Michael Wood, father of Sapper David Wood who took his own life after struggling with the trauma of fighting in Afghanistan.
Michael Wood, father of Sapper David Wood who took his own life after struggling with the trauma of fighting in Afghanistan. Marc Stapelberg

Family wins battle to have son acknowledged by War Memorial

AFGHANISTAN veteran David Wood, who took his own life in 2013 while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, will become the first victim of war-induced PTSD added to the nation's roll of honour at the Australian War Memorial.

The ground-breaking decision, made by the War Memorial council on March 11, paves the way for the honour roll to include other veterans who took their own lives while suffering the debilitating condition.

David's father, Michael Wood, said his family were incredibly relieved after waiting 12 months for the War Memorial council to reach a final decision.

He said the nation had now clearly acknowledged the tragedy of his young son's death as war-inflicted.

"It is a war injury… it's no different from getting shot and dying six months later from liver failure," Mr Wood said.

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"That's how the Army feels now too."

Mr Wood was notified last week via a private phone call from Army chief Lieutenant General David Morrison, and a subsequent letter from the Director of the War Memorial, Brendan Nelson.

David Wood was buried with full military honours in a service attended by hundreds of soldiers.
David Wood was buried with full military honours in a service attended by hundreds of soldiers. Cathy Adams

Mr Nelson wrote he hoped it "would in some way bring comfort to you that our nation will remember David's service".

"The Afghanistan Roll of Honour will be recast and David's name added before the end of the year," he wrote

"Sadly, I anticipate there will be other names to be added in addition to David's."

Mr Wood said he hoped the decision would support other families who had lost children to PTSD-related suicide.

"Suicide is an insidious feeling… you do constantly ask yourself on a daily, hourly basis 'what if'," he said.

"You feel responsible; you feel like you could have done something differently.

"This just takes a little bit of pressure off those thoughts."

"It has enabled us to be more open with our pride."

"I guess it helps our country move forward."



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