Dunedin man Neville Selwood can now add his Bomber Command
clasp (in his right hand) to his other memories of his time
during World War 2, after he was presented with the clasp
recently. Photo by Tim Miller.
Finally, after more than six decades, Dunedin man Neville
Selwood has been recognised for his efforts in Bomber Command
during World War 2.
He only wishes those who served alongside him were still
around to get the same recognition.
Mr Selwood (89) was a fresh-faced 20-year-old when he flew
over Europe in his first mission as the navigator of an Arvo
Lancaster in the 75th Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air
At the recent 73rd commemorations of the Battle of Britain,
he was presented with the Bomber Command clasp - which
recognises the service of the airmen who were part of Bomber
Because of the controversial nature of Bomber Command - it is
estimated up to 600,000 German civilians were killed during
the campaign - those who took part had not been officially
recognised until last year.
In 2012, Bomber Command veterans were acknowledged with an
official service in Wellington and in February the Bomber
Command clasp was made available to veterans.
Mr Selwood said it had been a long time coming for Bomber
Command veterans, but to be finally recognised for their
efforts during World War 2 felt good.
''Unfortunately, for a lot of us it came too late and that is
the sad part about it.
''We don't want to promote war but at the time we were doing
what we were told and what seemed right.''
A log book and navigational computer still remind Mr Selwood
of that time in his life.
''They say your brain doesn't fully develop until you're in
your twenties, so there I was not even 21.
''The ones who want peace the most are the ones who have seen
''I have 16 grandchildren and I never want them to see war,''
It was hoped the widows and family of those who had served in
Bomber Command would have also received the clasp on Sunday,
but none had come forward, Mr Selwood said.
''I think a lot of the widows and families don't know about
the clasp, so they haven't come forward yet, but hopefully
the word will get out to them, too.''
About 6000 New Zealanders served in Bomber Command and more
than 1800 died in combat.
For more information on how widows and next of kin can apply
for a Bomber Command clasp, contact the New Zealand Defence
Force Medal Office on 0800-334-772.