Are you Eligible for a Medal by Deployment?

Medals by RNZN Deployment 3 September 1945 to 2011

The table below lists the operational service medals and special service medals earnt for service on Royal New Zealand Navy deployments since 3 September 1945.

Applications for these medals by ex-RNZN personnel, or their families, should be made, in writing, to the Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force (HQNZDF), Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt 5140, New Zealand. Further information on the application procedure and on how to make general enquiries on medal entitlement (or about which medals have already been issued and when) can be found on the Application Forms and General Enquiries page of the NZDF’s Medals website.

Please note the use of the following abbreviations in the list below:

GSM – General Service Medal
NGSM – Naval General Service Medal
NZGSM – New Zealand General Service Medal
NZOSM – New Zealand Operational Service Medal
NZSSM – New Zealand Special Service Medal
PJM – Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal
UN Medal – United Nations medal

If a deployment is not listed below, this means there is no medallic recognition for that deployment.
Deployment Medal Eligibility
HMNZS Gambia 3 September 1945 to 11 October 1945 NZ Service Medal 1946-1949, NZOSM
HMNZS Achilles October 1945 to January 1946 NZ Service Medal 1946-1949, NZOSM
HMNZS Pukaki 3 July 1950 to 3 December 1950 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Tutira 3 July 1950 to 30 May 1951 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Rotoiti 7 October 1950 to 21 November 1951 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Hawea 2 March 1951 to 8 March 1952 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Taupo 29 August 1951 to 21 October 1952 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Rotoiti 7 January 1952 to 19 March 1953 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Hawea 4 August 1952 to 29 August 1953 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Kaniere 2 March 1953 to 2 March 1954 Korea Medal, UN Medal (Korea), NZOSM, Korean War Service Medal
HMNZS Pukaki 21 September 1953 to 28 September 1954 UN Medal (Korea), NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM
HMNZS Kaniere November 1954 to March 1955 NZGSM (Korea 1954-57), NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM
HMNZS Black Prince 7 June 1955 to early July 1955 NZOSM only (for 9 days’ operational service during the Malayan Emergency)
HMNZS Pukaki August 1955 to July 1956 NZGSM (Korea 1954-57), NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM
HMNZS Kaniere 1 April 1956 to 8 May 1957 NZGSM (Korea 1954-57), NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM
HMNZS Royalist 31 October 1956 to 22 December 1956 NZGSM (Near East) (for service at Suez), NZOSM
HMNZS Pukaki 15 May 1957, 31 May 1957, or 19 June 1957 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Rotoiti 15 May 1957, 31 May 1957, or 19 June 1957 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Royalist 31 August 1957 to 18 June 1958 NZGSM (Korea 1954-57), NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Pukaki 8 November 1957 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Rotoiti 8 November 1957 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Pukaki 28 April 1958 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Rotoiti 22 May 1958 to 11 March 1959 NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Pukaki 22 August 1958, 2 September 1958, 11 September 1958, or 23 September 1958 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Royalist February 1959 to June 1959 NZOSM only (for 7 days’ operational service during the Malayan Emergency). (Also see Note 1, below)
HMNZS Pukaki 6 June 1959 to 15 March 1960 NGSM (Malaya), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Rotoiti 17 April 1960 to 15 February 1961 NGSM (Malaya) (for service up to 31 July 1960), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Royalist 22 February 1961 to 12 July 1961 PJM only
HMNZS Pukaki 9 July 1961 to 23 May 1962 PJM only
HMNZS Otago 23 February 1962 to 26 March 1962 None (But see Note 1, below)
HMNZS Taranaki 18 May 1962 to 12 March 1963 PJM only
HMNZS Royalist 14 March 1963 to 26 June 1963 None (But see Note 1, below)
HMNZS Otago 5 June 1963 to 25 November 1963 PJM only
HMNZS Taranaki 15 December 1963 to 20 August 1964 NZOSM, PJM. (The NZOSM has been qualified for by 8 days’ operational service during the Indonesian Confrontation)
HMNZS Royalist 19 May 1964 to 17 July 1964 None (But see Note 1, below)
HMNZS Otago 15 October 1964 to 10 May 1965 GSM (Malay Peninsula), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Royalist 20 May 1965 to 29 October 1965 GSM (Malay Peninsula), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Santon 10 April 1965 to 25 November 1965 GSM (Malay Peninsula), GSM (Borneo), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Hickleton 12 April 1965 to 27 November 1965 GSM (Malay Peninsula), GSM (Borneo), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Taranaki 3 November 1965 to 23 April 1966 GSM (Borneo), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Santon 26 November 1965 to 20 May 1966 GSM (Malay Peninsula), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Hickleton 28 November 1965 to 30 July 1966 GSM (Malay Peninsula), GSM (Borneo), NZOSM, PJM
HMNZS Otago 29 April 1966 to 2 September 1966 GSM (Malay Peninsula), NZOSM. (Also see Note 1, below)
HMNZS Otago 22 July 1973 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Canterbury 28 July 1973 NZSSM (Nuclear Testing) only
HMNZS Canterbury 21 June 1982 to 11 August 1982 NZGSM (Indian Ocean) (for service on Op Armilla), NZOSM
HMNZS Waikato 12 August 1982 to 13 November 1982 NZGSM (Indian Ocean) (for service on Op Armilla), NZOSM
HMNZS Canterbury 23 November 1982 to 15 March 1983 NZGSM (Indian Ocean) (for service on Op Armilla), NZOSM
HMNZS Waikato 26 June 1983 to 20 September 1983 NZGSM (Indian Ocean) (for service on Op Armilla), NZOSM
HMNZS Wellington October 1995 to April 1996 NZGSM (Arabian Gulf) (for service on Op Delphic), NZOSM
HMNZS Canterbury May 1996 to September 1996 NZGSM (Arabian Gulf) (for service on Op Delphic), NZOSM
HMNZS Canterbury 27 November 1997 to 10 December 1997 NZOSM only (for 14 days’ operational service off Bougainville)
HMNZS Endeavour 28 November 1997 to 31 January 1998 NZGSM (Bougainville), NZOSM
HMNZS Manawanui 9 December 1997 to 21 February 1998 NZGSM (Bougainville), NZOSM
HMNZS Manawanui 20 March 1999 to 25 May 1999 NZGSM (Bougainville), NZOSM
HMNZS Endeavour 16 September 1999 to 20 October 1999, and late January 2000 to 23 February 2000 East Timor Medal, NZOSM, INTERFET Medal
HMNZS Canterbury 28 September 1999 to 10 December 1999 East Timor Medal, NZOSM, INTERFET Medal
HMNZS Te Kaha September 1999 to January 2000 East Timor Medal, NZGSM (Arabian Gulf), NZOSM
HMNZS Te Mana 10 June 2000 to 21 June 2000 NZOSM only (for 12 days’ operational service in the Solomon Islands – Op Purple Haze 1). (Also see Note 2, below).
HMNZS Te Kaha 21 June 2000 to 6 July 2000 NZOSM only (for 16 days’ operational service in the Solomon Islands – Op Purple Haze 1). (Also see Note 2, below).
HMNZS Te Kaha 24 August 2000 to 13 September 2000 NZOSM only (for 21 days’ operational service in the Solomon Islands – Op Purple Haze 2). (Also see Note 2, below).
HMNZS Te Mana 27 April 2001 to 14 May 2001 NZOSM only (for 18 days’ operational service in the Solomon Islands – Op Ricochet 1) . (Also see Note 2, below).
HMNZS Manawanui October 2001 to February 2002 NZGSM (Solomon Islands), NZOSM
HMNZS Te Kaha 27 November 2002 to 27 March 2003 NZGSM (Afghanistan) secondary operational area, NZOSM
HMNZS Te Mana 28 January 2003 to 4 August 2003 NZGSM (Afghanistan) secondary operational area, NZOSM
HMNZS Te Mana 7 April 2004 to 1 September 2004 NZGSM (Afghanistan) secondary operational area, NZOSM
HMNZS Te Mana 4 May 2008 to 1 August 2008 NZGSM (Afghanistan) secondary operational area, NZOSM

