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Call Goes Out For Kiwi War Heroes

1 August 2013

Call Goes Out For Kiwi War Heroes

Thanks to MOTAT, a Bomber Command veteran’s death bed wish and almost 20 years of development, there is now a public online platform for New Zealanders nationwide to contribute to a rich tapestry of war tales that might otherwise be lost.

New Zealand World War II veteran and MOTAT volunteer, John Barton was passionate about keeping alive the stories of his fellow veterans and fallen comrades. As his own death grew closer in 2007, he realised that he would not be able to fulfil his dream to facilitate this, so called his friend Alan Taylor the night before he died and asked him to commit to finishing the project he was so passionate about.

That project, which eventually became an interactive website platform, has just been completed thanks to Mr Taylor’s tenacity and assistance from MOTAT.

The Bomber Command Memorial website showcases route maps, details of 2,185 New Zealand Bomber Command servicemen who died during service and training and 35 different types of aircraft. The website is officially launched following Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman’s announcement in June that New Zealanders who served on the Arctic convoys or with Bomber Command are eligible for the Bomber Command Clasp and the Arctic Star.

Mr Taylor says, “The war is a crucial part of New Zealand’s history and the evolution of today’s social psyche. Over 120,000 servicemen flew with Bomber Command during WWII and all were volunteers despite the fact that nearly half died during service and training. The sacrifices made by these volunteers deserve to be remembered so the launch of the website and the arrival of the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star are well overdue.”

“We are inviting stories to be uploaded to our website from families of late servicemen and servicewoman and for the same people to start applying for the recognition the members of the Bomber Command deserve by signing up for the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star. We hope that Kiwis everywhere will respond to our call to action to ensure that these stories aren’t lost forever.” added Mr Taylor.

MOTAT’s Museum Director, Michael Frawley, says; “The launch of this online platform is the result of almost 20 years of hard work and passion by long term MOTAT volunteers, John and Alan so we were thrilled to play our part in keeping these important tales alive for future generations.

“We are committed to maintaining the website so the stories of the World War II Bomber Command are available for the next generation. We also eventually aim to include details of all surviving New Zealand Bomber Command veterans on the website too, so we appreciate all information, stories and photos that you may have.”

You can visit the Bomber Command Memorial website and upload information here - www.bombercommandmemorial.co.nz.

To apply for the Bomber Command clasp or the Arctic Star, WWII veterans and family members can visit www.veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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