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The Gift Of His Tomorrows

Posted on 14 Aug 2009

Hon Heather Roy speech to the ceremony for the handover of the decorations of Brigadier Reginald Miles CBE, DSO & Bar, MC; The National Army Museum, Waiouru; Thursday, August 13 2009.

Lieutenant General Don McIver, Executive Trustee of the National Army Museum Executive Management Committee; Major General Rhys Jones, Chief of Army; Major General Lou Gardiner, Former Chief of Army; Brigadier Graeme Birch, Colonel Commandant Royal New Zealand Artillery; Brigadier John Dennistoun-Wood, HQ NZDF; Colonel Ray Seymour, Director of the National Army Museum; Mr Peter Thorne George and all members of the extended family of Brigadier Miles, official guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon

It is a great privilege for me to represent the New Zealand Government today to honour the service of one of our country's most significant military leaders.

It is nearly three years since Peter Thorne George contacted me on behalf of Brigadier Reginald Miles' extended family - represented by the 20 of you here today at the National Army Museum.

While it is gratifying for me - both as a soldier, and as the Associate Minister of Defence - to see this ceremony come together, I have no doubt that Brigadier Reg would be especially pleased and proud of you all.

You have already heard or read much about Reg Miles' distinguished military career. It is a reality for all servicemen that their military career is summarised, in the end, by a personal file and a set of medals.

I'm pleased, as I'm sure you are, that the medallic record of Reg Miles' long and dedicated service to this country will now be complete and on display for all to see and appreciate.

There have been - and always will be - soldiers, sailors and airmen. There are few warriors. There are even fewer visionary warriors.

To build anything of consequence requires more than just a dream. Reg Miles was one of those who not only had a vision - a dream - he also walked the talk. Through his planning and leadership over several decades, he laid the foundations for today's artillery and operational planning processes.

This day would not have been possible without the work of many and I wish to acknowledge in particular Brigadier (retired) John Dennistoun-Wood, who conducted the research; Major General (retired) Lou Gardiner who, as Chief of Army, approved the findings; and also the Director, Trust Board and staff of the National Army Museum who have worked behind the scenes to bring the detail of Reg Miles' extraordinary life together.

Brigadier Reginald Miles CBE, DSO & Bar, MC saw what tomorrow held. He selflessly gave up his tomorrows so that we - and so many others - could enjoy our todays.

In doing so, he deserves the special remembrance and respect of all New Zealanders. I hope, Peter, that you and Bill Dawson and all the rest of the family will continue the work started through this medals project and record the full story of your ancestor - lest others forget.

ENDS

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