Note 1: personnel who served on two or more of the following five RNZN deployments may be eligible for the PJM medal, if their total number of days of qualifying service (as indicated in barracks) is 90 days or more:
HMNZS Royalist – 25 March 1959 to 10 June 1959 (53.5 days’ qualifying service)
HMNZS Otago – 23 February 1962 to 26 March 1962 (27 days’ qualifying service)
HMNZS Royalist – 14 March 1963 to 26 June 1963 (75.5 days’ qualifying service)
HMNZS Royalist – 19 May 1964 to 17 July 1964 (33 days’ qualifying service)
HMNZS Otago – 29 April 1966 to 2 September 1966 (67.5 days’ qualifying service)

Note 2: Personnel who completed two or more of the following periods of service off Honiara, and who accumulated 30 days’ operational service, qualify for the award of the NZGSM (Solomon Islands):

HMNZS Te Mana – 10 June 2000 to 21 June 2000 (12 days’ operational service)
HMNZS Te Kaha – 21 June 2000 to 6 July 2000 (16 days’ operational service)
HMNZS Te Kaha – 24 August 2000 to 13 September 2000 (21 days’ operational service)
HMNZS Te Mana – 27 April 2001 to 14 May 2001 (18 days’ operational service)

Personnel who only completed one of the above periods of service off Honiara do not qualify for the NZGSM (Solomon Islands), but do qualify for the award of the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM), for between 7 days’ and 29 days’ operational service in the Solomon Islands, if they have not already been awarded the NZOSM for other service.

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90 Responses to Are you Eligible for a Medal by Deployment?

  1. Rob says:

    It is disappointing to see that the following operations are still not recognised by the NZOSM:
    1. Operation BIG TALK undertaken by a Task Force of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville July – August 1990
    2. Deployment of New Zealand troops to Bougainville as part of the South Pacific Peace Keeping Force in October 1994

  2. Jim says:

    Well Rob, those who served up the Far East in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are still waiting. Maybe they will call for submissions as to why there should be medallic recognition for those two events that you mentioned, in about 20 years time – it takes a long time for the Government to get their A into G over these matters.

  3. Chris says:

    It is 23 years since Operation Big Talk where WAIKATO, WELLINGTON and ENDEAVOUR were directed unexpectely to host peace talks. Those of us (close to 600) involved in going to Bougainville have been entitled to full RSA membership since the 1990’s and can be buried in a serviceman’s cemetery but have no corresponding medallic recognition which is very poor. There were staff papers raised in Defence Headquarters for consideration around 2006 – I know these were sitting for years in someone’s in bray but not addressed – other more pressing things to consider apparently (like the “short gong” that has been introduced that I haven’t bothered applying for).

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Chris. Perhaps we should write to NZDF (again) to ask where they are at with investigating/correcting this issue.

