The New Zealand Memorial Cross
The New Zealand Memorial Cross is awarded to the next of kin of all New Zealand servicemen and women who were killed while on war service or operational service overseas, or who subsequently died of wounds received while on war service or operational service overseas, since the commencement of the Second World War.
Two versions of the New Zealand Memorial Cross have been struck: one during the reign of King George VI, and one during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The King George VI cross is worn from a thin purple coloured ribbon suspended around the neck, while the Queen Elizabeth II cross is worn as a brooch.
The King George VI New Zealand Memorial Cross has been awarded to the families of the more than 11,000 personnel who died while serving in the New Zealand Armed Forces during the Second World War. The Queen Elizabeth II New Zealand Memorial Cross has been awarded to the families of the 136 NZ military personnel who have died while on operational service since 3 September 1945.
The conditions relating to the institution and issue of the NZ Memorial Cross were set out in the New Zealand Gazette 25 September 1947 and are reproduced below:
1. His Majesty the King has approved the institution of a Memorial Cross to be known as “The New Zealand Memorial Cross”.
2. The New Zealand Memorial Cross shall consist of a Cross patonce in silver, suspended by a purple ribbon and at the end of the upright a crown; at the foot and at the end of either arm a fern leaf; in the centre within a wreath a laurel with the royal cipher “G.R.I.”, and bear the name, rank, and (if one had been allocated) the number of the person in respect of whom the Cross is issued.
3. (1) The persons eligible for the Cross shall be those relatives, determined in accordance with the undermentioned rules, who survive New Zealand servicemen who lost their lives while on active service during the period commencing on the 3rd day of September, 1939, and ended on the 2nd September, 1945 or who have died or subsequently die from causes attributable to that service.
(2) New Zealand servicemen shall include:-
(a) All those persons, male or female, who served during the war in any branch of His Majesty’s Forces established in New Zealand or who, having been ordinarily resident in New Zealand at any time during the period of sixteen years prior to the 3rd day of September, 1945, served during the war in any of the armed forces of His Majesty or any of His allies.
(b) All those persons, male or female, born in New Zealand or domiciled in New Zealand during any part of the period from the 3rd day of September, 1939, to the 2nd day of September, 1945, who served during the war in any capacity outside New Zealand territorial waters in a British ship or in any ship of the mercantile marine of any of His Majesty’s allies.
(3) The term “active service” means service as a New Zealand serviceman outside New Zealand territorial waters or in a naval sea- going vessel engaged in duties inside New Zealand territorial waters.
4. (1) The Cross shall be issued to those relatives of the deceased serviceman, determined in accordance with the undermentioned rules, who survive him at the date of the issue of the Cross, viz :-
(a) If he is survived by his mother and his widow it shall be issued to both those persons;
(b) If he is survived by his mother and not his widow it shall be issued to his mother and his eldest daughter, or if he has no daughter to his eldest son;
(c) If he is survived by his widow and not by his mother it shall be issued to his widow and his father or if his father is deceased to his eldest sister, or if he has no sister to his eldest brother;
(d) If is not survived by either his mother or a widow it shall be issued to his father, if living, and his eldest daughter, or if he has no daughter to his eldest son. If his father is deceased it shall be issued to his eldest sister, or if he has no sister to his eldest brother.
(2) For the purposes of the above rules if a serviceman is a legally adopted child his mother shall be deemed to be his adopting mother.
5. The Cross may be withheld from any applicant who in the opinion of the Minister of Defence is of bad character or, in the discretion of the Minister, from a widow who was separated from the serviceman by agreement or legal process at the time of his death.
6. If any question arises as to the issue of or eligibility for the Cross it shall be decided by the Minister of Defence, whose decision shall be final.
[Extract from the New Zealand Gazette, No. 56, 25th September 1947, page 1382]The back of this un-issued cross has the manufactures mark “R” above the Sterling mark. The manufacturer of this particular Memorial Cross is Roden Brothers Ltd of Toronto, Canada. Rodan Brothers (became Roden Brothers Ltd in 1910) was founded 1, June 1891 by Thomas and Frank Roden and were later taken over by Henry Birks and Sons in 1953.
A number of the issued crosses were altered by jewelers into brooches to make them easier for the recipients to wear. Below is an example of this alteration along with the card that was sent in the case with the cross from the NZ Government. The case that the cross is issued in.
This cross was issued to the relatives of Flight Sergeant Dennis Anthony Franklin who died on 9 April 1945 in an aircraft accident while posted to 15 Advanced Flying Unit, RAF.