REPORT OF ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE
LEGION OF FRONTIERSMEN
(NEW ZEALAND COMMAND, Inc)
Held at the Old Folks Hall, Clarence Street, Hamilton
On Saturday 6 June 1963
Following the arrival of His Worship the mayor of Hamilton, Dr. D. ROGERS, and the introduction by OC Hamilton Troop, Lieutenant N.M PARKINSON, the meeting opened with prayer by Padre DODDS.
His Worship the Mayor, in welcoming the visitors, referred to an instruction course that he had recently attended, and the personnel likely to be needed in the case of a major emergency – such as the explosion of a nuclear bomb. He welcomed the Legion as a body of men, trained and disciplined, who had shown by their work in other duties their willingness and competence to render service in time of need.
He concluded: “We do sincerely welcome you to our city. I hope your deliberations are well worthwhile and that as a result you will be able to strengthen your organisation. Your country needs you: your community needs you: and may you have a happy time in our city and a most successful conference”
Commandant D.A HONORE, in reply said. “Your Worship, I wish to thank you Sir. For the wonderful reception and welcome that you have extended to our organisation here today on the occasion of our annual get together and conference. The Conference we hear many speeches from the various Mayors, but I think this morning we have hear one “Out of the box”
The mayor has touched on the very active work that we are desirous of doing, and how appreciated it is, from our point of view, to hear the authorities in power welcome us here and accept our policy and assistance in times of national disaster , and in the community as a whole. We go from one centre to another for our venues, but there was always at the back of our mind, with every Frontiersman, the thought of this annual get together, and the opportunity it brings to meet each other again, and renew acquaintances made the year before. I dare say, sir, that it may be unique that there are over 200 uniformed men sitting in front of you ready to make their voluntary contribution to assist this country in time of peril. We do appreciate all your words spoken on our behalf. We came into your city yesterday and looked around, and saw the wonderful progress, and we realised that at the back of all of that community effort, working towards the aim of making a first-class, high-grade city were the city fathers. We are pleased to be here and do thank you for those words of welcome
Commandant HONORE, speaking to his fellow Frontiersmen, said:- I want to welcome you here. It is lovely to see so many of you chaps here. I did ask that at this, my first conference you would stand by and support me, and I see that that support is forthcoming
Apologies were received from the following:- Pioneers J.C FINDLATER, C.W CARNCROSS, R.B FOORD, T.E RODDA, W. LITTLE, A. LANGLEY: Captains H.J SAMPSON, COLLINS, S.R HEATHMAN, F.S MARTELLI: Lieutenants MAYO, MAIN, REID: Staff Sergeants HOUSTON, HETHERINGTON: Frontiersmen D. GRAHAM, J TENNENT, KINGSTON, FROMONT, STEVENS, N.V MARSHALL, GORDON, GILCHRIST, L.E.M MATTHEWS, HOOK, MITCHELL, CHAPMAN and PRIOR.
Letters of good wishes were received from the following:- Imperial Headquarters Staff, Legion of Frontiersmen, London, Lieutenant Colonel G.Q ARCHARD, OBE, LMSM, Salisbury and Rhodesia, Lieutenant Colonel A.A RANSOM, ED, FMSM Vancouver, British Columbia, Captain G. WHALLEY, Leeds, England (Adjutant, Northern Command, Home Command), Colonel F.B CREASY, LMSM, FMSM, Chief of Staff, Corps of Imperial Frontiersmen, Canada, Colonel Frederick BATES, North Vancouver, British Columbia. A motion that a letter of sympathy be sent to Captain SAMPSON, in hospital in Palmerston North was carried. A further motion that apologies and messages of goodwill be received was carried.
Following the morning tea adjournment, conference proceeded to the next business on the agenda – Confirmation of minutes of Conference, 1962:
The Commandant: You have all seen these published in the Frontiersman and it is not usual to read them, so I will ask for a motion that the minutes as published be approved. Captain HENRY moved accordingly. The motion was seconded by Captain BANNISTER. Carried.
