Topic: ANZAC

Eight whānau sought to repatriate soldiers

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington
  • South Island
  • Australia

The families of soldiers who served in the 1950s war in Malaysia are relieved their loved ones will be repatriated back home to New Zealand. But Families of the Forgotten Fallen campaign spokesperson Paul Thomas says the next of kin for a number of soldiers overseas are still to be found.

Vietnam veteran Paul Thomas is still seeking the next of kin for some servicemen buried in Malaysia and Singapore. 

Families of the Forgotten Fallen spokesperson Paul Thomas says, "Over the years I've driven around New Zealand a couple of times to try and find all the next of kin. To date out of the 36 I've found 28.”

Seven of the servicemen are adults and the eighth is a child. Thomas is appealing for public assistance given the Government's announcement that repatriation will now go ahead.

"It's important for their families if they want repatriation of their loved one that's buried in Malaya. So that everybody is given the same opportunity."

Thomas and the Families of Forgotten Fallen took their repatriation campaign to Parliament late last year. Those repatriated will include soldiers who were buried between 1955 and 1971.

"When they left New Zealand it wasn't foreseen that they wouldn't be coming back, so they always had a return ticket back to New Zealand.”

Veterans' Affairs Minister David Bennett says repatriation is the decision of the families and if there is no next of kin, the soldiers will remain abroad.

Seven of the servicemen are adults and the eighth is a child. Thomas is appealing for public assistance given the government's announcement repatriation will now go ahead.

Their names are;

  1. 76940 Flying Officer Douglas Errol NELSON,  RNZAF 41 Squadron. He died 10 Dec 1956, DOB unknown.
  2. 552227 Pte Brian James TUXWORTHY, RNZIR. Died 30 Jun 1958, DOB unknown.
  3. 38890  Toma Feesago SOLIA, RNZIR. Died 10 Dec 1960, DOB unknown. Whānau links to Samoa.
  4. 329603 Sgt Richard Edward FRY, RNZASC. Died 6 Jun 1965 DOB 18 Jul 1933. 
  5. 474706 Pte Peter William BONNER, RNZIR.  Died 2 Feb 1966, DOB 24 Aug 1943. 
  6. 653823 Pte Terence James HEALEY, RNZIR. Died 8 Sep 1964 DOB 21 Jun 1943. Whānau thought to be in Australia.
  7. 467149 Pte Micheal Joseph DUNN, RNZIR. Died 10 Sep 1962, DOB 25 April 1939. 
  8. The child died on 28 Jul 1969 and is the son of Cpl Hepburn RNZAF. 

If you have any information contact repatriation@nzdf.mil.nz.

Previous related stories by Te Kāea

Whānau want servicemen repatriated from Malaysia
 

Repatriation of soldiers one step closer