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Medals To Navy Veterans For Service In Malaya

Minister Of Defence Presents Medals To Navy Veterans For Service In Malaya

The Minister of Defence and Veterans' Affairs Mark Burton today presented a group of Navy veterans with the Naval General Service Medal to recognise their service during the Malayan emergency of the 1950s.

The Naval General Service Medal with the clasp "Malaya" was approved in the 1950s for service during the emergency, but the qualifying criteria was far more restrictive than that applied to medals for Army and Air Force personnel.

Earlier this year the government acknowledged the long-standing grievance of navy veterans and approved a more generous definition of naval service in Malayan waters.

Today in a ceremony at the Devonport naval base, Mark Burton presented medals to a dozen veterans. Other veterans who have applied for the medal will receive them in coming weeks.

In presenting the medals, Mark Burton said that it had been a long struggle for navy veterans to achieve this deserved recognition.

"The lack of medallic recognition has rankled with many servicemen, who have often felt that their service to New Zealand was ignored and unappreciated. It is fitting today to bestow the formal and visible mark of a country's appreciation that a medal recognises."

The veterans receiving medals today represent the first four ships identified as qualifying for the medal - HMNZS Pukaki 1955-56, HMNZS Kaniere 1956-57, HMNZS Royalist 1957-58, and HMNZS Pukaki 1959-60.

"I am pleased to be able to announce today that another four deployments will also qualify crew to receive the Naval General Service Medal. The four additional deployments are HMNZS Pukaki 1953-54, HMNZS Kaniere 1954-55, and HMNZS Rotoiti in 1958-59 and 1960.

"It is anticipated that up to 1500 navy veterans may be eligible to receive the medal for their service in Malaya. A further 1200 veterans, who served in Malaya but do not qualify for the Naval General Service Medal, will be eligible to receive the New Zealand Operational Service Medal, which will be issued next year.

Veterans who consider they may be eligible for the award should contact the Medals Section, Personnel Archives, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt.

Ends


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