War widow pension for husband’s PTSD 65 years earlier

Geoffrey Holden, who served in the South West Pacific in small army ships from 1945 to 1946, died of ischaemic heart disease in August 2011, aged 85. His ships had delivered supplies to troops at night to avoid detection by the Japanese, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) said.

His widow, Jean Holden, was initially denied the pension by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Repatriation Commission, and that decision was later confirmed by the Veterans’ Review Board.

But Mrs Holden took the matter to the AAT, which this month overturned the decision and said she was eligible for the pension on grounds that it could not be proven beyond doubt that Mr Holden’s death was not “war caused”.

Mr Holden was never diagnosed with PTSD but his widow produced notes he wrote in 2010 which described “a severe storm which flooded the boat and everyone on board was sick” before an Australian vessel towed the boat