The Highest honour #39 | Ben Roberts-Smith | James RogersBy The Cove October 10, 2021
Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC, MG (1978 - )
Ben Roberts-Smith was born on 01 November 1978 in Perth, Western Australia. He joined the Australian Army in 1996.
He was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment over the period 1997 - 2003 where he completed two operational tours of East Timor. In 2003 he successfully completed the selection course for Australia's Special Air Service Regiment (SASR).
During his first operational tour of Afghanistan with the SASR in 2006 he was awarded the Medal of Gallantry for his actions as a patrol scout and sniper during Operation Slipper. He went on to do six operational tours of Afghanistan.
During his fifth tour of Afghanistan, on 11 June 2010, Roberts-Smith was involved in an operation to search for a senior Taliban commander in the Kandahar province. Here he took part in an assault against an enemy fortification, exposing his own position in order to draw fire away from members of his patrol who were pinned down. Fighting at close range, he stormed two enemy machine-gun posts and silenced them. For this action Roberts-Smith was awarded a Victoria Cross. His citation in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette noted that, 'his selfless actions in circumstances of great peril served to enable his patrol to break into the enemy's defences and to regain the initiative ... resulting in a tactical victory.'
On his sixth tour of Afghanistan he was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service for exceptional leadership, courage, mentoring and reconnaissance in the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances.
After 17 years of service, Ben discharged from the regular Army in 2013.
Lieutenant James Rogers VC (1875 - 1961, 86yo)
James Rogers was born on 02 June 1898 in Moama, New South Wales. At the completion of schooling he worked on his father's farm in Heywood, Victoria, where he joined the Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1898.
At the outbreak of the South African War, Rogers enlisted into the 1st Victorian Mounted Infantry Company and in November 1899 disembarked to Cape Town. Six months later, he transferred to the South African Constabulary. The following year, during an ambush by about 60 Boers, near Thaba 'Nchu, Orange Free State, he rescued soldiers who had lost their horses on three separate occasions, each time while under heavy fire. On his return to Australia it was recommended that his gallantry be recognised and on 18 April 1902 was awarded the Victoria Cross.
After a brief return to Australia in 1902, Rogers went back to the war as a Lieutenant in the Australian Commonwealth Horse. He also served during the First World War, but was invalided home in 1916 because of serious wounds received in Gallipoli. After the war, Rogers was a grazier in Victoria and later retired to Sydney. He died in Concord Repatriation Hospital in 1961.