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    Army Museum of NSW - Medals of the Month

Medals of the Month - August 2020

Medals awarded to 17032 Brigadier Francis James Cross. L - R: (1) Member of the Order of Australia, (2) Distinguished Service Medal, (3) Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasps VIETNAM and MALAYSIA, (4) General Service Medal 1962 with clasp BORNEO, (5) Vietnam Medal with oak leaf for the award of a Mention in Despatches, (6) Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 with clasp SE ASIA, (7) Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (8) Defence Force Service Medal with one clasp, (9) National Medal, (10) Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

1934. Francis James Cross (Frank) was born on 12th August at Sarina, North Queensland to Francis (also Frank) Cross and his wife, Katherine (Kitty). Frank senior worked in the Sarina sugar mill. He had been selected to represent Australia in swimming at the 1936 Olympics Games in Berlin, however, the expense and a new baby on the way meant he couldn't go.

1947-1951. Educated at Rockhampton Grammar School, Central Queensland.

1952-1956. Attends the Royal Military College Duntroon, ACT where he is awarded the RMC Sword of Honour upon graduation as a Lieutenant in the Australian Regular Army.

Frank Cross as a cadet at RMC Duntroon.

Awarded for exemplary conduct and performance of duty by a cadet at RMC Duntroon, Senior Under Officer Frank Cross is presented with the Sword of Honour on 11 December 1956 by the Prime Minister, Mr RG Menzies (later Sir Robert Menzies). The award was reported on page 3 of the Wednesday 12 December 1956 edition of "The Canberra Times".

1956-1957. Attends Royal Melbourne Technical College from which he is awarded a Diploma in Civil Engineering.

1958-1960. Posted to the 21st Construction Squadron then the 23rd Construction Squadron. Sees service at Maralinga, South Australia as part of the Army's contribution to the United Kingdom's nuclear testing program in the late 50s/early 60s.

1960. Marries Lyla Mary Pekin and they raise four sons, Francis, Paul, Andrew & Peter.

1960. Promoted Captain.

1962. Exchange Officer USARPAC (US Army Pacific) in Hawaii.

1964. Transfers to 7th Field Squadron.

1964-1966. OC (Officer Commanding) 7th Field Squadron as a temporary Major at Keningau, North Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation.

1966. Promoted substantive Major.

1967. Instructor at SME (School of Military Engineering) in the Liverpool Military Area, New South Wales.

1969-1970. General Staff Officer Grade 2 (Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations) at Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, South Vietnam. Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and is Mentioned in Despatches.

1970-1972. Posted to Papua New Guinea. Postings include Chief Engineer at the newly raised Joint Force Headquarters for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

1972. Promoted Lieutenant Colonel.

1978. Promoted Colonel. Chief Engineer at Headquarters Field Force Command.

1981. Promoted Brigadier.

Brigadier Frank Cross, early to mid-1980s.

1982. Represents Australia at the National Defence College in India.

1986. Commander 2MD (2nd Military District) at Victoria Barracks Sydney.

1987. Named in the Australia Day Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian Army in the fields of Military Engineering and Accommodation and Works.

1989. Retires from the Army and opens a small antique store on the New South Wales Central Coast. Also becomes a director of a local charity fund helping Legacy.

2020. Francis James Cross passed away on 9th May at Gosford, NSW.

Lest We Forget

Members of the public are most welcome to visit the Australian Army Museum of New South Wales to see these medals and many other interesting objects. Please click here for visiting arrangements.

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