Introduction of Members of Headquarters Staff:
At this stage the Commandant introduced members of his Headquarters staff to the meeting. The Commandant, in reply to a question, explained why he had not been able to meet ‘V’ Squadron while in Christchurch during his South Island tour.
Commandant: I will ask the Adjutant to read the obituary notices.
The following list of names was then read:-
Frontiersman Jim ANDERSON M Frontiersman C.I CHETTLEBURGH R Frontiersman G. HARWOOD Hamilton Frontiersman W.P TYSSEN Te Awamutu Frontiersman W.H PEAKETimaru
Commandant: You have heard those names in respect of those obituary Frontiersmen. May their souls rest in peace. I would ask you to be upstanding for a minute’s silence. May they rest in peace.
Squadron Reports and balance sheets: Squadron reports were given by the following
A Squadron Captain WALKER B Squadron Lieutenant LAMB E Squadron Captain DUNN G Squadron Captain PUKLOWSKI J Squadron Lieutenant GILSHNAN K Squadron Captain BANNISTER L Squadron Lieutenant NORMAN M Squadron Captain THAME N Squadron Captain FUNNELL O Squadron Captain DIXON R Squadron Captain LAING V Squadron Captain DICKIE Y Squadron Frontiersman BATHE Z Squadron Captain HENRY Gisborne Troop Sergeant COUSINS Hamilton Troop Lieutenant PARKINSON Kawerau Troop Sergeant BULL Invercargill Troop Frontiersman CROSBIE Taupo Troop Lieutenant HOLMES Te Aroha Troop Frontiersman JOHANSEN
Te Awamutu Troop Lieutenant COOPER
Timaru TroopLieutenant POWELL Whangarei troop Sergeant FROMONT
Commandant: Thank you very much Troops and Squadrons, for all those reports. It is very encouraging to know that you are all more or less on very firm ground, carrying out your duties and showing a very creditable balance in your Troops and Squadrons. Moved by Lieutenant POWELL, seconded by Captain FUNNELL, that these reports and balance sheets be received. Carried.
Headquarters Annual Report and balance sheet: In presenting the Annual Report the Commandant referred to the expense incurred in the tours of the North Island and South Islands and acknowledged the contribution made on this account by Squadrons and Troops and by individual members. He also stressed his desire that all units should do their best to make the Journal more interesting. The report was taken as read.
He also referred to an error in last year’s Balance Sheet which had delayed the production of this year’s accounts. He called on Major Merton to present the Statement of
As the Statement had already been distributed to the delegates, Major Merton gave a short explanation of the various items and, at the conclusion, he asked for any questions, but none were forthcoming.
The Commandant said that he was glad that we had the accounts ready to present to Conference and as there appeared to be no dispute about the Balance Sheet, he asked for a motion that the Report and Balance Sheet be received. Moved by Sergeant Logan, seconded by Fm Grant: that the HQ Annual Report and Balance Sheet be received. Carried. Conference adjourned for lunch at 12.05pm. On resumption of Conference after Luncheon Adjournment and the Official Photo Commandant: Our next business is the perusal of the Remits. I notice there is quite a lengthy list and I would ask you not to delay on them too long. I will give the official delegate the opportunity of presenting the remit. Then I will allow members from the floor to speak to the remit provided they do not hold the floor too long. At the end of the discussion on the remit, the delegate has the right of reply. We want to give you every facility to air your views, but do make them brief and to the point.
Remit 1 – E Squadron
“Any member who has resigned, or who has been dismissed from any Squadron or Troop of the Legion of Frontiersmen must be denied membership in any Squadron or Troop outside the area of his residence”
Capt Dunn (E Squadron) presenting the remit explained the circumstances that had prompted it. These referred to one individual only and protection was sought from similar cases in the future.
It appeared from the discussion that there is already provision in the Handbook under which the case could be dealt with (Sec 40), and the remit was withdrawn.
Remit 2 – G Squadron
“That all unit reimburse NZHQ for the insurance premiums paid on the basis of the number of hours of duty performed by them”
Capt Puklowski (G Squadron), presenting the remit: Sir, the remit is actually self explanatory. It is quite obvious that under the old set up where a small Squadron or Troop were doing small hours, they were in actual fact subsidising or helping to pay the insurance for the larger Squadron doing a large number of hours and therefore gaining a lot more remuneration.
