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston were present at the ceremony in Perth.

Corporal Roberts-Smith was born in Perth on 1 November 1978 and enlisted in the Australian Army on 11 November 1996.  He is the father of two five-month-old twin girls and son of Western Australia's Corruption and Crime Commission head, Len Roberts-Smith.

He is the second Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia, which was established in 1991.

..two other Australian VC holders….

 

SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson received a VC in 2009 for protecting wounded soldiers under fire and running across open ground to rescue a wounded Afghan interpreter in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province. The video below shows him being receivec by The Queen.

Queenslander Keith Payne is the only other living Australian awarded a Victoria Cross. This was in 1969 under the former imperial awards system. He received it for extraordinary heroism during action in the Vietnam War.

The citation for the VC, another for the Medal of Gallantry and his personal biography may be seen here.

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