      • Chris says:

        Happy to contribute to any correspondence on this matter Rob – really is well past time that due recognition was made for this Operation (Operational Medal should be warranted surely…)

    • Matthew (Matt) Ohs says:

      Hi team, I was in service on HMNZS Waikato during Operations Big Talk, A Marine Mechanic and I remember still to this day the speech the CO gave when hi closed us up for action stations during entry into harbour. Stting in the forward senior rates mess in my fire fighting gear with my team around me we spoke softly, listening to every noise and waiting for everything to go bad. My fear was at a young age I actually might die when all I did was join the services for a job. Its surprising that all we got was a commendation when we were in an active conflict zone for all that time and I was one of the unlucky ones that spent the entire time confined to ship because of the danger ashore. Now service personnel that serve time in other regions facing less risk get medals, it seems like a great injustice. Despite the fact that the defence force never seem to mention it ?? why is there something they wish to forget ??. I would be happy to be part of any submission. Matt Ohs 🙂 (Paramedic)

      • Rob says:

        Hi Matt,

        Great to hear from you. I was on WELLINGTON at the time. I suggest you do as I have and write to the Minister of Defence. The more who do may help influence the priority it is given?

  4. Rob says:

    Chris, I’ll write again as it really is a simple one to resolve……………………

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Rob – again very happy to write in support to any correspondence on this.

      • Rob says:

        Thanks Chris. I dropped a letter to the Minister of Defence on Friday and copied it to the RNZRSA Medallic Committee. If you were also able to drop them a letter, that would be useful. I basically stated that to date, there has yet to be an announcement about awarding the NZOSM for:

        • Operation Big Talk undertaken by a Task Force of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville July – August 1990; and the
        • deployment of New Zealand troops to Bougainville as part of the South Pacific Peace Keeping Force in October 1994

        I support the need to ensure that these issues are thoroughly and most properly examined before a decision is made; however, I feel that it is long overdue to recognise this ‘operational service’ with the award of the NZOSM. In the recent history of the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, these operations were conducted during less stable times than those undertaken post 19 November 1997, where New Zealand medals are issued. And, a decision in favour of this request would be consistent with other similar deployments of NZDF personal, which have been deemed operational service and ‘medal worthy’, therefore maintaining the integrity of this New Zealand medal.

        These operations, though short and where potential risk did not materialise, were unique and laid the foundations for subsequent regional operational deployments, making them worthy of not being forgotten. Of note, Ex-Service personnel who were involved in either of these two operations and their spouse/partner, can be buried in a Services Cemetery. So some recognition has been given, but not medallic.

  5. Neill Dorset says:

    Once again, the definition of ‘operational service’ has been perverted by the Powers That Be and those unfortunates who served on ships during the mid 60’s, and 70’s , and who all believed that once they left NZ waters, were on operational service/duty only now to discover (once again)they were on a Far Eastern Cruiseliner having a holiday!
    It now appears that any NZ ship that undergoes UN duties gets recognised but nothing else was important. Oh well maybe the next weetbix packet might have something worthwhile in it for the ‘forgotten few’.
    Neill Dorset

    • Roger Lauder says:

      Hi Neill
      I think it is strange we get medal recognition from another country but nothing from our own country, in 63 or 64 era on Royalist steaming through a strait in Indonesia we had main guns loaded trained fore and aft in case we were engaged by shore battery a strange story given we need permission to to return fire from NZ if we were fired on., also whilst in Singapore Harbor we used 1 pound explosive charges at random to detour Indo Divers as at some stage they captured some in the Singapore area.
      Roger Lauder

  6. Jason Heke says:

    Hi There , I served in that operation I was a seaman Radar operator , I also have been looking for at least a note of this peace keeping duty that we did and I remember how we were all at the ready for conflict it wasn’t a sleep trip at all ,specially in the ops room as an able seaman please email
    if any future medals or that at least the NZDF sees that this was a wartime area and hostile
    kind regards Able Seaman Heke

  7. Rob says:

    Kia ora Jason,

    The best thing to do is write to the Minister of Defence and your local MP stating your case and asking him when it will be addressed. The more people that write to the Minister, the quicker the issue may get looked at.



    • Chris White says:

      Hi Jason – in response to Rob’s comment above, I did write to Minister of Defence last month so that office has received two requests (Rob also wrote in May 2013) for something to be done about Operation “Big Talk” medallic recognition. Please feel free to likewise contribute to the correspondence. The response was that recommendations had been requested by the Minister’s office and were expected by the end of the year. FIngers crossed, therefore, that the annual ANZAC talkfest about lack of recognition will be finally put to bed after 23 years.

    • Jason says:

      Hi there Rob,

      Thanks for the speedy reply I will write to the Minister of Defence and my local MP . I’m Glad I found your posts about this Operation we served in, I have always wondered why all of us only received a Commendation , bit hard to pin to your chest on ANZAC day …..

      Rob if you have any spare info for me on this Case could you please forward to my email

      Many thanks Jason.

  8. Chris White says:

    Am back on the Operation Big Talk trail – seeking some advice from contacts within NZDF on how to progress. Will write again to the Minister if need be to establish whether NZDF bothered to provide a recommendation back to the Minister by end 2013 (as stated within his response to my enquiry).

    • Rob says:

      Hi Chris and others.

      I also received a response last year from the Minister stating it would be investigated before the end of 2013; but I have been given similar deadlines on this issue over the last decade, which has been constantly missed. I am not confident that it will have been looked at yet, but would encourage people to chase this.

