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PM And Minister Present Medals To Veterans

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Veterans' Affairs Minister Mark Burton will today present medals to veterans for service in five separate operations between 1946 and 1994, which have not previously received New Zealand medallic recognition.

Last year, Helen Clark and Mark Burton announced a range of measures to improve medallic recognition for those who had served New Zealand in military operations since World War Two. A new Operational Service Medal is available to an estimated 50,000 service personnel, and a range of new and existing medals are being awarded to recognise specific operations for which no recognition has previously been forthcoming.

Helen Clark and Mark Burton will today present medals to naval veterans who served during the occupation of Japan 1946-49, at Suez in 1956 and off Malaysia in the 1960s; to New Zealanders who served during the Vietnam War; and to Air Force veterans of peacekeeping service in Rwanda in 1994.

"The reaction to the government’s medals initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive," Helen Clark said. "A medal provides tangible recognition and appreciation of a person's service to this country. Sadly, this has not always been forthcoming in the past."

Mark Burton said that most of the issues relating to recognition for operational service have now been settled.

"In many of these cases, veterans have waited decades to receive the proper recognition for their service from the government and people of New Zealand. It has been a great privilege to meet and hear from veterans who at long last are able to wear a visible token of recognition and appreciation for their service."

10 veterans are receiving medals today (1.15pm) at Parliament's Grand Hall. They include David Cox, President of the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association, who served on HMNZS Achilles in Japan in 1945-46. A brother and sister who both served in Vietnam are also recognised today. Mr Chris Turver served in Vietnam as a war correspondent in 1965 and his sister, Ms Deanne Hamilton, served as a nurse in Vietnam with the New Zealand surgical team in 1967-68 and again with a Save the Children Fund team in 1970-71.

Other veterans who consider they are eligible for a medal should write to:

Staff Officer Medals
Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force
Private Bag 905
UPPER HUTT

Veterans should supply as much of the following details as possible:

Service Number
Service: RNZN, NZ Army, RNZAF or name of other organisation
Full forename(s) and surname
Name of medal being applied for
Details of service that supports the claim.


Notes on Medals/Recipients

New Zealand Service Medal 1946-49

The New Zealand Service Medal 1946-49 recognises service during the post-war occupation of Japan. Eligibility has now been extended to those who served on HMNZ Ships Gambia and Achilles during the early stages of the occupation.

Recipients:
Mr Montague Hirtzel (Gambia)
Mr David Cox, RNZRSA President (Achilles)


New Zealand General Service Medal “Near East”

A new award recognises those who served on HMNZS Royalist during the 1956 Suez campaign. Royalist was present during the early stages of the British invasion of Egypt, but was withdrawn at the request of New Zealand. Although the New Zealand personnel were eligible for the Naval General Service Medal “Near East”, this was not accepted by New Zealand, as the government had not authorised participation in the operation. Although valid, this decision overlooked the primary reason for awarding medals – to recognise the service in question. Veterans of this service have long argued that their service should be recognised.

Recipients:
Mr Albert Carpenter (Royalist)
Mr Walter Inglis (Royalist)


General Service Medal “Malay Peninsula”

Service during the confrontation with Indonesia during the 1960s was recognised by the General Service Medal with the clasps “Borneo” or “Malay Peninsula”. An overly restrictive interpretation of the qualifying criteria meant that many New Zealand personnel; were not recognised. A new interpretation has resulted in eligibility for the GSM “Malay Peninsula” being extended to those who served in Malaysian waters on HMNZS Royalist in 1965 or HMNZS Otago in 1965.

Recipients:
James Blackburn, (President, HMNZS Otago Association)
Commander Robert Adams (Royalist)


New Zealand General Service Medal “Vietnam”

A range of service, both military and civilian, in Vietnam was excluded from recognition by the Vietnam Medal. This New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Vietnam” will now recognise, among other things, some short-term military service, and a range of humanitarian assistance.

Recipients:
Mr Chris Turver (NZPA correspondent 1965)
Ms Deanne Hamilton (Nurse, NZ Surgical Team 1967-68)


New Zealand General Service Medal “Rwanda”

Service with the RNZAF detachment that delivered relief supplies in Rwanda in 1994 will now be recognised by the award of the New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Rwanda”. New Zealand contributed a Hercules aircraft to the UNHCR relief effort following the genocide in Rwanda.

Recipients:
Flight Lieutenant Blair Houlihan
Sergeant Lesley Mayer


Full details of recipients

New Zealand Service Medal 1946-49

Mr Montague HIRTZEL joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1941 and served in HMNZS Gambia during the Second World War. Mr Hirtzel is awarded the New Zealand Service Medal 1946-1949 for his service in Gambia during the occupation of Japan.

Mr David COX joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1942 and served in HMNZ Ships Leander and Achilles during the Second World War. Mr Cox is now president of the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association and a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Mr Cox is awarded the New Zealand Service Medal 1946-1949 for his service in Achilles during the occupation of Japan.


New Zealand General Service Medal “Near East”

Mr Albert CARPENTER joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1943 and served in HMNZS Gambia during the Second World War and in HMNZS Tutira during the Korean War. Mr Carpenter was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1963 and retired from the Navy in 1966. Mr Carpenter is awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Near East” for his service in HMNZS Royalist at Suez in 1956.

Mr Walter INGLIS joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1952 and served in HMNZS Pukaki during the Korean War. Mr Inglis also saw operational service off Malaya in 1959 and in 1965 and 1966. Mr Inglis was awarded the British Empire Medal for gallantry in 1973 and retired in 1975. Mr Inglis is awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Near East” for his service in HMNZS Royalist at Suez in 1956.


General Service Medal “Malay Peninsula”

Commander Robert ADAMS joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1944 and served in the United Kingdom and the North Atlantic during the Second World War. Commander Adams retied from the Navy in 1973 and is awarded the General Service Medal with the clasp “Malay Peninsula” for his service in HMNZS Royalist off Malaya in 1965.

Mr James BLACKBURN served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1952. Mr Blackburn received the British Empire Medal in 1968 and retired in 1969. Mr Blackburn is President of the HMNZS Otago Association and is awarded the General Service Medal with the clasp “Malay Peninsula” for his service in HMNZS Otago off Malaya in 1966.

New Zealand General Service Medal “Vietnam”

Mr Chris TURVER went to Malaysia and Vietnam as a correspondent for the New Zealand Press Association in 1965. Mr Turver was wounded during his service in Vietnam. Mr Turver is awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Vietnam” for his service.

Ms Deanne HAMILTON served in Vietnam as a nurse with the New Zealand Surgical Team from 1967 to 1968. She returned to Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 as a member of the Save the Children Fund team. Ms Hamilton is awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal with the clasp “Vietnam” for her service.

New Zealand General Service Medal: “Rwanda”

Flight Lieutenant Blair HOULIHAN joined the RNZAF in 1990 and has served at Wigram, Auckland, Ohakea and Woodbourne. Flight Lieutenant Houlihan was the Air Movements Officer of No 1 Air Load Team with No 40 Squadron when he participated in the operation leading to him being awarded the New Zealand General service Medal with the clasp "Rwanda" for his service in Operation Reforge in 1994.

Sergeant Lesley MAYER joined the RNZAF in 1986 and has served at Wigram and Auckland. Sergeant Mayer was an Avionics Technician providing maintenance on C130 Hercules aircraft of No 40 Squadron when she participated in the operation leading to her being awarded the New Zealand General service Medal with the clasp "Rwanda" for her service in Operation Reforge in 1994.


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