Sergeant Fromont (Whangarei Troop): this remit is very far-reaching. In a report I presented earlier of our Troop, I mentioned that we had done over 1400 hours traffic duty. The Adjutant will have our balance sheet showing the donations received from organisations. We only work on a donation basis. When we offer our help, they give a donation to us. As I understand it, and I believe I am correct in this, the insurance premiums are paid to Lumley’s out of HQ funds derived from out capitation fees. Fm Bathe (Y Squadron) asked if £8/14/4 paid to Lumley & Co is shown in the HQ Balance Sheet is this year’s premium. Maj Merton: In answer to Fm Bathe, £8/14/4 is what we were charged at the beginning of the year. I am not an expert on Workers’ Compensation insurance. As far as I can make out, what is it going to cost us for the current year is somewhere around £25. You take a unit that does 50 hours in a year and another that does 5000, and suppose a man out of the 50 hour unit on a job and someone comes along and cleans him up in a car and the insurance company have to pay out for a full liability who is getting most out of it? Fm Wallis (K Squadron): Sir, we would oppose, but we consider that the Squadron who earn their money in ways such as playing housie are the ones who should help those who do the work. With just over 3000 working hours this year, it works out at 5d an hour. The biggest majority of that work is done free, voluntary, with no donation, and I think that those Squadron’s who make money without working for it should be the ones to help those who are in a position to do the work. In a show of hands. Remit No 2 was lost.
Remit 3 – R Squadron
“That a Chevron of russet brown on navy blue, to signify every five (5) years of efficient service be instituted. The chevron(s) to be issued in conjunction with a Certificate of Merit. Design and method of wearing to follow wartime pattern and procedure. Chevrons to be worn by O/R’s only and to be removed on receipt of the Long Service & Efficiency Medal”
Capt Laing: Speaking to the remit, it explains itself. When a man gets a Certificate of Merit he can frame it and hang it up, but when he is wearing uniform this will signify to others the service he has done. It is an incentive when he has finished five years, to carry on until he gets his Long Service & Efficiency Medal.
Fm Leadley (Y Squadron): I think that this is carrying things a bit too far, after all, we have our Certificate of Merit and when a man gets that he has something to be proud of. I think if we are going to do this, we will have to start issuing them to every married man every time he has two children On a show of hands, Remit 3 was lost.
Remit 4 – R Squadron
“That the term ‘OF THE COMMONWEALTH’ be added to the title ‘LEGION OF FRONTIERSMEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH, NEW ZEALAND COMMAND’.
Capt Laing: Sir, I feel, myself, that this is essential at the present time. The more we can advertise our affiliation as part of the Commonwealth the better for all concerned. It might seem the title is rather ponderous but it is exactly the same as in Great Britain. It is used in other portions of the Commonwealth also.
Commandant: I think you will realise that this remit is going to involve an alteration to our Constitution and therefore you have to be very careful to record the number of votes for and against, so that we have a record to place before the authorities when our Constitution is altered. We will have to have a very definite count of the delegates vote on the subject. Maj Merton, replying to a question: The position is that the designation of the Imperial Headquarters has recently been altered by the addition of the words “of the Commonwealth” and our London HQ are now “Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth”. This is solely to bring us into line. Remit 4 was carried, the voting being: For 23; against 19.
Remit 5 – A Squadron
“That a page of the Journal be devoted continually, to the addresses of Adjutants and Secretaries of all Squadrons and Troops.”
Maj Merton: For the information of A Squadron, we felt that your suggestion was a good one, and you will notice the list was published on the last page of the current ‘Frontiersman.’ We thought that we would see how it went, and if agreeable to everybody we can just carry on and there is no need for the remit. It is a matter for HQ Command.
