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Posted on the: 5th October, 2017

WW1 veteran’s medal returned to Levin

Enliven’s Levin Home for War Veterans will honour former resident John Dalrymple by displaying his Victory medal in the home’s Veteran’s Lounge for visitors to admire.

John, a Rifleman Private in the Canterbury Regiment during World War I and a drover, lived at Levin Home for War Veterans for around four years before he died in 1961.

Australian Margaret Harris discovered his medal among her late aunt’s possessions and contacted the home after learning John had never married and had no descendants.

Manager Jenny Hodgen says the home was delighted to be able to offer the medal a permanent home.

“We’re really passionate about Levin Home for War Veteran’s proud reputation for caring for returned servicemen and servicewomen. These men and women have made such vital and important contributions to New Zealand and it’s wonderful to be able to help highlight that.

“As one of our former residents, John is part of the Levin Home family and we’re so pleased to be able to care for his medal and his memory,” she says.

Jenny notes that the home remains actively engaged with the service community, enjoying contact with Linton Military Camp, the Horowhenua College Services Academy and the TS Tutira Sea Cadets.

The home’s ANZAC Day celebrations are also well-attended by the local community.

“It’s the most important day in our calendar,” says Jenny.

Levin Home administrator Vicky Prouting, who met with Margaret while holidaying in Australia to escort the medal to Levin, says she’s pleased to see the home’s past residents continuing to be honoured.

“It’s been a privilege getting to know John through his war medal. He led such an active life!

“I’m proud to have played a small part in his history bringing the medal back to Levin.”

John’s military service took him half way across the world to Egypt, France and England. As a member of the C Company of the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, he would have taken part in the Battle of Passchendaele in which his Battalion suffered 400 casualties, including 126 men who were killed in action.

The Victory medal now housed at Levin Home for War Veterans recognises John’s service during the First World War.

A brief stint in the Wellington “Guard Company” during the Second World War also entitled John to the 1939-45 War Medal and the New Zealand War Service Medal.

“Where those medals are though is a mystery,” says home manager Jenny Hodgen.

“If anyone knows, please get in touch, we’d love to hear more about John’s amazing story!”

Enliven is the positive ageing services arm of Presbyterian Support Central, offering independent retirement living, rest home, hospital and dementia care, short-term respite and health recovery care and day programmes.