• July 27, 2021

The Dark History of Ben Roberts-Smith’s Hidden Crusader Patch

An image of Ben Roberts-Smith wearing a Crusader patch on his military uniform has emerged, and it is a symbol that has a long and ugly history in far-right circles.

An image of Ben Roberts-Smith with a crusader patch and artwork commemorating Australian soldiers from WWI (Images: Australian War Memorial; ADF)

For an alleged war criminal fighting to clean up his reputation in Federal Court, we certainly continue to hear a lot of very nasty things about former special forces officer Ben Roberts-Smith. The last detail, reported in the Nine papers, was that Roberts-Smith wore a Crusader insignia patch while fighting in Afghanistan. Later, the Department of Defense modified the image to remove the patch before sending it to the Australian War Memorial.

The defense will not answer questions about why the image was edited, but will report Crikey “does not approve or allow the use, display or adoption of symbols, emblems and iconography that are in disagreement with the values ​​of the Defense.”

But any shame Defense may have about the image makes sense. Crusader crosses and other medieval iconography have a long history in far-right circles. White supremacists fetishize the Middle Ages and see the crusades as a glorious race war. That Australian soldiers wear them while deployed to a Muslim country sends an alarming message.

Learn more about the history of the symbol on Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform …

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