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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Sunday, 10 May 2015


The United Kingdom concluded a weekend of events to mark the end of hostilities in Europe during the Second World War as seven Australian Second World War veterans, together with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, took part in commemorations for the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

“I was privileged to join seven of our nations veterans today at Westminster Abbey for a commemorative service held by one of our closest and oldest allies, one with whom we share a significant part of our wartime history,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Following the service, an armed forces and veterans parade took place through the streets of London to pay tribute to all who served. Current serving personnel, including members of Australia’s Federation Guard, and up to 1,000 veterans and their guests were given an overwhelming reception by the crowds lining the streets.

“Our veterans had the chance to re-connect with their former comrades in what was an emotional occasion as thousands of locals turned out to pay their respects.”

“This occasion, as part of a return to the UK and France, allowed these seven veterans the chance to return to London free from war and its effects, something that some 70 years ago they fought so gallantly to achieve,” Senator Ronaldson said.

While in France and the UK, the veterans have also conducted commemorative services at war cemeteries and other sites of significance to Australians, many where Australians are now at rest.

“70 years on we remember all Australian servicemen and women who served during the Second World War in the fight against our then enemies.  We honour their service and sacrifice in the cause of freedom,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Editor’s note: Follow the veterans on Facebook at Anzac Centenary, Twitter at @dvaaus and Flickr at DVAAus while in France and now London. Veteran biographies, images, historical information and other resources are available at the DVA Media Centre

For interviews with veteran representatives contact at or +61 (0) 419 120 908.

Media enquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veteran representatives in France and the United Kingdom for VE Day commemorations
Name Location Age on mission Unit/Service
Mr Eric Barton NSW 92 No. 186 Squadron, RAF
Mr John Bell VIC 97 No. 216 Squadron, RAF
Mr Norman Ginn SA 91 No. 460 Squadron, RAF
Mr Peter Jensen NSW 93 No. 461 Squadron, RAF
Mr Alexander Kerr WA 93 No.115 Squadron, RAF
Mr Mervyn Reece QLD 91 No. 461 Squadron, RAF
Mr John Shannon VIC 90 RAF Base Waddington

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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