The Royal New Zealand Artillery
Chris joined the RNZA Association as an Associate Member many years ago, and whilst he has not literally “served the guns”, he was formally attached to 161 Battery for three months from July-October 1965 as the first accredited New Zealand war correspondent. He was then switched by the NZPA to cover the last rotation of 1 RNZIR on the Borneo border at the tail-end of Confrontation.
He saw active service with 161 Battery, notably Operation Ben Cat, and undertook ground patrols with 161 Battery Forward Observers with 1 RAR and the US 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Topleft - Chris Turver (2012)
Left - back from a three-day patrol in the Plain of Reeds on the Cambodian border with a US Special Forces unit made up of two Green Beret Tech Sgts and 70 Vietnamese irregulars in black pyjamas (most scary patrol I ever undertook!)
Right - Bien Hoa about to head out with a forward observer party with 1 RAR
He is a full member of the RSL (No. 23906), a full member of EVSA, (he was granted the Veterans Badge in 2008), and he holds the Operational Service Medal, General Service Medal “Vietnam” with Warlike Clasp, the Special Service Medal (Mururoa), and the South Vietnam Campaign Medal (the 6 month qualifying period was waived by virtue of being wounded in action near Ben Cat).
In 2008 he was directly involved in “Parade 08” with the privilege of being the only civilian to be invited to carry one of the 37 honour flags for those killed in Vietnam (Al Don) during the Parade through Wellington and at Parliament.
He was also honoured by EVSA to co-lay the Vietnam Wreath at the National War Memorial on Anzac Day in 2011 and 2012.
The RNZRSA unanimously agreed in a remit at its last National Council to allow “civilians” who served in hostile environments and were awarded the Operational Service Medal to be given full ‘Returned” status because with a volatile style of warfare they are at just as much risk as serving personnel.
Chris was granted Honorary Membership of the RNZA Association at its Executive Committee Meeting on 13 Feb 2013.