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WWI Pardoned Soldiers To Be Recognised With Awards

WWI Pardoned Soldiers To Be Recognised With Awards

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister of Defence Mark Burton have announced today that they have approved the presentation of war medals, certificates and medallions to the families of the five soldiers who were executed during the First World War for mutiny and desertion and pardoned by Parliament in 2000.

The Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Act 2000 pardoned the five soldiers of the New Zealand Division, First New Zealand Expeditionary Force, who were executed during the First World War for either mutiny or desertion. The Act started as a Private Members Bill introduced by Mark Peck and was adopted by Government.

The purpose of the Act was 'to remove so far as practicable, the dishonour that the execution of those five soldiers brought to those soldiers and their families'.

In addition, as part of the Act, the Government was required to take steps to restore the memory of the soldiers.

Research has shown that the five soldiers would have been eligible for medals, certificates and medallions. It is planned to present the awards to the next of kin at ceremonies in Wellington and Canberra later this year.

The five pardoned soldiers and the awards that will be presented to their families are:

Private Jack Braithwaite, born Dunedin 1882: British War Medal, Victory Medal, New Zealand Certificate of Honour.

Private Frank Hughes, born Croydon, Southland 1888: British War Medal, Victory Medal, New Zealand Certificate of Honour.

Private John King, born Victoria, Australia 1885: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, New Zealand Certificate of Honour, ANZAC Commemorative Medallion.

Private Victor Manson Spencer, born Otautau, Southland 1894: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, New Zealand Certificate of Honour, ANZAC Commemorative.

Private John Joseph Sweeney, born Sprent, Tasmania 1879: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, New Zealand Certificate of Honour, ANZAC Commemorative Medallion.

Four of the soldiers were executed and buried in France and one in Belgium.


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