Captain Walker (A Squadron). We Sir, I will just say, “Thank you, carry on with it.” Remit 5 withdrawn
Remit 6 – Y Squadron
“To end a matter of bitter controversy throughout the Legion, and to assist in standardising the appearance of our Units throughout New Zealand, that all reference to allowing peaked or forage caps to be worn be deleted from the handbook, and the NZHQ issue a directive immediately stating that the Stetson hat is the ONLY official Legion uniform hat.”
Fm Bathe (Y Squadron): We have little to add to the reasons given except to refer to Routine Order 1/62, Part 1, No 216: Peaked caps: In accordance with the resolution of Conference Rotorua on 21st May 1953, the wearing of peaked caps is contrary to regulations.” We feel we have drifted since 1955 and it has to be brought to a head.
Sgt Fromont (Whangarei Troop) referred to page 10 of the current Legion Handbook. So far as this remit affects our unit, I would say this is a parochial matter. Some time ago, the Whangarei Troop was granted permission to use peaked caps on traffic duty. We found that we have had greater respect and more understanding when on point duty with a peaked cap, and it assists the smooth follow-through. We do not consider the Stetson hat should be abolished, far from itm but you would not go swimming in a rugby uniform. I think that is vasically the point of it.
Capt Puklowski (G Squadron): I think G Squadron is one of the offending Squadrons in regard to the peaked cap. Some years ago we got a dispensation from the Commandant giving permission to use them on traffic duty. We find we get much more satisfaction; the public will take greater notice of you.
Lieut Lamb (B Squadron); Sir, B Squadron cannot help but agree with the two previous speakers. According to the handbook, the only official gloves to be worn are the gauntlets. We know it is impossible to do efficient traffic control in gauntlet gloves. The only official belts to be worn are the 2 inch leather. Whenever we are doing night duty, especially in the festive season in Rotorua with the great influx of visitors, we find reflectorised belts unavailable, a ‘must’ for a man’s life. I do not see that we can stick to one part of the book and disregard the other parts. Commandant: We received a letter from the Chief Transport Officer in Napier as the result of a duty performed during the Queen’s Visit. A number of men left at an early hour and did duty all day at Napier, and our services were so well received and appreciated that the Department sent us a letter of thanks for that job. I would like to couple with it another beautiful letter from the Transport Department in the Bay of Plenty addressed to Capt Collins expressing sincere thanks and appreciation for the splendid work done on the recent visit to the borough by the Governor General Sir Bernard and Party.
Fm Bathe, replying to a question as to what uniform had been worn tat day: The Stetson Hat. We have several letters in the same vein.
Capt Jones: For some years past, various units of the Legion of Frontiersmen have been in the habit if wearing the peaked cap whilst on duty, at the express wish of the employing authority, who in most cases have been the local Senior Traffic Officers. I am of the opinion that a little latitude on a domestic basis can and should be available, recognised, of course, by NZHQ. If this Conference upholds the Y Squadron remit then all the domestic ‘departures’ must go too, and that includes Y Squadron’s white gloves.
Lieut Adams (A Squadron): I have been hearing a lot of word about the uniform. We in Auckland, I suppose, have the greatest volume of traffic to handle. We have it all the time at Eden Park on a Test Day – traffic of three and four lanes coming at us for quite a long time. As the Legion of Frontiersmen we wear our Stetson hat on point duty. We put on white gloves but other than that we are fully dressed as members of the Legion, and we find no discomfit or anything at all that hinders us in maintaining the flow of traffic. I do not see any need to go chopping the Legion of Frontiersmen uniform to such a degree that the public do not know our identity. If I wore a Salvation Army bonnet, they would know I was in the Salvation Army, but if I wear a peaked cap, they do not know I belonged to the Legion of Frontiersmen. I think it is about time we stopped pulling the uniform to pieces and making it a laughing stock. Commandant: We have here, as you see, a Stetson hat. I want Lieut Green to stand up and show you his hat. Lieut Green pointed out that supplies of the “Lemon Squeezer” were going to be hard to get and suggested adopting a blue hat instead. He continued: “In regard to the peaked cap we found on our tour of the North and South Islands that for some Troops, in certain duties they have to carry out, the “Lemon Squeezer” is not suitable, even with a chin strap to help hold it on: and in various other duties where a man has to poke his head in, it is a nuisance to him”. Fm Sommerville (Taupo Troop) moved and Capt Walker seconded an amendment – “That HQ’s Staff, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee, be instructed to examine the whole question of dress and to bring down recommendations to next year’s Conference. Commandant: I give Y Squadron the right of reply before the amendment is put. Fm Bathe (Y Squadron): In reply to the arguments against the original remit, we leave it confidently to the commonsense of the bulk of the members. You can’t get past a ruling order in 1955. Where is the Legion going if you break any rule you like and get Conference to say it is all right? The removal of tunic has been authorised at Conference by the Commandant. He has said you may wear what summer uniform you like. But there is a definite ruling that the Stetson hat shall be worn. The Commandant then put the amendment which became the motion and was carried on a show of hands.
