'Over the moon' at Paris posting

Shaun Fogarty
Shaun Fogarty
Captain Shaun Fogarty is bidding adieu to New Zealand.

For the next three years the former Dunedin navy man will be based in Paris. Capt Fogarty (46) is serving in a military attache role at the New Zealand Embassy in France, helping to facilitate New Zealand's military commemorations for World War 1 in Europe and Turkey.

''I'm over the moon. It's the posting of a lifetime, particularly to be involved in the commemorations,'' he said.

''It's absolutely immense. I had a couple of great uncles killed in the First World War and so, as many New Zealanders do, I have connections.''

He was ''honoured'' to be chosen for the role and his wife, Felicity, and three daughters were also making the move to France.

Capt Fogarty joined the Royal New Zealand Navy when he was 19 and since then has served as chief of staff for the Defence Logistics Command and has been posted to the former Yugoslavia, the Persian Gulf and East Timor.

The three-year posting would be the longest he had served.

He would leave for Paris in about three weeks and his family would join him in two months, he said.

Paris was a ''wee bit different from Timor'' and the conflict zones he had served in, but he thought his family could make the adjustment to Parisian life.

''I have been doing an immersion course and I have a basic background in French.''

His family had also been learning French and were ''excited'' about the experience, he said.

Although the posting was a great opportunity, he was mindful of the reason he was going.

''The focus next year will be on Gallipoli and then ... the Western Front in Europe,'' he said.

''In France, New Zealand has nearly 8000 [soldiers] buried there. It's the country where the most New Zealanders are buried outside of New Zealand.''

An event he was particularly looking forward to was the New Zealand Defence Force rugby team's tour of the UK.

The Defence Force would play defence teams from the UK and France about the same time as next year's Rugby World Cup, he said.

The posting was scheduled to end in 2017, although it could be extended.

-timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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