Click on the photos below to read the stories of our past and current veterans.
Thank you to the Australian War Memorial for providing the stories and photos of our WWI veterans, and to our Ambassadors for sharing their stories.
Veteran: Private Joseph Buckley and Gabrielle Ivone
Although every veteran’s personal story is different, many past and present veterans have one thing in common: they often face challenges when transitioning to civilian life. It can be hard to find a new sense of purpose and community after leaving the defence forces. These two personal accounts, demonstrate how a lost sense of purpose can affect veterans and their families. Getting the right support is what can really make a positive difference.
Veteran: Private Douglas Grant and Jordan Ivone
Whilst we as a country are learning from past mistakes made when assisting veterans and their families, the challenges that the veteran community face on leaving service, have not gone away. The struggle to find work after serving in the defence force, is one that impacted veterans over 100 years ago, and continues to affect contemporary veterans today. These two stories reflect this struggle.
Veteran: Private Martin O’Meara VC, 16th Battalion and Sarah Watson
The impact that serving our country has on the mind of veterans, is not always easy to see. Many ex-serving and current service personnel face mental health challenges during or following active service. Recognising mental health issues, getting help and finding purpose and a solid support network, is crucial to maintaining positive mental health. The following two stories, from two different eras, highlight the need to support our veterans’ mental health.
Veteran: Private George Giles, 29th Battalion and James Milliss
Post-service some WW1 veterans did not receive the medical help and support they needed for ongoing physical and mental health conditions, despite asking for that vital help. Today, contemporary veterans often face similar struggles but now have more options available to them so they can seek help from supportive organisations. Read these two stories, to understand what a critical difference that can make.
Veteran: John Frederick Bren and Jeremy Satchell
These two veterans’ personal stories from the Australian Army are very different. Distantly related, they share family history and the fact that they both served our country, but in very different times and circumstances. Their personal stories have very different outcomes and yet they both shared an understanding of the importance of community and the need to band together during hard times.
Veteran: Trooper Harold Thomas Bell and Brad Moore
Some veterans find they have to overcome both physical and mental health challenges post-service. Both of the veterans in these stories were injured whilst serving our country. Sadly, not all veterans make it home alive, while others continue to struggle, both physically and mentally, upon their return. Getting professional help and support for veterans is vital to enable veterans and their families to thrive.
Veteran: William “Billy” Sing and Dave Farrell
Veterans past and present have very different experiences of War, yet all are familiar with the bravery and comradery of active service. Read the personal stories of two veterans who both received medals for their bravery while serving in the Australian Army, but after leaving the military, their lives had very different outcomes. Finding meaningful employment for ex-service personnel is vital to help enable veterans and their families to thrive post-service.
Veteran: Percy Arnold Collins and Darren Thomas
These two veterans were distant relatives, and both served in the Australian Army. They both had different experiences of serving in the Army, in different centuries, but a shared vision to protect and help others. Darren remains a fulltime ADF member, continues to support Soldier On and finds helping others most rewarding.
Veteran: Lieutenant Colonel Henry William Murray and Grant Edwards
Read these very different personal stories, which both demonstrate great leadership and a true commitment to serving our country and protecting people around the world. Their personal accounts also show the inner and physical strength required by veterans and those protecting our country and keeping the peace.
Veteran: Albert Barnett Facey and Gary Wilson
Both of the veterans featured here sustained significant injuries and losses whilst serving our country. Although their stories are unique to them and began almost a century apart, they both share the same strength of character, determination and optimism. Gary Wilson wished to be paired here with Albert as he admires his outlook on life. Read their stories of recovery and resilience.
Veteran: Captain Edward Welch and David Welch
Read the personal stories of two related veterans, who served our country half a century apart. Sadly not all veterans make it home. Whilst those that do, often find themselves facing significant challenges when they try to integrate back into the wider Australian community.
Private Peter Craigie and Adrian Whitby
Maintaining optimal health and well-being is something that continues to be fought for by many veterans, especially since WWI. Physical injuries and mental health illnesses continue to affect Australia’s Defence personnel. Here are the stories of two such people who endeavoured to retain a full and meaningful life, learning to live with their illnesses, Peter Craigie and Adrian Whitby.
Private Thomas Marsh and David ‘Dave’ Stafford Finney
Whilst the majority of these shared stories have seen our contemporary veterans and family members go on to secure their futures, this is not always the case. For some veterans, getting support and finding new activities to be involved in, becomes the turning point to go on to live fulfilling and meaningful post-service lives. Sadly, for some veterans, what they go through is too much.