RIFLE COMPANY BUTTERWORTH
For info only, this is just to let you know that the RCBRG is certainly following this up with our own Gov, Ray Fulcher has written up a very valid overview and sent it to the Minister
Subject: Rifle Company Butterworth
Further to my email of 18 October 2021.
In rejecting the RCB claim for warlike service recognition, the Department of Defence has repeatedly advised Ministers that a New Zealand review in 2013 (Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group (JWG) on service in South-East Asia 1950-2011) supported its contention that service at Butterworth was peacetime service.
Yesterday the New Zealand government released a new review (attached) which overturns the 2013 review and finds sufficient grounds to upgrade New Zealand service at Butterworth. This new finding is pertinent to RCB service and pertinent to the reasoning in the report of Mr Howard Whitton of the Ethicos Group sent to you on 18 October 2021.
You will recall that Mr Whitton said that
” On the basis of the documentation provided to this reviewer, the Commonwealth’s current position appears to have arisen from a series of failures by various decisionmakers since at least 1972 to identify significant errors of fact and misrepresentations of the nature of the RCB service deployment at issue. In particular, the 1972 recommendation by officials to the incoming government that RCB deployment in defence of Butterworth air base could be misrepresented– by the Government, for overtly political purposes – as ‘training’, remains at the heart of this matter.”
It is significant therefore that the New Zealand report’s summary states:
“Declassified material has shown that the deployment was clearly for operational reasons rather than for the stated training purposes. Intelligence assessments and operational visits identified a clear threat to the Base and the Australian Mirage fighters stationed there that required an additional layer of protection through the deployment of a rifle company initially from Singapore (shared between Australia and New Zealand) and subsequently directly from Australia. It is recommended that the 1RNZIR deployments to Butterworth Air Base between 1971 and 1973 be considered operational service.” Para 6 of Executive Summary.
The report in its entirety supports the RCB claim for an upgrade of service.
The report may be accessed here https://www.nzdf.mil.nz/assets/Uploads/DocumentLibrary/South-East-Asia-Report-2021.pdf
I look forward to discussing this matter and the Ethicos report at your earliest opportunity.
Chair, Rifle Company Butterworth Review Group