Few institutions in this country's history can boast an armed services involvement such as that of Hale School .
In almost every theatre of war, through the Boer War, 1914-18 Great War, World War II to the Korean and then Vietnam conflicts, Haleians have been there. Those mentioned below achieved some notoriety. For an account of each of the Old Haleians who lost their lives whilst serving their country - please see the Memorial Groves page which includes a flip book presentation of each and every one.
The ‘Wooden Horse Escape’ was one of the most innovative escapes of WWII. A tunnel was dug under the noses of the German guards using a vaulting ‘horse’ placed over the mouth of a tunnel relatively near to the prison wire. Though weak with hunger, dozens of men including Ian Keys (1931-34) vaulted and exercised on and around the horse daily for many months, while those below audaciously excavated their way beneath the wire. Three men managed to successfully escape and make their way back to England.
'Great Escaper'Flight Lieutenant Paul Gordon Royle (1923-27) (wearing the hat) was an Australian Royal Air Force pilot who was one of the last two survivors of the 76 men who were able to escape from the Stalag Luft III German POW in WWII in what became known as ‘the Great Escape’. On the night of 24th March 1944, Paul was fifty seventh in the queue of war prisoners waiting to escape and teamed up with Flight Lieutenant Edgar Humphreys, the next in line. After being pulled through the narrow tunnel on a trolley and climbing the exit ladder, Paul and Edgar ran for the cover of pine trees and then set off in the direction of Switzerland. They evaded capture for two nights and crossed the Berlin to Breslau Autobahn before they were arrested by the home guard upon entering a village. The two men were interrogated by the Gestapo in Görlitz, Paul was then returned to solitary confinement in Stalag Luft III.
Ben Roberts-Smith (1994-95) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak on 11 June 2010 as part of an offensive in the Shah Wali Kot region while serving with the Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan. The medal, together with his Medal for Gallantry awarded during a tour of Afghanistan in 2006, made Ben the most highly decorated serving member of the Australian Defence Force. He was presented with the Victoria Cross by the then Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce. He was also later awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service for his leadership as a patrol commander during a 2012 tour of Afghanistan.
David Ward (1956-63) started his military background at Hale School as a cadet under officer in his last 2 years of school and then at the Leederville ATC Unit. During 1965 whilst studying, David was called up by the National Service Scheme and attended officer training. David served in Vietnam and when an Infantry Platoon Commander was killed in a Viet Cong ambush, David assumed this role. He participated in the Battles of Coral and Balmoral during the 2nd TET offensive 1968. These battles were considered the most significant battles that Australians were involved in, in South Vietnam. In 2018, David and his fellow Unit members were awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for their participation.