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The recently completed
refurbishment of the Hall of
Valour at the Australian War
Memorial has created a fitting
space in which to tell some of
Australia’s finest stories.
By ANDREW JOHNSTON.
It is often said that we are defined by
the choices we make.
On September 3, 1915, on the
World War I battlefields of British East
Africa, 31-year-old Lieutenant William
Dartnell made the choice that defined
Shot in the leg during an ambush and
with his unit evacuating, Dartnell chose
to stay behind.
Twice he was given the option to
leave, and twice he refused, insisting his
injured companions be carried to safety
As German soldiers closed in, and
unwilling to leave his other wounded
brothers, he ordered his men to abandon
him and kept firing. It was a decision
that saved many of his mates and one
that cost him his life.
Ninety-six years later, outside the
dusty village of Tizak, Afghanistan, SAS
corporal Ben Roberts-Smith faced his
His patrol pinned down by heavy
fire and two of his comrades wounded,
Roberts-Smith exposed his position to
the enemy, drawing the hail of bullets
down upon himself.
Killing three insurgents at point blank
range, his actions lifted the weight of
fire from the remainder of his troop,
ultimately enabling the success of the
Two stories set nearly a century apart,
but the actions of Dartnell and Roberts-
Smith are linked by bonds that defy the
passage of time; courage, honour and
Theirs are just two of the remarkable
accounts of heroism on display in the
recently redeveloped Hall of Valour at
the Australian War Memorial.
The hall is home to the tales of each of
the 98 Australians who have received the
Victoria Cross (VC); Australia’s highest
militar y honour.
Considered to be both the physical
and spiritual heart of the Australian War
Memorial, the Hall of Valour now sits in
a vertical axis with the Hall of Memory
HerOeS: the Hall of Valour at the
australian War Memorial serves as a
tribute to the nation’s greatest warriors.
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