Final repatriated servicemen to be buried at Whenuapai

4:29 pm on 7 October 2018

The final repatriation of servicemen buried overseas between 1955 and 1971 will take place at the Whenuapai Airforce Base this afternoon.

The remains of Defence Force are handed over to families after being returned from Suva and Pago Pago in a ceremony in May.

Photo: Supplied / NZDF

It is the fourth tranche of project Te Auraki, The Return, under which the New Zealand Defence Force brought home personnel and dependents buried overseas.

Two men who died while serving in South Korea are the final two being brought home.

They are Royal New Zealand Navy Telegraphist, Peter Mollison and New Zealand Army driver, (Herbert) Lester Humm.

Peter Mollison from Whakatane was 19 when he died of influenzal meningitis at the United States 121st Evacuation Hospital in Inchon in 1957.

At the time he was serving on HMNZS Royalist.

Lester Humm was 24 and from Christchurch. He died from injuries in 1955 after the vehicle he was a passenger in crashed.

He was serving with K-Force at the time.

Their remains will arrive at the Whenuapai Base and will be received with a traditional Māori welcome and their caskets will be carried past a guard of honour as they are formally handed over to their families before a private family service.

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