Coins honour Defence service

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Teresa Jurkovic (author), CPL Dan Pinhorn (photographer)

Topic(s): Operations, Honours, Awards and Trophies, Ceremony and Traditions, Centenary of Anzac, Ships, Boats and Submarines

(L-R) Commodore Philip Spedding RAN, Group Captain Terry van Haren), Leading Seaman Anne Marie Becker, Warrant Officer Class One Kim Felmingham, and Colonel Peter Sibree (Retd) at the launch of the Medals of Honour Coin Collection at the Australian War Memorial. (photo: CPL Dan Pinhorn)
(L-R) Commodore Philip Spedding RAN, Group Captain Terry van Haren), Leading Seaman Anne Marie Becker, Warrant Officer Class One Kim Felmingham, and Colonel Peter Sibree (Retd) at the launch of the Medals of Honour Coin Collection at the Australian War Memorial.

Two Navy personnel have been included in a new commemorative coin collection launched on 3 April by the Governor-General his Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).

The Legends of the Anzacs – Medals of Honour collection was launched at the Australian War Memorial and features five current serving members’ profiles and awards on the coin backing cards, comprises 14 coins highlighting a variety of decorations, campaigns and service medals awarded to Australians over the past 100 years.

Representing Navy are Commodore Philip Spedding for the Distinguished Service Cross and Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Anne Becker, for the Australian Operational Service Medal.

Commodore Spedding received his honour for command of Anzac frigate HMAS Stuart in 2004 when the ship took part in the rescue of US personnel following a suicide attack by three boats on oil terminals at Basra and Al Faw, in southern Iraq. 

He attributed his success to those around him, saying it was thanks to “the efforts of the fine men and women that I commanded and the tremendous things that they achieved”.

Joining the Navy in 1982, Commodore Spedding said he was fortunate to have had a fabulous career.

“The Navy still offers so many opportunities – you just have to grab them," he said.

“I am privileged to have been able to serve. What we do matters. Service life puts a demand on us, particularly on our families, but knowing that you are doing something of vital importance to the nation is very satisfying.”

Leading Seaman Becker said she felt honoured and respected for serving her country.

“I feel honoured to be recognised for my contribution in the Middle East region for maritime security and counterterrorism and counter piracy,” she said.

She joined the Navy seeking a rewarding and challenging career.

Both members attended the launch and were presented with a set of the coins by the Governor-General, who expressed his gratitude to all those who have served in the Australian Defence Force.

“Whatever the medal, whatever the decoration, the thing all our veterans share is pride in a nation and pride in service,” he said.

The Directorate of Honours and Awards started work collectively on the project in June 2016 with the Royal Australian Mint, News Corp, Government House and the Australian War Memorial.

Director of Honours and Awards, Margot Kropinski-Myers said the campaign was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the medals and decorations awarded to Australian Defence members over the past 100 years.

The coin collection is available to purchase nationally through News Corp Australia newspapers.

One coin was released each day beginning in late March in Western Australia, and early April in the rest of the country. All profits associated with the initiative will be donated to Legacy Australia.