Spencer Morrison presents medals and an official pardon
belonging to his second cousin, Private Victor Spencer, to
Bluff Maritime Museum Trust chairwoman Jan Mitchell. Photo
by Janette Gellatly.
The life of a World War 1 Bluff soldier executed in 1918
for desertion and posthumously pardoned will be remembered at
the Bluff Maritime Museum.
Family members have given Private Victor Spencer's mounted
medals and the copy of his official pardon to the museum's
Pte Spencer, a volunteer who joined the Otago Regiment of the
New Zealand Division, was the last of five New Zealand
soldiers executed for desertion between 1916 and 1918 and the
He had served at Gallipoli and the Somme but on February 24,
1918, was shot by firing squad in Belgium, aged only 20.
However, it was later acknowledged he was severely
traumatised by shell-shock and he was pardoned posthumously
His second cousin Spencer Morrison, of Invercargill,
presented Pte Spencer's mounted medals and a copy of his
official pardon papers to the museum on behalf of himself and
his cousin Fred Ryan.
"It's very important history to Bluff," Mr Morrison said.
The world followed the New Zealand pardon of soldiers shot at
dawn, he said.
It was a very humbling experience to receive something that
meant so much to the Spencer family and to give it a
permanent home in Bluff, Museum Trust chairwoman Jan Mitchell
- Janette Gellatly