Lt Col John Masters ONZM MC JP
Lt Col John Masters ONZM MC JP Anzac of the Year 2010
In April 2010 Prime Minister John Key announced that Christchurch man Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) John Milbanke Masters ONZM MC JP was the inaugural Anzac of the Year.
RNZRSA Immediate Past President Robin Klitscher said John Masters was an excellent choice as both his career in the Army and after were guided significantly by the traits the Award sought to recognise.
“He is a decorated Army officer who served for 27 years. During that time he was awarded the Military Cross for rescuing a wounded Gurkha Warrant Officer under extremely difficult circumstances. He was also made a life member of the Gurkha Regimental Association’s Sirmoor Club – an honour normally restricted to Gurkhas.”
As well as seeing service in Borneo, John Masters served in Vietnam as the seventh battery commander of the New Zealand Artillery Battery, a position he still held when the Battery returned to New Zealand in May 1971.
After retiring from the Army in April 1983 John Masters held several senior management roles in business.
“But he retained his interest in the Army and its soldiers; indeed in all veterans,” Mr Klitscher said.
“He was heavily involved in Rannerdale War Veterans home and was instrumental in raising substantial funds to allow the home to stay open and to be upgraded.
“His personal testimony to the Health Select Committee was crucial to breaking open the facts of exposure to chemicals during service in Vietnam, thus enabling follow-up investigation into the matter to take place on a firm footing. He was subsequently a Trustee of the Vietnam Veterans and their Families Trust; and has also been a panelist assisting with War Pension applications.”
In 2002 John Masters was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
John's wife Alisoun Masters and son Allan Masters with Prime Minister John Key at the annoucement in Auckland.Prime Minister John Key presented the Award to John’s wife Alisoun and son Allan who received the Award on John’s behalf as he was unable to travel due to ill health.
Chief of Defence Lt Gen Jerry Mateparae gathered the following weekend in Christchurch with friends and family where he presented John with the Award in person.
Sadly, John lost his battle with cancer late October 2010. Recently elected RNZRSA President Don McIver said “John Masters was an inspiration to all who met him; he touched many people’s lives and will be sadly missed.”