Farewell to a hero

The Herald reports:

Hundreds have gathered in Christchurch this afternoon for a funeral to farewell celebrated war hero Lieutenant Colonel John Milbanke Masters.

Mr Masters, who famously saved the life of a Gurkha soldier under heavy fire in Borneo in 1965, and was instrumental in getting recognition for war veterans exposed to the defoliant agent orange, died last week at age 75.

Among the mourners who gathered today at St Barnadas church were Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, senior leaders of the RSA and numerous war veterans wearing their medals pinned to their chests.

Masters worked so hard for the welfare of his fellow veterans, that he was an easy and popular choice for inaugural ANZAC of the Year.

In April this year, Mr Masters was named as New Zealand’s inaugural Anzac of the Year, an award recognising comradeship, courage and commitment.

The Military Cross, presented to Masters by the Queen, followed an action in Borneo in 1965 when Masters, attached to a Gurkha regiment, was retreating with his patrol under heavy fire. A sergeant-major was badly wounded in the legs. Masters carried the Gurkha for 54 hours through thick jungle and swamp. He then hid the wounded soldier in the jungle, got back to base, and organised a search party, travelling with them back through the jungle to retrieve their injured comrade.

54 hours!!

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