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Repatriation of servicemen's remains to begin

 31 soliders who were killed in Malaysia and Vietnam and have been lying in non-commonwealth war cemetaries [Photo: Supplied: Bob Davies via RNZI]

RNZAF Base Ohakea, NEW ZEALAND — The first repatriation of defence force personnel buried around the world since 1955 will officially begin next week.

Two airmen will be disinterred from the Suva Military Cemetery in Fiji, and one from the naval section of the Satala Cemetery in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

The repatriation is the result of a policy change announced last year to bring home service personnel buried between January 1955 and 1971.

The New Zealand Defence Force says up to 37 servicemen could be repatriated, if their families wish, from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea.

The two returning from Fiji are Secretarial Officer, Flight Lieutenant George Beban and Fireman Leading Aircraftman Ralph Scott, who both died of natural causes.

Flt Lt Beban died in 1956 at the age of 40, and Leading Aircraftman Scott in 1960, aged 28.

Navy Engineering Mechanic Russell Moore, who is buried in American Samoa, died in an accident on the survey ship HMNZS Lachlan in 1956.

Blessing ceremonies will be held in both Suva and Pago Pago and the three will arrive back to New Zealand on May 7, when a ramp ceremony will be held at RNZAF Base Ohakea before the men are formally handed to their families.

Read more at Otago Daily Times