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Australian veterans pay tribute to fallen air crew.



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The Hon. Danna Vale MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Media Release

Monday, 10 November 2003 VA110

AUSTRALIAN VETERANS PAY TRIBUTE TO FALLEN AIR CREW

On the eve of Remembrance Day, a commemorative mission party of 27 Australian veterans and war widows today visited the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, to pay tribute to servicemen from Australia and the Commonwealth who lost their lives during World War II and have no known grave.

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Danna Vale, said the commemorative service conducted at the memorial also honoured those who served in the Australian Flying Corps during World War I.

"This memorial features 20,401 names. These include 1396 who served with the Royal Australian Air Force and many more Australians who served with the Royal Air Force," Mrs Vale said.

"They served in the RAF Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands. They came from all parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, including Australia.

"I am proud to be here with this mission party, which includes 12 RAAF veterans who served as pilots and ground crew during World War II.

"Today we remember the men and women whose names are on this memorial and all who lost their lives in the defence of the freedoms we enjoy today.

"We remember their bravery and their ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation.

"Australia honours them, and their memory will endure in the hearts and minds of all Australians for generations to come," the

Minister said.

The Australian veterans will attend the dedication of the Australian War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner tomorrow on Remembrance Day, marking the 85th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The memorial will be dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister John Howard in the presence of the British Prime Minister, Australian Opposition Leader, and senior Australian Defence Force representatives.

"We will be proud to stand at the new Australian War Memorial in London on Remembrance Day, on behalf of the veteran community and our fellow Australians," Mrs Vale said.

Media contact: Cindy West (Department of Veterans' Affairs) 02 6289 6203 0413 994 704