Memorial crosses presented to slain soldiers' families

02 April 2012

The families of two NZSAS soldiers tragically killed in Afghanistan last year were presented with the New Zealand Memorial Cross by Prime Minister John Key today.

Family members of both Corporal Doug Grant and Lance Corporal Leon Smith attended a closed ceremony in Papakura Military Camp, which was also attended by senior members of the NZDF and colleagues from the NZSAS Regiment.

The New Zealand Memorial Cross is presented to family members of New Zealand Service personnel who lose their lives during, or as a result of, operational service outside New Zealand.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said the medal recognises that it is not only the soldiers themselves that make sacrifices in the service of New Zealand, but also their families.

"Both Corporal Grant and Lance Corporal Smith died in the service of their country, and in doing so they made the ultimate sacrifice. Today those sacrifices, along with the impact that these tragic events have had on their families, is remembered".

CPL Grant was shot by insurgents while attempting to free captives held in the British Council offices in Kabul on 19 August 2011. He died from his injuries en route to hospital.

LCPL Smith was killed on 28 September 2011 after being struck by a bullet fired by an insurgent while securing a compound during a partnered operation with the Afghan Crisis Response Unit.

The families of both Corporal Grant and Lance Corporal Smith do not wish to make any comment at this time.


For more information contact Major John Gordon, Senior Comms and Media Advisor (Army) on 021 478 574.

For more information about the NZ Memorial Cross, you can visit the NZDF Medals website at

This page was last reviewed on 28 May 2012.