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Now Found: Medals For Red Cross Welfare Officer


28 August 2008

Lost And Now Found: Medals For Red Cross Welfare Officer

A four month search to find former New Zealand Red Cross aid worker Isabel Beaumont has gone from Wellington to Wales and will end in London next week with the presentation of her service medals.

Mrs Isabel Harris (nee Beaumont) will be presented with the General Service Medal with clasp Vietnam and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal, at 4.30pm on Wednesday 3 September, by the High Commission HE Mr Derek Leask, at the New Zealand High Commission in London.

In April, New Zealand Red Cross launched a search for two welfare officers who had served for New Zealand Red Cross in Vietnam so they could be presented with their service medals.

Within hours, former welfare officer Avis Wilkes was located living in Dunedin and she received her medals in late May just prior to taking part in Tribute08.

The search for Mrs Harris has taken longer, but has proven successful. Mrs Harris, now living in Wales, heard of the search, and contacted New Zealand Red Cross.

As a welfare support officer with New Zealand Red Cross, Mrs Harris work at the Vung Tau 1st Australian Field Hospital for 12 months from April 1970. She was accredited to the New Zealand Army and carried the rank of Assistant Superintendent. She wore a New Zealand Red Cross uniform.

She was responsible for helping to maintain morale amongst injured soldiers with the provision of reading material, establishing a radio service and offering a friendly face and listening ear.

Following 12 months in Vietnam, Mrs Harris was transferred to Changi Hospital in Singapore and promoted to the rank of Superintendent.

Mrs Harris is one of only two New Zealand Red Cross aid workers who deployed to Vietnam accredited to the New Zealand Army. The other was Ms Wilkes.


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