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World War II soldiers to be awarded French Legion of Honour

World War II soldiers to be awarded French Legion of Honour in Christchurch

Embassy of France in New Zealand

6 October 2015

On Friday the 9th of October, Ambassador of France to New Zealand Mrs Florence Jeanblanc-Risler will present Mr Donald Ivey and Mr Frank Hill with the medal of Knight of the national Order of the Legion of Honour during a ceremony at the Christchurch Memorial RSA.

For their eminent merits in service to the nation, President François Hollande has officially appointed as Knights of the national Order of the Legion of Honour:

Flying Officer Mr Donald Ivey

Born in Timaru, Mr Ivey enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in January 1941 to undertake training as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner. After completing further training in Canada, Mr Ivey arrived in the United Kingdom in December 1943. From April 1944 until April 1945, Mr Ivey was posted to the 487 Squadron and was taking part in operational sorties with this squadron as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force during D-Day, flying missions in support of the invasion.

Able Seaman Mr Frank Hill

Born in Christchurch, Mr Hill enlisted in the Army Territorial Force in April 1942. He was later transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy in March of 1944 and undertook training at HMNZS Tamaki and Philomel. Embarking for the United Kingdom in August of 1944, Mr Hill was posted to HMS Drake for further training and from the 29th of November 1944 he served in European waters on board Tank Landing Ship 369.

Ambassador Florence Jeanblanc-Risler highlights the importance for France of recognising the contributions of war veterans to the French liberation. “There are many bonds which weave through the shared history of France and New Zealand. Never was this relationship more strongly forged than as allies on the battlefield. As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War, it is appropriate that we continue to pay tribute to and to honour those who fought for France. It will therefore be with pride that I present Mr Ivey and Mr Hill with their Legion of Honour medals as we recognise their courage, valour and their unfailing and exceptional commitment throughout the length of their military services as part of the allied forces.”

Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour seeks to reward both military and civilian distinguished services rendered to the nation. The awarding of this medal falls under a campaign of recognition undertaken by France to officially distinguish the veterans who fought in the Second World War as well as the civilians who worked in the shadows to facilitate the liberation.

To date, twelve New Zealanders have already been recognised for their contribution to the liberation of France - Mrs Phyllis Ada Latour (Pippa Doyle), Mr Penwill Moore, Mr John Morris, Mr Keith Boles, Mr Hugh Findlater, Mr Roger Maclean, Mr Neil Harton, Mr John Munro, Mr Clive Estcourt, Mr Noel Sutherland, Mr Alan Davis and Mr Phillip Stewart. The Embassy of France would like to recognise the integral role of the New Zealand Defence Force in the identification of New Zealand veterans to be awarded the Legion of Honour.


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