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Service recognised at RSA

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014
Coleman

PRIDE: Minister of Defence and Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman, centre, with some of the servicemen and women who were recognised at Birkenhead RSA.

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Madison Coleman never met her grandfather but now has a greater understanding of who he was.

Ron Coleman completed compulsory military training in 1952 and was posthumously recognised with the New Zealand Defence Force Service medal in a formal ceremony at Birkenhead RSA on March 14.

Madison, 6, says the ceremony was cool "because it was important to my dad".

Her father, Minister of Defence and Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman, presented the defence service medal to Madison in front of about 60 people.

"It's just a tangible link to the past and I want her to grow up with a sense of who her grandfather was and where she comes from," he says.

His father, who died in 1978, was one of thousands of young Kiwis who were summoned to complete basic military training.

Mr Coleman says the training was held post-World War II in case another conflict occurred.

He says Madison understood she was presented with her grandfather's medal and its significance.

Historically those who completed the military training were not recognised with medals as it was not considered service.

Regular and Territorial forces had been the only ones to receive medals for their service.

Eighteen people who served for NZ Defence were also presented with the medal today. Mr Coleman said more than 160,000 new zealanders are eligible for the medal but only 56,000 had taken up the offer.

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- North Shore Times

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