15 Apr 2015

New home for Dambusters medals

5:53 pm on 15 April 2015

The only surviving pilot from the famed World War II Dambusters raid has presented his medals and logbooks to Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

PM John Key, World War II veteran Les Munro and MOTAT chief executive Michael Frawley with Mr Munro's medals.

Prime Minister John Key, World War II veteran Les Munro and MOTAT chief executive Michael Frawley Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton

New Zealander Les Munro had put his medals up for auction to help pay for the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial in London.

But British philanthropist Lord Ashcroft stopped the sale - and the possibility of the medals leaving New Zealand - by offering to donate about $150,000 for the memorial's upkeep if Mr Munro gifted his medals to MOTAT.

The handover ceremony took place this morning in front of the museum's Avro Lancaster Bomber, one of the few remaining examples of the planes used in the raid.

The museum's chief executive, Michael Frawley, said he was honoured to accept the items into the museum's collection.

He said MOTAT planned to develop an exhibition highlighting the actions of Mr Munro and the other New Zealand members of Bomber Command during the war.

The medals and logbooks presented to MOTAT.

A close-up of the medals presented to MOTAT Photo: RNZ / Tiana Barns

DNW - Les Munro in Lancaster W - William cockpit.

Les Munro in the cockpit of Lancaster W (William) Photo: SUPPLIED

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