Lieutenant General Rhys Jones explains his medal ribbons to Dylan Stanley Judson who is wearing a replica set of Reginald Stanley Judson VC’s medals.
Dylan Stanley Judson (6), of Lower Hutt knows all about the importance of history. He’s the great, great grandson of Reginald Stanley Judson VC - one of eleven members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who earned a Victoria Cross during the First World War. Dylan was among the guests at the launch of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War in Wellington last night.
The joint project, involving the New Zealand Defence Force, Massey University and the NZ Royal Returned and Services’ Association, will see the production of nine volumes, each focused on a different aspect of the First World War.
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, who co-launched the project, said, “The Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War is an important project, both for the nation and for the New Zealand Defence Force. It not only honours the contribution of New Zealanders who served in World War One, but also acknowledges the impact of that war on our country, our communities, and our families.
“The Defence Force of today and tomorrow has an irrevocable link to its past through its core values, traditions, and concept of service to our nation and our comrades. We, as soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, need to understand our past and its relevance to today and tomorrow. I believe the centenary history project will make a major contribution to that understanding.”
The Centenary History project will be lead by Professor Glyn Harper, of Massey University, one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War.
Massey University and the Defence Force will support the first two volumes by making available Professor Glyn Harper and the Defence Force Historian, John Crawford, respectively to write the first two volumes. Subsequent volumes will be funded by partnerships with a range of other government organisations, businesses, grants, and donations from individuals.
Professor Harper will write the first volume on The New Zealand Soldier at War 1914-1918, and John Crawford will write the second, which focuses on The New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Mr Crawford has written on many aspects of the history of the New Zealand Armed Forces and defence policy. His most recent publication is The Territorials, a history of the territorial and volunteer forces of New Zealand.
About Stanley Judson VC
Northland born, Reginald Stanley Judson was one of New Zealand’s most decorated soldiers of the First World War. The Auckland boilermaker was awarded three gallantry medals within a month in 1918 – the Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal and the Victoria Cross. Judson was awarded the VC for his leadership of a bombing party attack on German positions near Bapaume. While working his way along an enemy trench-line Judson ran into a dozen German soldiers and ordered them to surrender. When they fired on him he threw a hand grenade amongst them. Two Germans were killed and the other retreated, leaving behind two machine guns.