Ipswich war veterans honoured for service

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Shayne Neumann MP, Flight Sergeant Stanley “Ray” Watherston, Leading Seaman Ken Hartwell, LAC Doug Simonds and SQNLDR Steve Currie

Four servicemen, past and present, have been recognised for their contributions to Australia’s overseas operations at a “Saluting Their Service” ceremony at Combined Services Ipswich.

Squadron Leader Steve Currie, Flight Sergeant Stanley “Ray” Watherston (ret’d), Leading Seaman Ken Hartwell (ret’d) and Leading Aircraftman Doug Simonds (ret’d) collectively have over 76 years of combined service in war, conflict and peacekeeping operations.

The Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann paid tribute to the men. “Ipswich is a military town,” he said. “These Saluting Their Service certificates recognise the service of veterans and show our gratitude as a country… we don’t do this enough.”

The four men served on different operations overseas, and enjoyed sharing stories about their journey in the Australian Defence Force.

After beginning an apprenticeship at the Railway Workshops, Doug Simonds served as a RAAF ground staff fitter between 1942 and 1946, and was posted in Moratai and Borneo to assist Australia’s efforts in the Second World War.

Ken Hartwell served in the Royal Australian Navy between 1951 and 1972 in South East Asia, including the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, peacekeeping operations in Indonesia, and in the Vietnam War.

Between 1963 and 1965 and 1969 and 1970 Stanley “Ray” Watherston served in RAAF peacekeeping operations in Malaysia, and in the Vietnam War.

SQNLDR Steve Currie currently serving at RAAF Amberley contributed to Australia’s efforts in the Middle East between 1977 to 2012, working in Operation Slipper, Operation Catalyst and Operation Mazurka: the Australian Contingent of the Multi-National Force and Observers, serving in Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides Certificates of Appreciation to eligible veterans and Defence personnel. If you wish to nominate someone who has served overseas in war, conflict or peacekeeping efforts, go to www.dva.gov.au/commemorations-memorials-and-war-graves/honours-medals-and-awards.