Veterans receive medals
31 August 2015
Three Torres Strait World War II veterans have been honoured for their service in the tropics during the defence of Australia.
Mebai Warasum, Bamia Mast and Palm Stephen were presented with campaign medals by the Prime Minister and Chief of the Defence Force in a ceremony on Thursday Island on 25 August.
All three veterans have family currently serving in the Australian Defence Force and they were there to support them at the presentation.
Mebai Warasum has three grandchildren currently serving with the Army on Thursday Island as part of C Company, 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.
His granddaughter and member of C Company, Cecilia, said she was very proud of seeing her grandfather recognised for his service.
"I was so happy and overwhelmed. I wanted to cry because I felt so proud," she said.
"He was so proud of me joining the Army and he was part of the reason I joined."
Palm Stephen never received his medals because his name was misspelt and his records were lost for a time.
The Federal member for Leichhardt, Mr Warren Entsch, followed-up Mr Stephen’s story and tracked down his records in time for the presentation.
"My grandfathers were all part of the Torres Strait Light Infantry and my uncles, brothers and aunties have been a part of C Company over the years," he said.
"I'd heard a lot of their stories and took my opportunity to join up and do my bit."
Sergeant Troy Stow is another member of C Company and seeing his grandfather, Bamia Mast, presented his medals was a very special moment for him.
"Seeing my grandfather being recognised for his service was a big thing for me," he said.
"I know how proud he would have felt coming back here to the Torres Strait and being here on the side of the hill where he was based in the war."
"He tells a lot of stories and shares a lot of songs about the work he used to do and he’s very proud of what they achieved."