SYDNEY: The bodies of 32 Australian servicemen and civilians buried in Malaysia are to be repatriated this week.
The bodies, buried in the Terendak military cemetery, are expected to arrive at the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force Base in Sydney on Thursday morning, according to a report in the Special Broadcasting Service of Australia.
The first Australian to die in the Vietnam War, who was buried in Singapore’s Kranji Cemetery, would also be returned to Australia under the government-funded programme, it said.
After a private ceremony at the air base, police will form a green light corridor to allow the procession of 33 hearses to pass through the Parramatta CBD and western Sydney.
Reinterment services will take place across the country in the coming weeks, the report added.
“The repatriation is about remembering those who fought, endured and died to serve their country,” the SBS report quoted Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate as saying.
The programme means Australians killed in the Vietnam War will now receive equal repatriation treatment, following non retrospective changes to the law in 1966 that stipulated bodies of battlefield casualties be returned to Australia for burial, the Department of Veterans Affairs said.