Being Prepared: Commemorating Your Service

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The nature of a veteran’s war service may mean they are entitled to have their service commemorated at their site of interment or on a plaque in a Garden of Remembrance. This entitlement is known as official commemoration and is provided by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

OAWG appreciates that planning for end of life is not an easy process, just as negotiating loss and bereavement can be an overwhelming time for loved ones who are grieving and managing arrangements for a final farewell. It is helpful to discuss plans with loved ones: the more our loved ones and executors know, the better.

To assist veterans and their families, the following information may be helpful.

Connect or reconnect with DVA

If a veteran is not sure if they are entitled to official commemoration, if their service-related condition has changed or if they have a new condition, they can approach DVA for advice as a claim or re-assessment may be beneficial – not just as it may relate to official commemoration, but because they may be entitled to additional entitlements of support.

You can do this by telephone: 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) or via email GeneralEnquiries [at]

If you are eligible for official commemoration, phone or email a member of the OAWG team, to seek further information about official commemoration options. You will find detailed information about official commemoration here. You can also contact OAWG by phone on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372), or via email wargraves [at]

Use of Service Badge on a private memorial

If a veteran is not entitled to an official commemoration, or has chosen a private commemoration, they can still acknowledge their service on a private memorial. OAWG can provide a letter of permission to use the relevant service badge. This letter can be included in personal papers and it can assist families making bereavement arrangements.

You can find further information about using a service badge on a commemoration here.

Some helpful advice

Upon the death of a loved one, veteran families, executors or other responsible persons are asked to contact the DVA Bereavement team - Phone 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).

Where a veteran is eligible for official commemoration, DVA will notify the OAWG and the next of kin of the veteran or their executor will receive an offer to apply for official commemoration.

Open Arms support current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel and their families: Telephone: 1800 011 046 or go to visit the Open Arms website.

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