Pretend diggers outrage veterans

SUNSHINE Coast ex-servicemen have expressed anger and disgust at the actions of two men alleged to have falsely represented themselves as returned soldiers and worn fake medals in an Anzac Day parade.

John Anthony Hines and George Edward Carr faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday, when the public gallery was packed with angry veterans.

Outrage over what the pair is alleged to have done is just as strong on the Coast.

The local president of the National Servicemen's Association of Australia, Bill Kirby, said there was no greater sign of disrespect than impersonating a returned service member.

"We're all extremely disgusted with the behaviour shown by these men and we rejoice in the fact that they've been brought to justice to face the court," Mr Kirby said. "For people to wear medals they haven't earned is disgraceful and in contempt of all those who have served."

Although it was very rare for such a thing to happen, Mr Kirby confirmed he had experienced at least one incident on the Coast.

"I've seen it, yes, but I will have to refrain from making any further comment," he said.

Mr Kirby said although it was possible to check every member's war history, it would be a huge undertaking.

"Every ex-serviceman has personal records, but people generally take you on your word and that's how it should be," he said.

Buderim War Memorial Association chairman Rod McKinnon agreed anyone found guilty of impersonating an ex-serviceman should face a harsh penalty.

The two men charged will return to court at a later date.



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