      Additionally, I have copied the RNZRSA Medallic Committee in on correspondence, but have not had a recent response from them, so not sure where they sit on this issue. As an RSA member, it would be nice to know if they are supporting and looking to influence closure on this.

      My frustration has been that I write every couple of years and get told NZDF will look at it by a certain date and nothing……………………….. It is hard to understand if the issue is one of competence, resourcing / prioritisation, poor internal NZDF / Minister’s office communication or that the outcome has been pre-determined by someone?

      Keep up the comms on this as it would be nice to know what response you get or what new deadline is given.

      • Chris White says:

        All good Rob – well it would be if they could get this sorted. I trust the powers that be realise they should provide some kind of explanation as to how it has taken so long to address this. How many new medals have been introduced in recent years while this issue has been outstanding? Very poor.

  9. Peter KELLY says:

    Hi all, just watched a Doco on ‘Colour of War’ narrated by Russel Crowe. (Ref Vietnam) It mentions HMAS Melbourne and the accident with the USS Frank.E.Evans. (The Yank ship was sliced in half by Melbourne with the loss of 73 Americans.I was aboard HMNZS BLACKPOOL and had just come off the 1st watch when that happened at around 3AM.We were the closest witness to this accident (Having returned to Plane-Guard duties astern of Melbourne). We returned to Manila for the Investigation. After having worked up with the US Pacific Fleet for duties in the Sth China Sea off Vietnam surely Blackpool’s crew should be eligible for the NZOSM?

  10. Jim D says:

    I believe this incident took place during a SEATO Exercise during which Melbourne had been assigned five escorts, including Blackpool and Frank E Evans. I don’t think SEATO exercises would have been conducted off the immediate coast of Vietnam. US units operating in the Sth China Sea normally operated out of Subic Bay, north of Manila.

  11. Chris White says:

    It is now a year since I received the response from the Minister of Defence about medallic recognition for participation on Operation Big Talk in Bougainville in 1990. I have just sent another email to the Minister requesting an update to that situation noting it will be 24 years this month since we were in Bougainville and it is only now nine months away from the 100th Anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli. There is also only one month remaining before Parliament goes into recess ahead of the next election. It would be nice to finally have medallic recognition – a long time overdue. I live in hope…

    • Rob says:

      I agree Chris. I have consistantly been given time frames for this issue to be investigated and they are always missed. I look forward to you publishing through this forum the response you get from the Minister. Once you have received a response, I may write again……………………..

      • Chris White says:

        Hit them now Rob and anyone else out there for that matter… Here’s how my latest correspondence to the Minister concluded:

        “Whilst the peace talks did not sadly resolve the conflict, the trust established towards New Zealand as a result of Operation Big Talk was such that New Zealand led peacekeeping operations on Bougainville once the hostilities had ceased in 1997. This is worthy of recognition.

        It is long past time that those of us who participated in Operation Big Talk were provided with the recognition due. ANZAC Day 2015, nine months from now, marks the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli. It would be fitting, ahead of that very momentous anniversary of New Zealand’s contribution to world peace that those of us who participated in Operation Big talk are finally suitably recognised.”

      • Rob says:

        Hi there Chris. Will do. Any one else able to write to the Minister of Defence in support?

  12. Jason Heke says:

    Hi guys have written again to the minister last letter sent about recognition . Was told august this will be looked at , i’ll hold my breath “doves over the pacific” a book about our forgotten operation and operation lagoon…. even the Australians know this should be a medalic recognition .

    • Jason Mills says:

      I was an Apprentice on WELLINGTON at the time. I spoke pidgeon english so got to chat with some of the delegations. I would be keen to add my 5 cents to the Minister etc. Could someone email me a template letter please. Email is

  13. Chris White says:

    Well, got my 2nd response from Minister of Defence today (31 July 2014). Response was “I am advised that officials expect to be in a position to provide advice on this matter by around mid-2015, once work on other related matters is completed”. Thoughts? I have plenty….

  14. Rob says:

    I have accepted for years that there are other higher priority issues, but this constant setting of time lines that are constantly missed is poor management. Embarrasing really, what can one say………………….. My expectations have been “managed”! Is there anyone out there with a connection to the RNZRSA Medallic Committee who is able to help or suggest anything?

  15. Jim D says:

    They’ll keep you on tenterhooks for a while longer yet and then give you the same answer we got for the SE Asia Medal – the NZ Defence Service Medal covers all other contingencies.

    • Charles Conroy says:

      Jim , I wasa talking to my medal man who mounted my medals for me, he was saying even with the award of the NZDEF SVC MEDAL . it doesent indicate where one served only how we served ie Regular etc maybe it also should have another clasp where we served. ie Far East etc It I beleive is a good idea
      Charles Conroy NZ15125 1954/69

      • Jim D says:

        Charles, the original idea of the NZDSM was for personnel who served in the Defence of NZ – not the NZ Defence – service medal. They seem to forget that NZ Defence didn’t come into effect until the 1990s! It now seems that a corporal who served in the NZ Army in Linton Camp could spend 20 years there and not go anywhere, be awarded the NZDSM and have the same medallic recognition as someone who spent time in the Far East helping to defend Malaya/Malaysia!

