Media Statement on behalf of Hon Nathan Guy - Minister of Veterans' Affairs
Minister of Veterans' Affairs Hon Nathan Guy with veterans Clem Randall and Hugh Nelson
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Nathan Guy has commemorated the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore at a wreath laying ceremony in Wellington today.
“The fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 was a major event in World War II. During the conflict 35 New Zealand airmen lost their lives, and hundreds of our servicemen and civilians became prisoners of the Japanese.
“Over 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war and endured harsh treatment. Four days later the first bombing raids on Darwin began, bringing the war very close to New Zealand.”
Special ceremonies are being held in Wellington and Singapore to mark the 70th anniversary.
Two New Zealand veterans are attending the service in Singapore, supported by Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand staff. Both men served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during the Second World War and whilst in Singapore will pay tribute to those who did not return home.
“We are pleased to be able to send two veterans to the ceremony, given there are very few survivors of this historic battle left alive.
“Today we honour all the New Zealanders who took part in this battle and recognise the sacrifice of those that died, were injured, or held in prisoner of war camps,” says Mr Guy.