a former state RSL sub-branch president who has claimed to be a war veteran for more than four decades has been charged with multiple deception offences.69 year old Lance Smith is alleged to have "claimed he was among the first Australian infantry to serve in Vietnam in 1965". He reportedly joined the Glenroy RSL in 1972 and resigned as the branch's president last month.
Smith reportedly faces charges of
having suspected proceeds of crime, wearing service decorations not conferred upon him, falsely representing himself to be a person upon whom Army decorations had been conferred, falsely representing himself to be a returned soldier and obtaining a financial advantage by pretending to be an RSL member".He had been
photographed apparently wearing a Returned from Active Service badge, issued by the Federal Government to those returning from warlike service. He was also alleged to have a set of "dog tags" - metal identification tags that soldiers wear around the neck. Searches of the national archives failed to show that the service number cited by Mr Smith had been issued by the Department of Defence, and no defence service file for someone with his name and birth date could be discovered.Sadly, Smith reportedly did not provide documentation regarding his military service, instead relying on a traditional explanation in "claiming that his military record had been kept secret because he had been a witness in a case concerning stolen weapons".