  16. Casper says:

    I think that the basic problems that you people are going through at present are all a matter of timefrrame. Using the Medallic Recognition criteria for the recent SEAsia review, the first thing that you do is wait for 45years plus, at which time it may, if you are lucky, be referred to a young civvie, swho will report that there are no grounds for awarding a medal. After a great deal of further battling, it may then go before a “committee”, probably made up of senior retired and serving officers-no peers here, matey! They will then ignore all of the positive supporting evidence and submit their predertimined report (no medal) to the Govt, who will then report back to you (no medal). And you know, suddenly no one will care……….Best of luck, you are going to need it!!

    • Jim D says:

      Agree Casper – it would seem that the medallic committe are predominately ex army – we can’t have navy having more medals than our chaps – what – what…

  17. Casper says:

    Well, Jim, if you look at the whole Veterans” Affairs setup (even apart from medallic recognition) you of course find our VA Minister’s personal secretary is a Light Colonel, and the two previous managers of Vets Affairs have been Brigadier and Colonel respectively. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of the workers on such things occasionally, for example a killick sparker, or even (forgive me) a PO bunting? Two shows naturally, and we all know what they are.

  18. Bill Bartlett says:

    Just a slight detour here! Re ROYALIST 1957-58 tour to FES. Am keen to know if any of youse out there was in Royalist at this time (I’d drafted off in ’57 before she sailed). Reason am askin is we got a bloke (ex stoker). down here in Rotovegas member of our ex Navy Assn sporting a bloody Vietnam gong! Reckoned he was onboard and they did some bombardments around South Vietnam, and he’s entitled to wear it. Crap I’d say. Must be the only one out of the 550 odd ships co. that’s wearing it. Royalist only entitled to “NZGSM Korea & Malaya” on that trip.
    plus the bloody Vietnam war did not involve NZ until about 1967!
    Any comments?
    Bill B,

    • Frank Rands says:


      Came across this site which is an impostors site for Australia and New Zealand people who wear medals with no entitlement.


      • gunther says:

        I discovered this site about 5 years ago. It is amazing the people who think they can get away with such lies about the service time they did and the awards they received.

    • Jim D says:

      Bill, the only RNZN personnel involved in the Vietnam War were medics. There has been an instance of at least one ex-Waikato person writing to Defence for their Veterans Badge and Certificate and getting it with the certificate stating thanks for his service in the Vietnam War.

      • Frank Rands says:

        Jim. Not quite true there were some others, other than medics. The Vietnam medal was recently presented to two officers who happened to be midshipman at the time serving on I think Hobart. One of these officers was Lt Cdr Owen Young but cannot remember who the second was.

    • gunther says:

      I think you will find none of our ships were involved in Vietnam. This website that Frank has pointed out to us will tell you that only a couple of aussie ships and no kiwi ships were ever involved in Vietnam, and you have to troll thru most of the people caught out to find the references.

  19. Jim D says:

    Thank you Frank – I stand corrected.

  20. Casper says:

    The issues surrounding Medallic Recognition are frustrating, and we must be careful not to detract from those who earned theirs in direct contact with unfriendly opponents in our various conflicts since 1945.
    However it is difficult not to be cynical and disappointed at some of the decisions.
    I have just been going through the notes that I made quite a few years ago regarding the 1959 Royalist commission, and once again the anomalies stand out. I sent many e mails and like others was often consulted by phone by the then MR working group. They told me that the Ship’s log (yes-Ship’s log) for that year had been “misplaced” and that they were relying on memories, letters, diaries etc to establish eligibility for the OSM, GSM and PJM. They eventually established that 7 days operational service was appropriate as any further qualifying time was not able to be proven due to the lack of evidence, so – no 30days for General Service or 90 days for PJM. Now, bearing in mind the inability to prove where Royalist was during that deployment (their words) only the OSM was approved. However, the working group was able some time later to declare qualifying service of 53.5 days (yep, right down to 12 hours!) for the PJM! I (of course) queried that if over 50 days operational service had been undertaken, why no GSM, and how did they arrive at the exact figure. The answer was – the Malaysian operational area was “:different”: to ours, and didn’t “qualify” for a General Service medal ! No answer to that, really, is there? How they arrived at the exact figure without the above “proof” was ignored.
    I hope that the above,(albeit longwinded) which I have covered before on this site, will be of some help in trying to understand the workings of the various agencies involved, and may throw some light on what others are trying to achieve. It may also help if you understand that the object of the people involved in decision making is not to find reasons for awarding a medal, but rather to find reasons for not doing so. Contact me if you like at
    Love, light, peace and good luck.

  21. Terry Patterson says:

    I think there were three Officers, Either Alan Peck or Ledson ex CN, Wayner Kerr and Otis Young. There was Navy Today article some time back showing them getting their medals. Wayne Kerr was the Capts Sec (S/Lt) on Canterbury Maiden voyage and then was SO (Ltcdr) on Otago 1977 and I remember him telling me about service with the RAN and they did the escort run to Vang Tau. The “Vang Tau Ferry” was HMAS Sydney. Maybe others can remember but rumour was that either “Otago of Taranaki” did a partial escort of HMAS Sydney as the storeman on the Mine site where I work is ex RAN Chief aged 68) and did that run twice as well as bombardment on HMAS Brisbane with the Yanks and remembers leaving Sydney in company with an RNZN Frigate circa 1966/67 to escort HMAS Sydney to Vietnam. He also told me that the NZ Army had their equip shipped into Vietnam on HMAS Sydney (161 Bty). Remembers many a “Tot” with Kiwis in Singapore. Who Knows but in some instances sailors have better memories than the ships log.

