Surname: Buchtmann
Christian Names: Gerard Francis
Country: Australia
State or Province: NSW
City or Town: Penrith
Service: Citizen Military Force
Case Notes:

Gerard Francis BUCHTMANN, QGM, JP, DOB 6 December 1945 of Penrith New South Wales enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) in 1963, and who like his twin brother John like to wear a lot of medals which means nothing other than to impress people who know nothing about medals.

We first came across Gerard Buchtmann on the internet which shows his history with the Volunteer Rescue Association in Penrith NSW. Now we are not saying his has not done a great job there and give him credit for the work he is doing as well as being awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for actions he has carried out. The only thing wrong which caught our eye is he is wearing ribbons which he should not be.This is what is written about Gerard at the following web site.



Gerard Francis Buchtmann has lived in the Penrith community for the past 48 years.

Gerard was a founding member of the Nepean Rescue Organisation and Squad and has been instrumental in meetings with Emergency Service Heads, Police Rescue and V.R.A. prior to its first meeting held on 7 July 1975.

Gerard joined the Nepean Rescue Organisation and Squad at the initial meeting on 7 July 1975 and joined the Training Squad at its initial Training Day on 12 July 1975.

Gerard joined the Rescue Squad on the 13 December 1975 and has been a member of the Nepean Rescue Squad / Penrith V.R.A. Rescue Squad for the past 33 years.

Gerard was initial Squad Captain for four years, Senior Deputy Captain for 29 years and is now Deputy Captain of the NSW Rescue Service – Penrith and remains a member of the Nepean Rescue Organisation Inc.

As Deputy Captain, Gerard also represented the Squad at District Emergency management Committee and District Rescue Committee level.

Following the Granville train disaster, Gerard was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and Granville Medal in 1977. Gerard was then appointed Rescue Officer NSW Fire Brigades.


2205726 Gerard Francis Buchtmann enlisted in the CMF and joined a Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Unit (RAEME) on 3 September 1963. He transferred to the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps (RAAMC) 1 Field Ambulance, for a short period before transferring back to RAEME. He was discharged at his own request on 18 December 1964 and re-enlisted with the same unit on 6 September 1965. He attended a RAEME Promotion Coaching Course on 17 July 1966 and failed to qualifyhe also attended a CMF Drivers Course and qualified on 17 November 1966. He was discharged on 31 August 1967.

On 11 November 2010 both Gerard on the right as you look at the photo and John to his left attended and laid at wreath at the Penrith Remembrance Day Ceremony and a photo was taken showing them wearing numerous medals on both sides of their chests, also both are wearing a beret with the RAEME badge.

They are also wearing military head dress with civilian uniforms so they could salute after laying the wreath and the head dress should only be worn with a military uniform.

When not in military uniform, the correct gesture of respect for the fallen is that after bowing the head, one's medals are covered with the right hand or headwear.  It's called "the veterans' salute", but it's also appropriate for non-veterans.

This tradition is explained below.

The Salute by Veterans at the Cenotaph or Wreath Laying Ceremony (Remembrance Service)

It will be noticed at any Remembrance Service or when passing a Cenotaph Veterans will place their Right Hand over their “Left Side” many may believing that they are placing their ‘Hand over their Heart” in Respect or Remembrance of their Fallen Comrades”;- this is not so.

The Veterans Salute to their “Fallen Comrades” originated in London on Armistice Day in 1920, during the ceremony to unveil and dedicate the Cenotaph in Whitehall at the same time a funeral procession accompanying the remains of the “Unknown Soldier” halted at the Cenotaph during the ceremony before proceeding to Westminster Abbey for internment. Those present included the senior Soldier, sailor and many Victoria Cross winners. The ceremony concluded with a march past. The Regimental Sergeant Major of the Guard Regiment conducting the ceremony, faced with a gathering of highly decorated and high ranking military men (including many Victoria Cross winners), all wearing rows of medals, decreed that all would salute the Cenotaph as they marched past by placing their hand over their medals, signifying that “No matter what honours we may have been awarded they are nothing compared with the honour due to those who paid the supreme sacrifice”.

I will now cover the medals Gerard is wearing starting from left to right on his left breast.

Queen’s Gallantry Medal(official entitled)

National Medal(official- entitled )

Conscript Medal(un-official purchased medal. Should not be worn at all)

CMF/Reserve Forces Medal(un-official, same as above)

Emergency Services medal(un-official, same as above)

The last three medals have been made up by either individuals or organizations and sold to persons willing to purchase them. They are commonly called tin medals as they are not recognized medals by Honours and Awards or the Defence department who are the only people who can issue Australian Medals produced officially by the Federal Government. Those last three medals should be removed immediately from the left breast.

The CMF/Reserve Forces Medal should not be mistaken for the official Reserve Forces Medal which is issued after 15 years service.

There is an official Emergency Services Medal if persons have completed the requirements.


The Emergency Services Medal recognises distinguished service by members of emergency services across Australia, and people who are involved in emergency management training or education. 

How it is awarded

The Governor-General awards the Emergency Services Medal on the recommendation of the responsible Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers.  The medal may be awarded to a person who has given distinguished service as a member of an emergency service. 

The medal my be awarded regardless of whether the person is eligible for any other award because of the service.  However, a person who is already a holder of the medal is not eligible for another award of the medal. 

Each Australian emergency service organization may award:  

One medal for every 1,000 full-time members, or part of 1,000, full-time members in every calendar year.

One medal for every 5,000, or part of 5,000 part-time, volunteer or auxiliary members. 

One medal may be awarded in a calendar yearfrom each of the following: 

Australian Capital Territory.  

