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Special Campaign Medals to An Unknown New Zealand Warrior

The First World War Medals (obverse), awarded to An Unknown New Zealand WarriorAs part of the return and entombment of An Unknown New Zealand Warrior in November 2004, five special campaign medals were prepared by Headquarters, New Zealand Defence Force. On the advice of Phillip O’Shea, the New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to The Queen, and with the support of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, medals representative of service by New Zealanders in the First World War, the Second World War, and in operations since 1945, were awarded to the Unknown Warrior.

The medals, which were sourced from New Zealand Defence Force Personnel Archives and Medals at Trentham Military Camp, are:

a) First World War Medals

i) The 1914-15 Star
ii) The British War Medal (1914-18)
iii) The Victory Medal

b) The New Zealand War Service Medal (1939-45)

c) The New Zealand Operational Service Medal

The three First World War medals were all engraved by Mayer and Toye Limited, of Wellington, to: ‘AN UNKNOWN NEW ZEALAND WARRIOR’. The 1914-15 Star was engraved on the reverse (see the photograph), while the British War Medal and the Victory Medal were both engraved on the rim. Neither the New Zealand War Service Medal nor the New Zealand Operational Service Medal was engraved.

Flight Lieutenant Carl Smith RNZAF, the Insignia Bearer, carrying the five special campaign medals and the Gold RSA Badge awarded to An Unknown New Zealand Warrior The medals were mounted by Clive Robinson, the Clothing Store Manager for Headquarters, New Zealand Defence Force. The First World War medals were court-mounted as a trio (see the photograph on this page), while the New Zealand War Service Medal and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal were court-mounted as single medals.

To assist with the presentation and procession of the medals as part of the ceremonies associated with the return and entombment of the Unknown Warrior, a special cushion was designed and manufactured by Mr Robinson. The cushion featured special metal strips which were sewn into the velvet fabric, and to which magnets positioned at the rear of the medals could be readily affixed. The cushion was carried during the 10 and 11 November 2004 ceremonies by Flight Lieutenant Carl Smith RNZAF, the Insignia Bearer.

Lying-in-State, 10 November 2004, Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament BuildingsHer Excellency The Honourable Dame Silvia Cartwright PCNZM DBE, Governor-General of New Zealand, presented the special campaign medals following the arrival of the Unknown Warrior in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament Buildings, on 10 November. Dame Sylvia took the medals from the cushion and placed the First World War trio of medals, followed by the New Zealand War Service Medal and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal, on the flag-draped casket. The medals remained on display on the casket during the lying-in-state in the Legislative Chamber on 10 and 11 November. A special RSA Badge in Gold which was presented by the RNZRSA was displayed in a position of honour on the black velvet insignia cushion beside the casket.

The special campaign medals, together with the RSA Badge in Gold, accompanied the Unknown Warrior throughout the Memorial Service at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, the Military Funeral Procession, and the Interment Ceremony at the National War Memorial. The medals were placed upon the casket during the memorial service and the interment ceremony, and during the procession they were carried on the insignia cushion with the RSA Badge in Gold by Flt Lt Smith who, as the Insignia Bearer, followed behind the gun carriage and bearer party.

Prior to the lowering of the casket into the tomb at the National War Memorial, the medals and RSA Badge in Gold were delivered to the Hall of Memories by Flt Lt Smith. It is intended that the medals will be displayed, together with the flag which had dressed the casket, in a purpose-built display case which will be located in the entrance to the Hall of Memories, close to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

A second set of medals, court-mounted as a group, was also prepared by Headquarters, New Zealand Defence Force. This set of medals, together with a second insignia cushion, was used during the pre-ceremony training by NZDF personnel. The First World War medals are also engraved to: ‘AN UNKNOWN NEW ZEALAND WARRIOR’, while the New Zealand War Service Medal and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal are not engraved. It is intended that this second set of medals will be worn by selected high school students at future ANZAC Day ceremonies.

 This page was last reviewed 27 November, 2015 and is current.