  22. Bill Bartlett says:

    Me again! Cheers Frank/Jim/Casper for your responses re my query on Royalist FES ’57-58′
    I believe the skipper Capt. Dudley Pound, RN took the ship up the Saigon River on courtesy visit. Maybe “Guns” later decided to do a 5.25 surface GF shoot at some atoll which unknown may have been a VC refuge. Were ships records and NIO Reports also lost in the Archives!! The mind boggles
    Bill B.

  23. Frank Rands says:

    Jim D provided this detail – Royalist paid a goodwill visit to Saigon during the 57/58 commission. I remember seeing someone’s comments about how they were “chased” by Vietnamese gunboats but I think they were escorting the cruiser! Perhaps that episode made the person in question think that they were entitled to a medal. Further to my comment about Waikato – quite a few ex-crew members believed that they were on the Gun-line off the Vietnamese coast and one chap even took it to Parliament to try and get a war disability pension as a result of this. As you may remember, ships of the Far East Strategic Reserve often transited near the bulge of the Vietnamese coast when travelling between Singapore and Hong Kong but this wasn’t close enough to be classed as being in the “war zone”. If you put people in a particular situation, they may think that they have been in “harm’s way” when in fact, they haven’t.

    • gunther says:

      I can remember on Taranaki in “70” when passing between Singapore and Hongkong, we would be “close enough” to see at night bright lights as the b52’s dropped their loads, and during the day see their contrails high up in the sky.

    • NOEL KININMONT says:

      HMNZS ROYALIST fired a National Salute noon 17th April and berthed. She fired a Royal salute on Queens Birthday 21st April. A total of 110 saluting charges were fired while we were in Saigon-None in anger. 6 Bombardments were carried out by Royalist during the commission (Including 2 action firings against Communist Terrorist) These were in the Kota Tinggi and Tanjong Puggai areas of Johore..

  24. Frank Rands says:

    There were three officers entitled to the Vietnam medal based on their Mid exchange with the USN back in 71. Apart from Owen Young Mids Purcell and Peter Dennerly were also entitled. The medals were presented by Adm, David Ledson before he left the position of Chief of Navy.

  25. Chris White says:

    I have just written to my MP (Kris Faafoi) on Operation “Big Talk”. Suggest everyone else who cares does the same. The last feedback received was that this will be addressed mid 2015 once unresolved issues have been. No indication was provided as to what those issues are and exactly when they will be resolved. 25 years since “Big Talk” in July 2015 – can see the headlines now “The Forgotten Operation – 25 Years On…”. Who’s going to provide an explanation as to why the lack of recognition and the justification for that?

    • Rob says:

      I note the following on the NZDF website and would have thought that Operation Big Talk in 1990 and the deployment of NZ troops to Bougainville as part of the South Pacific Peace Keeping Force in 1994 would be either categorised as non-warlike or hazardous in respect of the definition of “operational service”:-

      Definition of operational service (as quoted on the NZDF website):

      Operational service is service which exceeds the normal requirements of peacetime service, and which involves a credible military threat from enemy military forces, insurgents, or other hostile forces. If the service involves no threat, or is determined as having only a very low threat level, a campaign or operational service medal will not be instituted or awarded.

      The New Zealand Defence Force defines three categories of operational service: warlike, hazardous, and non-warlike.

      • Warlike – In a state of declared war, or with conventional combat operations against an armed adversary, or peace enforcement between belligerents who have NOT consented to any intervention.
      • For example, Vietnam and the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

      • Hazardous – Peace enforcement between belligerents who HAVE consented to intervention or requested assistance, or missions where casualties may be expected.

      • For example, service in Bougainville since 1997.

      • Non-warlike – Military activities in which casualties are not expected, including peacekeeping or sanctions-enforcing missions in benign situations, disaster relief in locations where there are belligerents or other hostile groups, observer activities and other hazardous activities.

      • For example, mine clearance operations in Mozambique and Cambodia from 1994.

  26. Jim D says:

    ….further to the above, it would also seem that having the word “Operation” in front of another word or words, doesn’t necessarily convey operational service. For example – Operation Deep Freeze. HMNZ Ships Endeavour II, Pukaki and Rotoiti endured hazardous weather conditions causing the early demise of the two Loch class frigates. Endeavour transported aviation fuel to McMurdo and on the return trips to NZ, vented the tanks for cleaning. Hazardous fuel and gases. Apparently these duties have been covered under the NZ Defence Service Medal. Good luck with your submissions.

  27. Chris White says:

    Operation “Big Talk” was at the very least “hazardous” and was certainly conducted in a war zone “warlike”. It was certainly not a benign environment.

    We onboard WAIKATO entered the war zone with no idea of the reception we’d get. The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) were suspicious and expected their delegation to be clapped in irons and taken to Port Moresby. I got that gem direct from the late Joseph Kabui (Bougainville’s leader) in direct discussion with him after the first day of the peace talks.

    The BRA who were successfully keeping the Papua New Guinean Defence force at bay were equipped with a mixture of weapons including home made weapons made from equipment abandoned by the Japanese in WWII that had been stored in caves (including 45 year old ammunition). The Papuan forces had been welcomed but quickly went on the offensive and committed many atrocities – people were being thrown live from aircraft, disappearing never to be seen again, patrol craft were bombarding villages – along with the usual kinds of slaughter.

