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John Grant Sandford

Members of Victor 3 Company pose for a photograph aboard an Iroquois helicopter at Kangaroo Pad or Eagle Farm helipad at Nui Dat, circa 1969. Photographed by Vietnam photographer Noel Bell. Image kindly provided by, Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Image may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Members of Victor 3 Company pose for a photograph aboard an Iroquois helicopter at Kangaroo Pad or E …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Grant AWMM
  • Surname
    Sandford AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    J. G. Sandford AWMM
  • Service number
    • Malaya 775188 AWMM
    • Vietnam 775188 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    15 December 1937 AWMM BlenheimMarlborough AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status
    1963 AWMM Married/Malaya AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
      NZ Gazette Number 62 dated 16 October 1969 CITATION Throughout his year of service in South Vietnam (dates) as a Platoon Sergeant in Victor Three Company, Sergeant Sandford displayed exemplary conduct, devotion to duty and professional ability. His loyalty, forceful leadership and aggressive demeanour were a fine example to his platoon. On 3rd October, 19681 Sergeant Sandford while commanding 1 Platoon found three well concealed caches. Lacking Engineer assistance, he personally undertook the dangerous investigation of the caches and their surrounds for mines and booby traps. His prompt and resourceful action resulted in the capture of 31,000 pounds of rice. In November 19682 Sergeant Sandford again commanded the 1 Platoon on operations. On the 10th November his platoon engaged an enemy force moving cautiously through the jungle. His excellent siting and control enabled the platoon to engage an alert enemy party at close range. The enemy survivors of the initial engagement took cover and returned fire. After a fierce firelight the enemy soldiers fled leaving one of their members firing from an almost inaccessible position. After placing a machine gun to give covering fire, Sergeant Sandford ran forward under fire to a position from where he could throw a grenade and, at great risk to himself, killed the remaining enemy soldier. On 9th April 19693 Sergeant Sandford was again in command of 1 Platoon when it engaged a strong enemy party. He moved forward to the section most closely engaged and as he arrived in this section’s area the enemy threw a grenade, which landed close to several members of the section. Unhesitatingly Sergeant Sandford leapt forward, picked up the grenade and threw it back at the enemy. This unselfish act was successful. The grenade exploded to the front of the section and Sergeant Sandford and two other soldiers were only lightly wounded. At the conclusion of his action he elected to remain on duty commanding the platoon in spite of his wound. Throughout his service in South Vietnam Sergeant Sandford distinguished himself as a skilled and courageous soldier, whose personal gallantry was an inspiration to the men under his command. 1 Nil casualties 2 Nil casualties 3 9/4/69 LCpl Bush RA, WIA; Sgt Sandford JG, WIA; Pte Rimington GR, WIA. 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

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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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Wounded in action, 9 May 1969 – shrapnel wounds to left side in ambush. Read citation for DCM\ gazetted 16 Oct 1969. AWMM


About death

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  • Death
    14 April 2021 Manawatu Standard 17/4/21
    Age 83 AWMM
    Palmerston NorthManawatu-Wanganui Manawatu Standard 17/4/21
  • Date of death
    14 April 2021 Public - Allan - Friend - 15 April 2021 - As advised by his wife Glenda
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Death Notice: The Press, 19 April 2021 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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  • Medals Issues; Distinguished Conduct Medal, E.II.R., 2nd issue (775188 Sgt. J. G. Sandford, R.N.Z. Inf. Regt.); New Zealand Operational Service Medal, unnamed as issued; New Zealand General Service Medal, 2 clasps, Malaya 1960-64, Vietnam (775188 Cpl. J G Sandford RNZIR); Vietnam 1964-73 (775188 Sgt. J. G. Sandford, RNZIR); Army L.S. & G.C., E.II.R., 2nd issue, New Zealand (775188 WO1 J G Sandford RNZIR); New Zealand Defence Service Medal, 2 clasps, C.M.T. [Compulsory Military Training], Regular (775188 T/Cpl J G Sandford NZ Inf); Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal, unnamed as issued; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, 1 clasp, 1960- (775188 J G Sandford) - (No GSM 1962 "Borneo"-!!!) Lest we Forget -




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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
    • H.E. Chamberlain, Nominal Roll – 1 RNZIR, 8 May 1964, in Gurr, Robert. (2009). Voices from a border war: Borneo 1963-1965. 2nd Edition. Christchurch, N.Z.: Wilson Scott Publishing, pp.139-150 AWMM
    • Gurr, Robert. (2009). Voices from a border war: Borneo 1963-1965. 2nd Edition. Christchurch, N.Z.: Wilson Scott Publishing AWMM
    • 1NZR Roll 1961-1963 - Bill Russell, Malayan Veterans Association Scrapbook – 40th Anniversary edition. AWMM
    • This record was partially created from Cemetery research completed by Carol Foster (2021). AWMM
    • Organisation - New Zealand Army Force - FARELF [Far East Land Forces] - Organisation and formation - [Malaya] [Malaya 1960-1964 1NZIR Repatriation Lists]. Archives New Zealand Wellington, AAYS 8638 AD1/1120 (R22435552) AWMM
      List is intended to post personnel of 1NZ Regt on their retrun to NZ with a range of factors in mind. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
24 August 2022AllanFeildingFriend

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