Remit No 7 – Y Squadron
“That New Zealand Headquarters move to institute a postal ballot for future elections of Commandant:
Commandant: Just before this is put to you, I want Major Merton to enlighten you a bit on the relevance of this remit to our Constitution. Major Merton: There were three remits covering this point. The position is that this will entail an amendment to our Constitution and for that reason we have cut out the other two remits. If this remit is carried, we shall have to go to our solicitors and have an appropriate amendment to our Constitution drawn up. It can then come forward for adoption by next year’s Conference, and the amendment to the Constitution and the Rules in proper form will then go forward to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies and will become operative in time for the election of Commandant two years from now? Is this fair to everybody? Voices: Yes.
Commandant: From the chair I will call for a motion relative to this remit as outlined by Major Merton. Will somebody propose a motion?
F/m Wallis (K Squadron): I will move in this direction. F/m Bathe (Y Squadron) seconded the motion which was carried
Remit No 8 – N Squadron
That Section 78, page 22 (Legion handbook 1957) be amended to permit and make mandatory the announcing of all votes, for and against, on all Conference business..
Lieut Liddell (N Squadron): The reasons have been set out here in support of this remit. F/m Bathe (Y Squadron): on perusing the handbook, I can see nothing there that prohibits the publishing of the result of any ballot. Commandant: There is no need to discuss this remit any further. It is there in the handbook. I don’t know whether the proposer is prepared to withdraw this remit. I don’t think anything can be gained by going further. Lieut Liddell (N Squadron) signified his willingness to withdraw the remit.
Remit No 9 - Taupo Troop
That headquarters be instructed to have all amendments to the rules printed in such form that the new rules may be cut out and pasted into the handbook in order to bring it up to date.
Commandant: This has already been gone through, and it is only a matter of time when the new handbook is published that this will be stated in the new handbook. Are you all satisfied? Would you like to speak to it? F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): The reason that we put this remit forward, Sir, is that a new handbook has been coming out for the last five years and we still have not got it. In discussion with yourself, Sir, last year, you told me what a terrific job it was going to be to compile and print a new Handbook. We feel that this is the easy way out of it. Capt Henry (Z Troop): I have ‘Frontiersman’ papers back to 1930 and often go through them, and I have seen numbers of remits that have been passed at Conference and have been printed in the ‘Frontiersman’. Commandant: We have a sample here of the method. There are four amendments on that sheet of paper that could be cut off independently and pasted in the relative pages of the book. Major Merton: I have been through, as far as I could, the reports of the Conference since 1957 and the number of alterations is really very small. It is all very well to say the Handbook is hopelessly out of date. It is not – except for the sections dealing with the uniform. Commandant: Well Frontiersmen, we have that one under review. Any further speakers? Remember that the remit is on the book as it stands. Will you be satisfied to leave it with headquarters to commence their project of publishing a new handbook? I understand that the old headquarters had this job in hand. Major Merton: The Commandant has asked me to say something about the new handbook. I have been advised by Major Carncross who was my predecessor in office, that the new handbook is already in the hands of the solicitor. Who or which or what I could not say. It is only recently that he lobbed this on to me, but I understand that a start has been made, and I am hopeful we may be able to do something satisfactory between now and next Conference. Lieut Green: I have on hand about eighteen 1957 handbooks. If anyone wants one, just send word to me. Major Congreve: I don’t think there is any need for printing a new handbook. If the slips were printed and handed on, it would do for years. A set of handbooks would cost £80 to £100. F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): Could it be restated, we are not advocating the re-printing of the present book. If it must be done, then it must be done. Our remit is aimed at keeping whatever Handbook is current, up to date. On a show of hands being called for, remit No 9 was carried.
