VC award would be based on lies, military historian warns

Historians in the News

GUNNER Albert (Neil) Cleary was a brave victim of the most appalling atrocities by Japanese guards in Borneo during World War II, agrees military historian Lynette Silver.

But Silver insists Cleary should never have been given the posthumous distinction of being mentioned in dispatches in 2011, still less be now considered by this week's Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal for a posthumous Victoria Cross.

She says the evidence being used to support Cleary's elevation to the pantheon of Australian war heroes is based on perjured testimony given by two of Cleary's fellow POWs, Private Keith Botterill and Lance Bombardier Bill Moxham.

Silver says Botterill and Moxham - frustrated by what they viewed as lenient punishments being handed out to their Japanese torturers - lied under oath at the War Crimes Trials held in Papua New Guinea in 1946 about how Cleary died on May 20, 1945, at Ranau.

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