    I visited the RNZN Museum recently and their display states “The conflict prompted New Zealand’s biggest naval peace mission. In 1990 the rival parties in the Bougainville conflict dispute only agreed to the talks when each would be accommodated in a separate warship – this assured their safety from each other.” The display goes on to state “…WAIKATO had the tense task of closing into Bougainville, and sending a party ashore to make contact with the rebels”. The latter is certainly very true – silent state, gun crews closed up etc. We had no clue of what to expect – it was somewhat unsettling. You have to wonder in such situations whether a conventional force’s behaviour would be somewhat more predictable and manageable – than what may have been the case here.

    This conflict raged for several more years before peace was finally brokered – and caused the untimely deaths of 15-20,000 Bougainvillians. In addition to the effects of the fighting, they had very little medical supplies – the ability to treat malaria, for example, was not possible when we were there.

    NZDF personnel involved in “Big Talk” are entitled to burial in a service cemetery and full RSA membership. Medallic recognition surely is long overdue – July 2015 will mark 25 years since this operation took place.

  28. Brendon Tetley (wp)(fc2) says:

    I was Captain of the gun house entering that harbour. We had HE loaded into the gun hoists ready at a moments notice. Because of the close proximity to land we wouldnt have been able to achieve a radar lock so i was charged with directing the turret, locating where we were being fired on and pulling the trigger that would have fired the guns.
    Bloody felt like a conflict situation to me.

    • Chris White says:

      Fair comment Brendon – there was plenty of potential for things to turn pear shaped in an environment that was far from peaceful. WAIKATO’s entry into Kieta Harbour in Bougainville was certainly a unique experience in my career. We had no idea what to expect and there was plenty of suspicion from some sectors on Bougainville as to our intentions who expected us to clap those who boarded us into irons and take them to Port Moresby (got that first hand from Joseph Kabui – the head of the island). I do intend to write for the third time ahead of the 25th anniversary. Feel free to do likewise.

  29. Rob says:

    Brendon, Thanks for your post. If you feel strongly about this as a few of us do. Can I recommend that you write to the Minister of Defence asking for this to be reviewed. I have done so over a number of years and the response has always been, yes they will review it, but it never happens. This has been the response now for 12 years. Latest is response (Feb 2015) is that it will be reviewed by the end of 2015: but based on history, I wouldn’t hold my breath. I would be happy to email you a template?

    • Chris White says:

      Hi Rob – please send me the correspondence sent/received in Feb 2015 that talks about end 2015 as a target for a resolution to this. I was told around mid 2015 in my response in July last year. Thanks.

  30. Rob says:

    I have a letter dated 24th March 2015 from Hon Gerry Brownlee. It states:-

    Thank you for your letter of 12 March 2015 regarding medallic recognition for peace support operations in Bougainville prior to 1997.
    The New Zealand Defence Force has not yet finalised a submission on the appropriate medallic recognition for service in Bougainville between 1990 and 1997. I am advised that the Defence force will focus more closely on Bougainville medallic recognition once a number of other medallic recognition projects already underway have been completed. Even so, I expect to receive that submission by the end of the year.
    Naturally, any decision on medallic recognition for 1990 to 1997 Bougainville operations will be widely publicised……………………………………

    Chris – if you want copies of correspondence, then drop me your email and I can exchange this with you outside this medium.


    • Chris White says:

      Thanks Rob – will be considering a response in the next few weeks. Will be asking why the delay – 25 year anniversary looming. I may well serve both Parliament and NZ Defence with an official information request – all documents pertaining to this issue. They are bound by law to provide all information within a month of the receipt of the request. There are a number of people well over this – appalling.

      Cheers, Chris

      Date: Mon, 4 May 2015 21:22:14 +0000 To:

  31. Chris White says:

    I sent the Minister an email on 28th May to express my concern of the time it is taking to address Operation “Big Talk”. The response was that:

    “…The New Zealand Defence Force has not yet completed its consideration for the appropriate medallic recognition for service in Bougainville between 1990 and 1997. I am advised that the Defence Force will focus more closely on Bougainville medallic recognition once a number of other medallic recognition projects already underway have been completed…. I now expect to receive advice on the Bougainville issue by the end of the year”. 2015 that is….

    The end of July 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of this operation.

  32. Chris White says:

    I was advised that it would be addressed by the end of 2015 after other medallic projects were addressed. I will re-engage on this in the New Year if nothing is heard. Why this hasn’t been resolved long ago is certainly baffling.

    Interesting by comparison to note the crew of TE KAHA all had their freshly earned Operational Medals pinned to their No 1’s when they berthed in Devonport when they got back from their trip this year…

  33. Jim Blackburn says:

    Now, Now, Come on lads… be patient, it only took them 50 years to resolve giving the NGSM
    to the Royalist Men for the 1957/8 Bombardments of the Communist terrorists in Malaya.
    As my old Chief used to say……”all good things comes to them as waits”.

  34. albet cross says:

    not to mention the Pukak-ites – we had to wait even longer !!!.

  35. Stephen Barham says:

    I was the Flight Commander Waikato in 1990. As a measure of goodwill we flew inland to pick up a female who had suffered an in uterine fatality. We had absolutely no idea what sort of reception we would receive and departed Waikato fully armed for any eventuality. Felt like “warzone” to us.

    • Chris White says:

      Hi Steve – remember that well. Might use your comment in an article for Navy Today in July if that’s ok.

  36. Wayne says:

    If you can recall, the final resolution agreed too was named the Endeavour Accord based on where the peace talks took place.

