RSA to inter proud Kiwi soldier's ashes
The family of a Temuka-born man plans to mark the anniversary of his 100th birthday by bringing him back to his roots.
James Randel Beckley Heron, who died aged 97, was born in Temuka on April 23, 1914. A century later, his daughters Elizabeth and Ruth are bringing him back home for the last time.
"With the RSA's help, we will be interring our father's ashes in his plot in the RSA section of the Temuka cemetery," Ruth Stevens said.
When he was 25, Mr Heron signed up with the 27th MG Battalion and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In 1941, he was captured at Sidi Resegh in Libya.
"He spent the rest of the war as a POW and he returned to New Zealand after the war," Ms Stevens said.
He moved to England where he met his future wife in London. He spent the rest of his days there, she said.
"He worked ... for a pharmaceutical company until his retirement, and then he was able to make his first return visit to New Zealand in 1977 since leaving it," Ms Stevens said.
"Fondly known in New Zealand as 'Randel', he was hugely proud of his New Zealand nationality and all things Kiwi, and it was very important to him to attend the biennial battalion reunions," she said.
He kept revisiting his birthplace until the age of 95.
The interment service officiated by Reverend Chris Rodgers will be held on April 23 at 11am.
The Timaru Herald