Owen hits back

Isis RSL Sub-Branch pres­i­dent re­turns fire over claims he mis­rep­re­sented his ser­vice

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

ROY Owen has sought to clear his name as he awaits the out­come of an RSL (Queens­land Branch) tri­bunal hear­ing.

The Isis RSL Sub-Branch pres­i­dent openly ad­mit­ted his guilt in wear­ing ser­vice medals on the wrong side of his chest dur­ing four Anzac

Day dawn ser­vices this year (Doolbi, Cordalba, Ap­ple Tree Creek and Childers), but de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions he is an “im­poster”.

It comes after Aus­tralia New Zealand Mil­i­tary Im­posters (ANZMI) branded Mr Owen a medals cheat on its web­site and Face­book page.

The com­plaints about Mr Owen wear­ing medals on the wrong side were made to the RSL, and were proven at a tri­bunal hear­ing at Mary­bor­ough RSL Club last Thurs­day. At least six other com­plaints un­re­lated to the medals is­sue were heard at the tri­bunal, but the RSL would not com­ment be­fore a res­o­lu­tion early next month.

In a state­ment to Isis Town & Coun­try, Mr Owen ad­mit­ted he breached by­law 14.8 of the RSL (Qld Branch) State By-Laws that re­quire a mem­ber to wear the awards of a de­ceased fam­ily mem­ber on the right.

“On Anzac Day 2014, I wore my fa­ther’s WWII medals on my left breast and my ser­vice medal on my right breast in breach of (the by­law),” the state­ment said.

“This was not de­lib­er­ately done. It was a mis­take.”

Mr Owen also de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions the medals be­longed to wife Jill’s fa­ther, which is not al­lowed un­der the by­laws.

He said they be­longed to his fa­ther Des­mond, who served in the Sec­ond World War and the Civil­ian Mil­i­tary Force (CMF).

The Owens were forced to re­place his fa­ther’s medals after they were lost “some years ago”, and had a set of re­pro­duced medals made by a business who re­searched and con­firmed Des­mond’s ser­vice his­tory, and what medals his fa­ther was en­ti­tled to wear.

He said Jill pre­pared and pinned the medals to his jacket for Anzac Day the night be­fore.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Jill in­cor­rectly pinned my fa­ther’s World War Two medals on the left side of my jacket and my medal on the right side of my jacket,” Mr Owen said.

“Jill has pro­vided a state­ment to the RSL (Qld Branch) Tri­bunal ex­plain­ing what she did. A friend of hers, who was stay­ing with us at the time, has pro­vided a statu­tory dec­la­ra­tion.

“I’ve ac­cepted that the medals were dis­played on the wrong side. I’ve apol­o­gised for my er­ror. It wasn’t my wife’s obli­ga­tion to dis­play them cor­rectly. It was mine.”

While it could be ar­gued Mr Owen should have felt the dif­fer­ence be­tween the medals’ weights, he says the com­bi­na­tion of “lighter re­pro­duced medals” and his “heavy suit jacket” meant he did not no­tice.

The Owens are de­ter­mined to clear their name.

“I would never de­lib­er­ately do any­thing to bring the RSL, the Isis Sub-Branch or my fam­ily – par­tic­u­larly the mem­ory of my fa­ther – into dis­re­pute,” Mr Owen said.

“AMZMI did not do me the cour­tesy of check­ing with me be­fore brand­ing me a medals cheat.”

The Owens have con­sid­ered tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the ANZMI web­site for what he claims are defam­a­tory com­ments.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

DIF­FER­ENT DAY: Isis RSL pres­i­dent Roy Owen at Re­mem­brance Day in Childers.

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