Sat August 11, 2012 4:07pm
HUNDREDS of people have gathered in Christchurch for a military service for two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, both aged 26, were shot by insurgents in Bamyan province where they were serving with New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Their bodies were returned home on Thursday.
At the service at Burnham Military Camp on Saturday, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, former Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, paid tribute to the two men and expressed his grief for the Malone and Durrer families on behalf of all New Zealanders.
Soldiers perform a haka at the Military Commemorative Service for LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone at Burnam Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: Martin Hunter
"As a former soldier, I stand before you with an inkling of the anguish and grief that comes from losing mates-in-arms and how profoundly it affects the family, friends and colleagues of those whom we mourn today," he said.
"Having a loved one deployed overseas, to a war-torn country where safety can never be guaranteed, is a situation few find themselves in. I understand the worry and the unease that comes with that.
"However, to have your greatest fear realised is something that even fewer are confronted with," he said.
Soldiers carrying coffins upon the return to New Zealand of the bodies of Lance Corporals Pralli Drurrer and Rory Malone during a ramp ceremony at RNZAF Christchurch Airport. Picture: NZ Defence
Sir Jerry also quoted one of the last letters of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, the commanding officer of the Wellington Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who was killed at Gallipoli and who is the great, great grandfather of Lance Corporal Malone.
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