NZ sailors who died in the UK in the 1950s being returned home

12:52 pm on 13 September 2018

A graveside ceremony has begun the process of bringing home two New Zealand sailors buried in the UK.

Engine Room Artificer Apprentice Philip Short died in a vehicle accident in 1958 at the age of 20.

He had completed three years training on the Royal Navy ship HMS Caledonia.

A ceremony at his graveside at St Mary Cray Cemetery, Kent, today was led by kaumātua and a New Zealand Defence Force chaplain and included waiata and prayers.

Next week, a blessing ceremony will be held for Leading Engineering Mechanic William Goodwin who died in 1956 of a head injury while playing rugby.

He was 25, and was serving on HMNZS Bellona at the time.

Once an identification process is complete, Royal New Zealand Navy personnel will hold a continuous vigil around the caskets until they are handed over to the families.

The remains of both men will be returned to this country on 26 September and they will be returned to their families at a ceremony at the Devonport Naval Base.

It is the third phase of NZDF project Te Auraki (The Return) under which personnel and dependants buried overseas after January 1955 are being brought home, following a change in government policy.

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