More than half a century after they first enlisted, four Cambridge veterans have been presented with their New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) for service they saw in south-east Asia.
Colin Parkinson, Sandy Sandford, Doug Rose and Paul Murphy served in the Far East during the Vietnam War era but were ineligible for the OSM until government changes announced last November extended the qualifying eligibility. The changes followed a review by the NZ Defence Force which determined there should be wider recognition for those who served in south-east Asia than had previously been the case.
Last month’s presentation took place at an RSA gathering in Cambridge, led by NZ Defence Force Brigadier Jon Broadley, supported by RSA President Tony Hill.
The citation for Leading Mechanical Engineer (Retired) Colin Parkinson, RNZN, covered his service from enlistment as a junior mechanic in 1969. His OSM was awarded for an 18-month deployment to south-east Asia as part of the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve. He left the RNZN in 1974 and transferred to the RNZE in the NZ Army Territorial Force, where he served a further 19 years until his retirement in 1991.
Retired Sgt Andrew ‘Sandy’ Sandford enlisted with the RNZIR in 1967 and moved to the RNZASC in 1967 as a driver. In 1973, he was posted to the Australia NZ United Kingdom (ANZUK) Supply Group in Singapore, which supported ANZUK operations throughout south-east Asia – it was this service that has been recognised with the OSM. He later returned to New Zealand and retired from the NZ Army in 1983.
Retired Sgt Doug Rose (RNZIR/RNZA) enlisted in 1967 as a bandsman in the NZ Army Band, then completed 15 years with the band, including two tours to Singapore with 1 RNZIR. Some of this service was designated eligible for the OSM award. On his return, he transferred as Cadre NCO to the RNZA Band for five years before serving intermittently with the Territorial Force for a further 18 years. He remains a member of the NZ Force Veterans Band and is the Cambridge RSA bugler.
Lieutenant Commander Paul Murphy RNZN (Retired) joined the Navy aged 17 in 1966 as a seaman officer. On completing his officer training, he was deployed to Hawaii, then to Singapore via Guam to join the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve. On returning to New Zealand in 1969 he took command of a fisheries patrol boat, HMNZS Maroro, becoming the youngest Commanding Officer in RNZN history. He later completed two further six-month tours as part of the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve in 1971 and 1974 – the three deployments as part of the Reserve qualify him for the OSM. Paul served in a variety of staff roles before leaving the RNZN in 1988 after 22 years’ service; he then started his academic and senior government career leading to him receiving his PhD in 1999.