The Men - What do we define as an Australian.

Normal definition of an Australian is a person who is born here or becomes a citizen through a naturalisation ceremony.

Australia in 1914 was very much part of the empire. Many Australian born men and women considered themselves British, while some born in Britain considered themselves Australian. Lieutenant Colonel Oswald Watt was born in Britain but famously said, "I am an Australian and I have no manners". "Toby" Watt certainly cleared up any question regarding his nationality. Air Marshal Arthur Coningham on the other hand was born in Australia, but grew up in New Zealand and considered himself a New Zealander through and through. Some say that his nickname "Mary" was shortened from its original "Maori".

The dilemma for the author can be clear to see. How do I define an Australian.

Perhaps Air Commodore Mark Lax, best defined what we believe an Australian to be during his presentation "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" at the 2001 RAAF History Conference in Canberra.

Air Commodore Lax defined an Australian as;

"Now my definition of an 'Australian' for the purpose of the paper will be unashamedly loose - born in Australia or grew up here before joining up, or subsequently joined the RAAF".

Using Air Commodore Lax's definition as a foundation we have added a few other categories that makes up an Australian.

They are;

The person may have been educated here pre war, lived here permanently post war and passed away in Australia, enlisted in any arm of the Australian Military Forces or made a contribution to Australia through their endeavours.

Whilst this definition may cause some angst in certain quarters, every service man (or woman) mentioned in this book will have a connection to Australia.