Remit No 10 – Taupo Troop.
That Headquarters set up a committee to investigate and report on the possibility of holding the various trophy shoots in conjunction with the annual Conference.
F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): I do not want to spend a lot of time on this, Sir, The reason we sent it forward was that we hear about the various shoots and it is obvious that very few units are taking part in these shoots, and we feel that that if it was possible for these shoots to be run in conjunction with Conference it could increase the overall interest. Commandant: Frontiersman Sommerville, may I ask the background of this remit? Do you intend the shoot to be held during the two-day Conference? We would definitely have to extend it to four days. F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): I quite agree with you, as conference is at present we could not do it, but what we are asking is that a committee be set up to see if it could be done. Capt Burling (Staff Adjutant): May I point out that one of your competitions for .303 shooting is on a percentage of your Squadron strength and you won’t get a percentage at Conference. Capt Bannister (K Squadron): If this could be carried out it might be a good thing, but there are several things against it. On a show of hands remit No 10 was lost.
Remit No 11 – Taupo Troop
That rules for the wearing of summer dress be amended to allow for the wearing of rank badges; Dark blue stripes and pips would be suitable.
In view of the amended remit passed earlier, the remit was withdrawn.
Remit No 12 – M Squadron.
That sub-section (1) of Sec 135 on page 31 of the handbook be deleted and the following substituted:-
(1) Drill Order – Hat, tunic, belt, blue slacks, black shoes and socks. Tunic to be open necked pattern, worn with white shirt and black tie.
In view of the amendment of the earlier remit, the remit was withdrawn.
Remit No 13 – M Squadron.
That Sec 23 on page 14 of the Handbook be deleted and the following substituted:-
23. A Squadron will consist of from 25 upwards, including all ranks. Secs 24 and 25 to be amended to 24 as maximum for a Troop
Capt Thame (M Squadron): This morning as reports were coming out. I noticed there were only four Squadrons at this meeting that were over-strength or at strength according to Sec 23 of the handbook. Quite a number of Squadrons are trying to keep up their status by keeping dead-wood in. We thought that by reducing the number to 25, it would enable troops that are under strength to get too strength, and would enable Squadrons keeping dead-wood in, to get rid of those jokers who were not suitable.
F/m Wallis (K Squadron): I think this is an excellent move. That is my personal opinion. All Squadrons seem to be up and down. One day some are full Squadrons, the next a Troop according to the handbook
F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): I do not like this remit quite as it is. I see the intention, but it does not appear to me to quite do the job. Whilst I agree with the general intention of the remit, to my mind it would need a little bit of latitude, perhaps with Headquarters to decide at what stage a particular unit, taking all of the circumstances into account should become a Squadron or revert to a Troop. F/m Beardsmore (L Squadron): This affects our Squadron very considerably. I think it would be very detrimental to L Squadron, and on behalf of L Squadron we are opposing this remit as it stands at present. Major Merton: I think the actual handling of the details of this will fall on my shoulders and I don’t think anybody need worry. If a Troop is 32 strong, I am not going to take the trouble to split it up. All I know is that at the end of the year I get a list of the number of men in the Squadron. The Squadron does not tell me how many there are in the individual Troops as that is an internal matter. Nobody need worry that I am going to be tough over it. Don’t think if a Troop gets over the minimum for a Squadron and it is more convenient for them to carry on as a Troop that I am going to worry my head about it unless they apply for Squadron status. In the same way if a Squadron gets down to below strength, as so many do, we don’t say, “No, because you have 17 you have to be a Troop.” We leave them to carry on as a Troop. Commandant: I will put the remit as it stands. Voting: 16 for and 13 against. Majority in favour 16 to 13, Carried. Point of Order: You just counted the hands as against the voting strength. On a recount, the Commandant declared the result of voting on remit 13 to be, For 25, against 19 Remit carried.
