National Servicemen's Day 2024

National Servicemen's Day 2024

14 Feb 2024

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP

Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Member for New England

Media Release

14 February 2024

National Servicemen’s Day

Being an Australian young man 73 years ago, the date you were born, like a lottery, was the difference between if you were sent to the front line of defence for our nation and later, in many cases, sent overseas. On this day in 1951, conscripted draftees marched into their respective barracks, marking the date that we now commemorate, National Servicemen’s Day, 14th of February. Today we commemorate and celebrate those who have served in National Service due to compulsory military service.

In a period from 1951 to 1972, approximately 280,000 men were conscripted to serve the nation with compulsory training in the Citizens Military Forces between 1910 and 1945.

In May 1965, the Australian Government introduced new powers that enabled it to send National Servicemen overseas. All 20-year-old males had to register with the Department of Labour and National Service, and their names were selected by the “birthday ballot”, in which men were randomly selected for National Service by their date of birth. Those who were selected were required to serve for two years full-time in the Regular Army and three years part-time in the Reserves.

Between 1951 and 1959, 52 intakes were organised, and some 227,000 men were trained. Nearly 4,500 served in Borneo with some in support units in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Between 1965 to 1972, a total of 63,740 men were drafted into the Army over a seven-year period. 15,000 conscripts served in Vietnam with 200 killed in action and 1,200 wounded.

Today we thank them and remember them.

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