The Royal New Zealand Artillery
Dear fellow Gunners
As most of you will be aware, in October 2017 the Australian Government approved the award of the Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry for those units and personnel who were attached to 1 ATF HQ (fwd) at the time of the actions at Fire Support Base Coral and Balmoral in SVN. If you were attached to 161 Battery (on operations) between 12 May 68 and 6 June 68 then you may be eligible to wear the award as an individual.
Below is the contents of an email received from Mr Jack Hayes regarding the presentation of citations;
Woody; In all cases have them (veterans or families) complete the standard application attached again, and send it in. The team in Trentham will then be able to start the processing part of it. I repeat again, any other outstanding medal entitlements will be issued at the same time. The intention is that most recipients will receive their insignia (and any medals due) by courier at their home as normal then bring their citation to the local medals parade if they want and have it presented in public by an ADF representative or a local RNZA / RSA / local VIP. This is normal practice and a tidy way for veterans to receive the recognition they deserve. We encourage local media are invited to these events so the local papers can help tell this story.
We are just waiting for confirmation from the Australian DA and the CO at 16 Fd Regt but the first medal parade at Linton Camp is planned for Friday 5th April. Timings and details of the day are tba from the RSM, 16 Fd Regt once he has all the details needed.
We should know that detail within the next week. We will be inviting RNZRSA to attend this parade as well as taking names of those who want to take part. There will be some senior NZ Army representatives present and the presentation will be by a senior representative of the Australian Government (that is what we are currently waiting for).
With the active assistance of the Capt Christine Clarke, RAN, and her Australian High Commission team, we will also be supporting medal parades in the major centres across New Zealand at local RSA Clubs over the next two quarters with good advance warning so veterans and families can have these awards being presented locally without any high transport costs while allowing the attendance of their extended family in support. We are looking forward to the Gunners Association being active in this and advising us of concentrations of veterans and families so we can assist in coordinating.
All of these functions should be self-funding with the local RSA Club having an opportunity to show themselves off as a venue and taking some across the bar or in their café.
We have already asked the NZ Defence Attaché team in Canberra to do the same in Australia – and they have agreed to assist with the willing help of the ADF and the RSL Clubs network. Again, where there are concentrations of veterans and families, we will do what we can to have a locally based informal medals parade.
We cannot guarantee to provide a parade for every individual in their home town, but will do what we can to assist. Col Matt Beattie expects there will be a lot of goodwill from senior veteran gunners to assist in these local parades.
We appreciate your help and encourage all qualifying RNZA Vietnam veterans to apply. Please feel free to circulate this email widely as that is how we will get the word out. Note that to be eligible, they must have been posted to 161 Bty or the 1ATF Forward team for at least one day between 12 May and 6 June 1968 inclusive. If anyone feels they qualify outside of those two units, encourage them to apply so we can look at their case. Families should arrange amongst themselves who will apply on behalf of their family for awards for deceased members.
We look forward to seeing these citations out in the (mainly) gunner network.
Adviser Medals Policy
A follow up question, Woody, Yes, the family can apply.
The family need to decide who is the most appropriate person, they then complete an application (the same form) and sign the statutory declaration on page 2 in front of a JP (no cost for this) and send it in.
The only reason for the family to agree is to stop later arguments amongst siblings over who should have the medals/awards.
Once the details of the parade at Linton are known, we will promulgate them and it would be great to see a lot of support from Assn members at the parade, not just the recipients. Remember the award is being made to 161 Battery as a unit, and most of us have done most of our gunner service in 161 Battery.
Click here for NZDF Medal application form, to apply for the award.
Click here for letter from Prime Minister approving wear of the award.
Click here for Australian Government report on the award.