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Past Honoured At Medals Presentation

Air Cadet James Budge with his late step-grandfather’s New Zealand Defence Service Medal.

Wellington College pupil Air Cadet James Budge honoured the past when he accepted the New Zealand Defence Service medal on behalf of his late step grandfather Air Commodore Ernest Gartrell at a special ceremony at Defence House on Monday.

The medal was one of a number of NZDSM medals presented by the Minister of Defence, Dr Jonathan Coleman to 28 families of deceased ex-service personnel on their behalf at the ceremony at Defence House in Wellington.

Residents from the greater Wellington region, Masterton and Palmerston North were among the families receiving medals on behalf of their deceased relatives.

AIR CDRE Gartrell had a distinguished career in the RNZAF. He joined in December 1940 and completed two operational tours in Europe before returning to the Pacific. He was held as a prisoner of war from March 1942 to August 1945.

A much decorated airman, AIR CDRE Gartrell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in October 1946, OBE in 1952 and CBE in 1973.

AIR CDRE Gartrell served as the Commanding Officer at Wigram and Woodbourne and in 1971 became the Deputy Chief of Air Force. He was discharged from the Air Force in November 1973 and died in January 1986.

His son Ernie Gartrell served with the Army. He said, "The reason I wanted my step-son James to receive the medal as it looks to the future generation while honouring the past."

The NZDSM recognises both non-operational and operational military service in the Defence Force by New Zealanders. Those who have served in the military for more than three years since World War Two, and those who completed their compulsory military training or national military service obligations, qualify. Most veterans of J-Force and K-Force will also qualify.

Since April 2011, when the first applications were called for, more than 43,000 NZDSM medals have been issued.

Applications are now being accepted from all ex-Service persons and from the families of deceased ex-Service persons. (The family member who applies must be the beneficiary of the will and/or the nearest living next of kin).

Information and application forms are on the NZ Defence Force’s Medals website - http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz or phone 0800 334 772 (select Option 2).

ENDS

For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group 021 569 130.

 

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