John Bradford wishes to make the following comments:
It's been a long journey - and as you will see from some of the dates given in the report, far too long really - but at this time I feel totally vindicated by the stance I took all those years ago and by the decision that's now been made public. But more than that I am extremely relieved to find that, finally, someone saw things my way and was in a position to do something about it.
Despite all the excuses Defence put my way on why nothing could be done, I was always sustained in the belief that, above all else, the cause was one of 'national honour'. While the report states that the men were 'overlooked' (section 46) - and I think that might just be a pretty euphemistic way of putting it - looking back over the nine years, it seemed to me it was going to be forever difficult to convince the various ministries involved of the merits of the case for recognition. Like that nonsense rhyme of the man on the stairs who wasn't there; I got to feel they did so wish I would go away. The natural consequence of all this stalling was that many of the next of kin I initially communicated with did not live to see this day. That fact I find particularly sad. .
Anyone who wishes to read more on how this issue evolved over the years 2001- 2008 can go to my website ~http://users.picknowl.com.au/~wjb718/fepow-recognition.html (With the defeat of the Liberal government in November 2007, the new Labor governemnt fulfilled its election promise of setting up an Honours and Awards Tribunal which was charged with looking into a number of long-standing issues that needed resolution. I therefore thought it prudent to put this record on hold until such time as a decision was reached.) Also AWM119 122 (the second item in Appendix 3) is available in digitised form on our national archives website: www.naa.gov.au via 'record search'.
I would like to place on record my thanks for the support I've received over the years from the President of the Victorian Ex-Prisoners of War & Relatives Association, Bill Flowers, who from time-to-time has been sighted on your pages, and Julian Putkowski. Julian came out of left field so to speak, but he'd 'been there and done that' in relation to running a 16 year posthumous pardons campaign for soldiers who were convicted and shot for so-called cowardice and desertion in WW1. In an amendment to the 2006 Army Act, HM Government finally conceded that the men had not deserved execution. Julian's counsel on how the FEPoW issue should be approached and what obstacles I might find along the way was always greatly appreciated