Awards for Palmerston war veterans

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Two war veterans received life memberships from the Palmerston Waihemo RSA at a service on Sunday.

Gordon Gunn, 94, and Tom Collins, 91, both served in World War 2.

Tom Collins was born in Dunedin in 1923 and went to war as a 20-year-old, where he worked as a driver.

Mr Collins travelled from Linton to Wellington to leave on the large ship New Amsterdam. He said there were 6000 men on board and they were ‚Äúpacked in like sardines”.

He first served in Egypt, then Italy, and was part of the Japan Occupation Forces.

He joined the Palmerston RSA, of which he is still an active member, after he returned from the war. He has been an RSA committee member since that time.

Mr Collins recently had his portrait taken for the World War 1 100 year commemorations on Anzac Day, along with all other World War 2 personnel throughout New Zealand.

Mr Gunn was 21 when he went to war as a gunner.

He said if you failed to show up to training sessions by 6am, you were reported missing.

He served in Italy and was Palmerston RSA president in 1968 and again in 1980-1981. He remains an active member today.

Mr Gunn said he often arrived at the club on his mobile scooter to enjoy a Speight’s stubbie before the 6pm news or a rugby match.

Like Mr Collins, he had his portrait taken for the World War 1 commemorations.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: STEVEN KEEN

AWARDS: Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher sits with Gordon Gunn, 94 (left), and Tom Collins, 91, who were made life members of the Palmerston Waihemo RSA on Sunday. With them is regional RSA president Michael Blackstock. Messrs Gunn and Collins served in World War 2.