15 Oct 2012

Former RSA head says delay in recognising Coastwatchers inexcusable

4:55 pm on 15 October 2012

A former president of New Zealand's Returned and Services Association says it is inexcusable that it has taken 70 years for the Pacific coastwatchers to be formally recognised.

A memorial was held today for the coastwatchers who were stationed throughout the Pacific during World War 2, including 17 men, who, along with 5 civilians, were killed by Japanese soldiers in Kiribati.

Robin Klitscher, who is also a member of the national war memorial advisory council, says a 70 year gap is inexcusable.

"But it is the manner of it, the calculated brutality of it, that deserves to be rcognised. They faced their fate, those 22, with the 17 New Zealanders, without hope of deliverance from anybody because they were so isolated."

Robin Klitscher says the next step is for a physical memorial to the coastwatchers to be erected in Wellington.