Remit No 14 – NZ Headquarters
That Legion members 70 years of age and older, with not less than 15 years continuous service be classed as “Inactive Veteran Members” and that such members be issued with a suitable badge bearing the letters ‘IVM’ to be worn on the right breast of the tunic. [Headquarters will be willing to accept a reduced capitation fee of 7/6 in respect of any of these members if their Squadrons or Troops so desire.]
Commandant: It is not very often that a remit comes from Headquarters but as this remit came from me originally, I feel it is my duty to explain just what is entailed in this remit. During our tour of the South and North Islands I met many men of longstanding in the Legion willing but not quite able to carry out the duties allocated to a Frontiersman. I was sympathetic to them. I spoke to quite a number of them, and I had a number come to me and say, “We don’t want to be counted among the has-been’s; we want to still retrain membership. Turn to your handbook and you will see we just can’t do it, therefore when I got home I framed this remit. I went to quite a bit of trouble to see what type of badge we could issue to any men in this category. I wanted to base it with a background of our original Legion badge, the mufti badge, but in addition to have the letters ‘IVM’ printed thereon. I am going to leave it to you members to speak on it, and the alteration of that lettering. One Squadron wrote me a very nice letter relative to it, and suggested I cut out that ‘inactive’. I realised there must be another word I could substitute for it. I first of all want to get the feeling of Conference as to whether you are in favour of this badge being gone on with at all, and also how you would prefer the lettering to be done. Capt Walker (A Squadron): If this is carried, is the man’s original badge to be recalled. Commandant: No, definitely not. Capt Puklowski (G Squadron): We do appreciate the motive behind this; however, after our discussion this morning on all these stripes etc., we felt that another badge or button on the uniform was getting a bit too much. We were prepared to support the remit with those letters left out altogether. Capt Dixon (O Squadron): We have actually had this experience in the last six months in our own Squadron. Two of our veteran members saw fit to hand in their resignations for the simple reason that they felt they could not do their jobs fully. We looked up every avenue possible to prevent this and there is no way of doing it. We support this remit for the reason that we would be losing, and have lost in these two, very valuable members with their vast experience of Legion work. F/m Bathe (Y Squadron): I was the member who wrote to you suggesting the deletion of “inactive”. We canvassed several ageing members in the Bay of Plenty. Most of them, Sir, their first reaction was that it would be an insult to call them “inactive”. Sir, you have men here very near to 70, are you going to call them inactive? While we asked for the deletion of the “inactive”, at the same time we did not visualise any badge but just a classification of members. It would be open to these ageing members who felt a day’s duty a bit beyond their strength to say, “I will do what I can; a couple or three hours”. If we had this new classification, they would say, “We would like to be Veteran Members” and to be in that category would be an honour, but to be classified as “inactive” would be an insult. Lieut Powell (Timaru Troop): Timaru Troop is in favour of this remit providing the letter “I” is left out. Our ideas on this are the same as those expressed by the previous speaker. There is another matter related to this remit that is not in this remit. I mentioned it to the Commandant when he was on his tour. We have the occasion where we have a young man who is very active but has some injury and is incapacitated to such an extent that he cannot get about as most people can. I suggested to the Commandant, would it be possible to include the fellows who could probably do a sit down job and would probably be a lot happier that way. F/m Nesbitt (A Squadron): Sir, I am deeply conscious of the fact that a man must retire some time. But the way I read this remit you are going to retire them at 0. There are men at 70 who are still capable of carrying on. I would also like to point out that if you are going to retire these men at 70, you are going to have to get rid of a few Squadron Commanders and Commandants. Major Merton: You talk of men being 70; it is not many weeks before I will be 80, and I am still not an inactive member. I don’t mind being a Veteran Member; it will save me 10/- a year. Lieut Pettigrew (M Squadron): Sir, just before the Conference I received a man’s badge, he is too valuable a member to lose, so I immediately wrote back to him and told him of this remit that was coming up at Conference, hoping that we may be able to give him something. I am holding his badge until I get a directive from Conference. Besides him, we have about four others who are crippled and not actually over age. I think ’70 years of age’ could be left out, but in the case of those not earning money and living on the Age Benefit, I think it would be great if we could bring this reduced subscription in for them. “M” Squadron is in favour of the remit.