    • Jason says:

      Is an accord , not a treaty / recognition of peace or agreement made in or during a warlike state …

  37. To be totally honest medallic recognition is the sole Provenance of a grateful government and citizens who recognise service that they think deserves recognition. It is not for those who volunteered to serve and accepted the terms and conditions of the time to agitate for more than their contract originally provided. If it is given freely it is a just reward if it is begged for what is the true value?

  38. Chris White says:

    I received a letter from Minister of Defence, Mr Gerry Brownlee last week that states that a recommendation has been received from NZDF regarding medallic recognition for those who were at Bougainville during Operation “Big Talk” in 1990. An announcement will be made before year’s end.

  39. Boot Herriott says:

    Sent a letter to the Minister of Defence and my local MP about July 2016. Nothing back from my local MP but got the form letter from Gerry Brownlee about a decision being made by the end of 2016, which would be widely publicised.

    Given its now November, I’m not holding my breath

  40. Chris White says:

    Am happy to wait until year’s end (per the Ministers advice) to see how this pans out Boot. Unsolicited feedback from various folk (including our “Charlie Oscar” of the day) would indicate that a positive outcome is anticipated. As and when this occurs, of course I am mindful that you (gunner as I recall) were recorded as the senior scribe borne on F55 according to the “Doves over the Pacific” book despite the fact that I paid you your fortnightly dues…!!

    • Boot Herriott says:

      I didn’t realise that’s where your CPOWTR reference came from Chris. I must get a copy of Doves over the Pacific. I’m assuming when the guy did his research I’d left the Regulars and joined the Reserves. Due to a slight issue with noise induced hearing loss, (Not sure how that happened),. I morphed into a non sea-service branch in the Rockies. i.e., Writer. Then promptly went back to sea as a Seaman watchkeeper.

      Not sure why they paid you writers so much, I made Chief in 5 minutes. With no cross training required. . I guess because I was a Gunner, the powers to be figured that my high degree of awesomeness would make me overqualified for any branch.

      And as an aside, are you sure you weren’t holding some of my pay back on that trip. I barely netted enough to cover my fortnightly beer bill. ???

      • Chris White says:

        Standards had clearly slipped – but then you were a Rocky Boot (non-regular Writer’s are not of the same ilk – go figure they’d accept a gunner (albeit a fine specimen…).

        Hard of hearing and now clearly suffering from amnesia (perhaps the early onset of dementia) as I paid everyone an extra $700 on the way home in incidentals over and above your pay – and I can clearly remember signing every one of those 250 cheques (even yours…!!).

  41. Graeme HoldawaySmith ( formerly Smith) says:

    Are there any members who served on Royalist during deployment in the Far East Station from January -June 1959 being involved in SEATO Exercises in the South China Sea?
    Do we qualify for any medals for service as I was Mechanical Engineer 1st Class with Aux Watch keeping Certificate and was in 30 Mess on board and slept in my hammock outside A Boiler room Airlock door.
    Also I still have the News paper photo of Royalist entering the Brisbane river on our return to NZ. Also the arrival photo wth the paying off flag showing if any one is interested?

  42. Jason says:

    No News i take it Chris ?

  43. Chris White says:

    NZOSM has been awarded for Operation Big Talk – announced 23 Feb. NZDF website article promulgates the entitlement.

    A long wait, but we got there in the end.

  44. Chook says:

    Ho Hum……

  45. Alan Kerr says:

    I’m trying to find information on my late father, Dave Kerr. He served on the Rotoiti plus from memory on the Hawea or Pukaki. He was on a pompom gun if my memory serves me well. I’ve requested his pay records from an email address I was given a long time ago, I never had a reply. He didn’t talk about much of Korea only to say it was fun until the bodies started being brought aboard. The only other thing he talked about was how after watching the US land marines from a ship for gorilla type tactics his skipper borrowed the technique and landed some crew for a mission making it the first time the NZ navy had used such tactics. He dis describe to me what Operation Grapple was like supported with photos of him covered in canvas coveralls with dark goggles. He said facing the opposite direction to the blast fully covered with googles on, eyes closed and hands over the eyes when the blasts happened he could still see all the bones in his hands. Sadly as with shipmates I got to know, Ivan Pimley and Ray Philpott along with much of the crew he sadly passed away from cancers. I would love to have a copy of his service records and copies of his lost medals. I enquired about his participation in Grapple only to be tokd there is no records of him. Strange as he had shown me photos. The only other thing I know is he was based in Japan for awhile when Korea halted. I would love any information any old shipmates could pass on and contacts where I can chase uo missing records and replacement medals. Next year for ANZAC day I plan to be at the dawn parade at Hellfire Pass and would love his medals to wear.
    Best wishes
    Alan Kerr

  46. Peter Henry Bray service no u19798 says:

    How do I apply for unclaimed service medals

  47. Jackie Elliott says:

    I will also add to this, a mystery unrecorded deployment of HMNZS Royalist with a crew of up to 550 enlisted and reservists who departed Auckland sailed to San Francisco- Vancouver – Johnston Island Mid – November 1962 and were close range witness to up to 10 nuclear bomb texts. They are not recorded as recipients of the NZNTV Special service medal. They are missed out from VA disability pensions that other Nuclear Text veterans have been eligible for since 2009, This tour even missing from Wikipedia. I am happy for anyone to prove where this ship was for 4 months to mid November 1962. Otherwise it has been a really good reality check to read this thread and see how difficult it often is to get official recognition. Well Done BIGTALK folks above.

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