Les Munro is one of New Zealand’s greatest living war veterans and his medals should be purchased and kept in New Zealand, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.
“Labour is calling on the Government to purchase these medals which are being donated by former Squadron Leader Les Munro to auction in London to raise money for the Bomber Command Memorial Fund.
“Les Munro’s decision to give up his prized medals and logbooks to support the Memorial that honours the Bomber Command mates he lost in the war is an act of extraordinary generosity.
“As the last surviving pilot from the famed 1943 Dambusters Raid and the survivor of 57 bombing sorties, Les Munro is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished war veterans.
“It would be a tragedy, however, if his medals were lost to New Zealand because they were purchased by an overseas buyer.
“The Government should take the initiative and purchase the medals and logbooks so they can be put on permanent public display in our country.
“It would be a fitting tribute both to Les Munro personally but also to the 1851 New Zealand pilots and air crew who died in the Second World War while serving with Bomber Command.
“This year we mark the centenary of the occasion which gave rise to ANZAC Day, the day we commemorate all those who served and those who died for our country. Purchasing the medals would be an appropriate commemorative action.
“The expenditure of around $100,000 is a small price to pay for retaining the medals as a lasting memorial to those who died over Europe to protect the freedom of future generations of New Zealanders”, Phil Goff says.