Capt Laing (South Island Liaison): Sir, I have been asked to bring this point by several ex-members. They want to know what would be their position about rejoining as they would be quite keen to come back into the Squadron. They have various technical skills but are not exactly active enough to carry out a full or half days duty, though they could be used to other advantage. I totally agree with the idea.
F/m Wallis (K Squadron): Sir, I think that all of this is unnecessary. We in “K” Squadron have four still active members 80 years and over, but each of these is a live member. We as a Squadron have made them Life Members, and I think that is the biggest honour we can give them. They will retain their original badge and are still on the books. Commandant: As the mover of this remit I am quite pleased and quite happy to withdraw the “I” in the title on the badge. Capt Puklowski (G Squadron): I moved an amendment withdrawing the words IVM from the proposed badge. Commandant: This is not to be worn on the civilian suit: it is to be worn on the tunic, and if the lettering is not appended on it, then it just goes back to the other badge, which it is not in order to wear on our official dress. Lieut Green (Asst Staff Adjutant): The section you are cutting out is absolutely necessary to permit that badge to be worn on the tunic. Capt Walker (A Squadron): By the presentation of this badge to a Veteran Member, that is not asking him to leave. It is an honour. He can do as much work as he wants to, or is able to. This is a signal honour for his age and the good he has done to the Squadron. F/m Daldy (A Squadron): I think we should bear in mind that the people concerned in this are a minority who would not be likely to be represented personally at a Conference such as this The Commandant then put to the meeting the amended remit, moved by Capt Puklowski and seconded by Capt Bannister, reading as follows:- “That Legion members 70 years of age and over, with not less than 15 years continuous service, be classed as Veteran Members (Headquarters will be prepared to accept a reduced capitation fee of 7/6 in respect of any of those members if their Squadrons or Troops so desire.) After a count of votes, the Commandant declared the amendment carried by a majority of 23 to 21. F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): Taupo Troop considered this remit before it came up here and there was point we thought could be a little unfair to a man – the continuous service clause. We have had men in our Trroop who for reasons of ill-health or change of residence, have had to drop out of the Legion for some years, but have come back in and are still giving good service. We felt that “15 years efficient service” instead of “15 years continuous service” would be a reasonable amendment. We felt too that consideration should be given to the man of 45 to 50 who had the requisite service who through illness or accident could be in some way incapacitated so that he could not perform full active duties, but could do some duties. We therefore propose the remit be amended in this way:- “Members with not less than 15 years’ Efficient service who because of health or age are unable to give full active service may be classified as Veteran Members.” Capt Puklowski (G Squadron) stated that with the consent of the seconder he would withdraw his amendment. This was agreed to. The amendment proposed by F/m Sommerville then came before the Conference. Capt Jones (Liaison): Sir, to help F/m Sommerville I will give you the amendment as the stenographer gave it back to me:- “Members with not less than fifteen years efficient service who because of health or age are unable to give full active service may be classified as Veteran Members (Headquarters will be prepared to accept a reduced capitation fee of 7/6 in respect of any of these members if their Squadrons so desire).” Does that cover it? F/m Sommerville (Taupo Troop): Yes.
The amendment as above, moved by F/m Sommerville and seconded by F/m Logan (Taupo Troop) was then put to the vote and carried.
Commandant: I have a letter here I wish Major Merton to read. I contacted General Thornton shortly before Conference and said to him, “General, would you give me a message to take to our forthcoming Conference. I think it would be appreciated very much by every man there.” He said, “I am only too pleased.” And called his Aide-de-Camp and within two days I had the message:-
[READ BY MAJOR MERTON]
New Zealand Army
31 May 1963