In a speech to a conference over the weekend David Cunliffe spoke of his grandfather’s service in WWI and specifically referred how his grandfather won the a Military Medal for valour.
However Whale has checked the service records (which are online and available to anyone) and there is no record of the MM being awarded to Bob Tuke, Cunliffe’s grandfather. There was one awarded to an Edmund Tuke, who is Bob’s brother.
Unless the service records are faulty, the claim doesn’t appear to be correct. I presume it is relatively easy to verify – one could ask the NZ Defence Force to confirm.
I think it is important to stress that anyone who served honourably in WWI, deserves our thanks, recognition and honour – regardless of which medals they did or did not receive. To me, they are all war heroes.
However if you are making a formal speech, and referring to medals received by your ancestor, then it is a very good idea to make sure your facts are correct. If you are an aspiring Prime Minister, it is even more important.
UPDATE: The Herald reports that the claim is definitely incorrect.