Brave and principled but compassionate and unassuming – Les Munro was the sort of Kiwi character many talk about but few live up to.
With his death on Tuesday New Zealand lost one of the greatest of a generation that put service before self.
In conflict he bravely gave service to his country in the one of the most daring raids of WWII with the Dambusters.
In peace he gave decades of service to his small community and then stood up to help when his wartime mates were in danger of being forgotten.
Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand has “lost a remarkable man who led a remarkable life” with the passing of Munro, the last remaining Dambuster from the RAF 617 Squadron.
Munro died in Tauranga Hospital on Tuesday at 6.15am.
“I was honoured to meet Les Munro in person when I attended the presentation of his medals to Motat just a few months ago,” Key said.
“His contribution to his country and his generosity will not be forgotten,” he said.
Sad he has died. He seemed quite spry and active at the ceremony to hand his medals over to MOTAT.
I honour both his service in WWII, but his spirit of generosity in wanting to sell his medals to fund the British war memorial to his colleagues.