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John Airth Nelson Mace

Preliminary record

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Photograph of Lieutenant John Airth Mace, New Zealand Special Air Service, in Malaya, c.1957. Photographer unknown. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, M-1939A-F. Image is subject to copyright restrictions.

Photograph of Lieutenant John Airth Mace, New Zealand Special Air Service, in Malaya, c.1957. Photog …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Airth Nelson AWMM
  • Surname
    Mace AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    J. A. Mace AWMM
  • Service number
    Vietnam 34192 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    29 June 1932 Public source AshburtonCanterbury Public source
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) AWMM
    • Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
    • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) AWMM
      NZ Gazette Number 65 dated 17 October 1968 CITATION Major John Mace graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon on 13th December, 1953, and was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. In 1966 Major Mace was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in Malaysia, and in May 1967, after service in Borneo, he was selected to command Victor One Company; the first New Zealand infantry sub-unit to serve in the Republic of South Vietnam. Major Mace and his company arrived in theatre on 31st May, 1967 and came under the operational control of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment until Victor One Company was relieved on 12th November 1967. During his tour of duty Major Mace displayed outstanding leadership and administrative ability, and at all times, operated his company with a notable degree of professionalism. His well planned and executed company operations resulted in many enemy casualties. On one occasion during Operation Cairns, on 29th May, 1967, in the area known as the Long Green, Major Mace, while co-ordinating platoon ambushes and conducting a personal reconnaissance of the area, surprised two enemy, and by his prompt action, killed one and wounded the other. By his personal example, attention to detail and leadership, Major Mace has maintained his company at a high professional standard which brought great credit to the New Zealand Army and earned the admiration of the Australian officers and men with whom he came into contact. His competence and resourcefulness, his professional ability and selflessness are in the highest traditions of the ANZAC spirit. AWMM
    • General Service Medal 1962 (Borneo clasp) AWMM
    • New Zealand Operational Service Medal AWMM
    • Vietnam Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Chief of Defence Staff 1987 to 1991.

    Read citation for MBE.

    Photo of Maj J.A. Mace in The Officers, 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (Terendak Camp, Malaya 1966-67) AWMM


About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of John Airth Nelson Mace

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  • External links
  • References
    • Subritsky, M. (Ed). (1995). The Vietnam scrapbook: The second ANZAC adventure. Papakura, N.Z.: Three Feathers Publishing Co. AWMM
    • Hall, C. (2014). No front line : inside stories of New Zealand's Vietnam War. Auckland, New Zealand : Penguin Books. AWMM
    • This record was created from data kindly provided by the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. AWMM
    • Fry, P., & New Zealand. Army. Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. Battalion, 1st. (1983). The First Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment : Journal / [P.J. Fry, editor] (25th anniversary commemorative ed.). Singapore: The Regiment. AWMM
    • Rennie, F. (1986) Regular Soldier. Auckland, N.Z.: Endeavour Press. AWMM
    • Special Air Service (SAS) Squadron - Malaya - Nominal roll (persons returns from overseas) [1957], Archives New Zealand, CAJN 41/3/6 [R21234079] AWMM
    • Medals and Stars - General Service Medals Borneo - Archives New Zealand, Wellington (R12456000) AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
23 September 2021TonyPoriruaComrade

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