The Northern Territory and

One medal from all external Territories. 

Awards are announced on Australia Day (January 26) and the Queen's Birthday (June) each year. 

Only one award can be made to an individual. Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal ESM. 

Persons can be nominated for the award at the following web site. http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/awards/inded.cfm


The medals on the right breast of Gerard, are:

NSW Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal with two clasps denoting 30 years service. [This is an official NSW State Government Award and is worn on the correct side]

Granville Train Disaster Medal [as above]

Volunteer Rescue Association Service Medal [un-official, should not be worn]

Information from the above site:

Q14.  How do I wear my state awards?

A14.  State awards are worn on the right breast because only national awards in the Commonwealth Government "Order of Wearing" are worn on the left breast.  Also from the above site:  Unofficial medals: 

Ex-service organisations sometimes commission their own unofficial medals to mark participation in  particular military campaigns, periods of service or types of service that have not been recognised through the Australian honours system.  Awards made by foreign governments which have not been approved by the Governor-General for acceptance and wear are also "unofficial".  There is no impediment to wearing such medals in appropriate private settings, such as a meeting of the relevant ex-service association, or a reception hosted by the relevant foreign government. Ideally, unofficial medals should not be worn at public ceremonial and commemorative events, but if they are worn as the occasion demands, the convention is that they are worn on the right breast. 

Order of wearing.

There is an established order of precedence for the wearing of Australian decorations.  You can download a copy of the Order Of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards document.  The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards - RTF 325KB/PDF 61KB.

NOTE: If the Medal is not on that list it should not be worn on the left breast.

As Gerard Francis Buchtmann QGM, JP has a total disregard to the Order of Wearing Medals and shows no respect to Veterans who wear their correct entitlement which can easily be seen in the photo taken on Remembrance Day with Veterans in the background. He will grace our pages for the world to see.

29th May 2011


With regard to our cases on both John and Gerard Buchtmann we have received further information regarding the medals they are wearing. The blue and white medal which we have recorded as the Granville Train Disaster Medal is incorrect. It is in fact the 25th Anniversary Granville Train Disaster Medal.

The original medal had a hand stitched ribbon similar in colour to the United Nations Medal ribbon.

When John and Gerard had their medals Court mounted which means the medals are mounted in such a way that the medals are next to each other and do not move, whereas the old method of mounting medals had them over lapping each other and they would swing as you marched.

The ribbon the Buchtmann twins used was the UN ribbon for their anniversary medals and they never served with the United Nations.

In actual fact, no medal was ever issued for that disaster, only a medallion by the New South Wales Government was issued.

National Service

Both twins wear the Conscript Medal which is what we refer to as a tin medal as it is an un-official medal. John however wears the official commemorative National Service Medal. We cannot find a list of all those that were called up for National Service and We cannot say whether he was officially awarded that medal.

On their service records there is no mention that they were serving with the Citizen Military forces (CMF) in lieu of full time National service of two years.  At the time, which I know from personal experience as I was in the CMF prior to joining the Australian Regular Army, we were advised that if you registered for National Service, you could do six years CMF and not be called up.

We cannot get a copy of the original Act which states that as it has been repealed and the only copy of the Act on line is the Act dated 1971 which had a large number of amendments to some sections and some were sections were repealed.

We did manage to find a document from National Archives which shows that in 1964 the Act had an amendment to make it six years CMF and also information on the Australian War Memorial web site which backs this up. This was done to stop persons joining the CMF before the ballot was drawn and then resigning from the CMF after finding out they had not been called up.



Appendix: The national service scheme, 1964-72
by Sue Langford

Two provisions enabled youths to enlist in the Citizen Forces rather than undertake national service. They could enlist before their twentieth birthday and give at least one year's effective service, and were required to continue to give a further five years' service. Alternatively, they could join the Citizen Forces before the ballot for their age group and, provided they were accepted for service in the Citizen Forces, were obliged to serve for six years.

The Government soon became aware of a loophole in these provisions. If balloted out, youths were able to resign from the Citizen Forces immediately afterwards. The Government soon closed the loophole and from 8 December 1965 registrants who had enlisted in the Citizen Forces had to serve a total of six years irrespective of whether they were balloted in or out. In addition, youths who did not serve efficiently in the Citizen Forces were liable for call-up.

The following document is from the National archives web site.

As you will see from the following information, both had to register for National Service as their birthday was on 6 December 1945 and ballot they would have been in was drawn on 10 September 1965.

Birthdates drawn in the second National Service ballot: 10 September 1965

Men included in the ballot who were born in the period 1 July 1945 to 31 December 1945.

July 3, 6, 7, 8, 16, 22, 25, 26, 31

August 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26

September 2, 4, 5, 6, 14, 17, 21, 25, 26

October 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 23, 25, 29

November 3, 4, 12, 14, 15, 16, 22, 24, 27

December 6, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31

John enlisted in the CMF on 20 September 1965, 10 days after the ballot was drawn for two years only, and not the required six years if he was serving in the CMF in lieu of full time National Service if he had been called up.

Gerard enlisted in the CMF for two periods 3 September 1963 to 10 December 1964 and 6 September 1965 to 31 August 1967, notice he re-enlisted 4 days before the ballot was drawn which means he did not do the required six years in lieu of National Service if he had been called up.

The amendment for six years service was made on 8 December 1965 and had they been called up and serving in the CMF in lieu of full time National Service it would have been recorded in their service records as they were both in the CMF at the time of the amendment and would have had to change their time of enlistment to six years.

On the evidence provided, we will leave it up to you the reader, to decide if they had in actual fact been called up for national service.

This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.

Located in: Stolen Valour
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