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Remembrance . . . Regional naval officer for Timaru Grant Finlayson (left) speaks to the crowd while commander Matt Wray unveils a picture of the plaque of Lituetant Commander Williams Saunders which is now installed at Caroline Bay. The crowd gathered at the South Canterbury RSA due to the weather. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

By Greta Yeoman

New Zealand’s only naval officer to receive the Victoria Cross in World War 1 was honoured in Timaru last week.

Lieutenant-commander William Sanders has had his name added to the memorial for World War 1 Victoria Cross recipients at Caroline Bay.

Timaru regional naval officer Grant Finlayson said the addition of Lt-cmdr Sanders’ name was a chance to “put things right”.

“It’s been a long time coming.”

Lt-cmdr Sanders was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts in sinking a submarine that was firing at HMS First Prize, which he was commanding, in 1917.

He and his crew were then forced to save the ship from sinking, as shelling from the submarine had holed the vessel.

Mr Finlayson spoke to a group of naval staff, Sea Scouts and other residents at the South Canterbury RSA on Thursday afternoon last week, after the official unveiling at Caroline Bay had to be moved to the indoor location because of the weather.

His naval colleague, Commander Matt Wray, unveiled a picture of the memorial with Lt-cmdr Sanders’ name added for those present to see.

In memoriam . . . Lieutenant Commander Williams Saunders, a World War I Victoria Cross recipient, has had his name added to the commemorative sundial at Caroline Bay. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

Timaru Mayor Daymon Odey congratulated Mr Finlayson on pushing for Lt-cmdr Sanders’ name to be added to the memorial list.

“It’s a great initiative.”

Throughout history people had been made aware of the importance of not forgetting the past, Mr Odey said.

It had also been important to remember the brave men and women of New Zealand who “headed off into the great unknown” to fight.

“It’s been an honour on behalf of the Timaru District Council,” he said.