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Captain Richard John Healey MBE mid
5 June 1987

Many old Gunners will have learned that Dick Healey died peacefully on 5 June 1987; he was 87. He had been a resident at the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Dunedin over the last six months of his life.

Dick had a long and distinguished career in the RNZA spanning a period of 37½ years. He joined the Regiment in Wellington in 1917, was appointed a Driver in the Field Artillery Section, and carried out his early training at the Alexandra Barracks, Buckle Street. Among the instructors at the time was the famous Lieutenant 'Blazer' Wilson, formerly RA, who was the Riding Master, and whom Dick told me instilled the principles of military riding and driving in a very forceful manner. Dick became one of that special group of horsemen that carried on the tradition of military equitation to both Regulars and Territorials.

After serving in Wellington he was posted in 1923 to the RNZA Cadre at Invercargill where he remained for eight years. His next move was to Dunedin where he spent most of his service.

On the outbreak of World War 2 he served in many appointments within New Zealand as our Army expanded.

In 1942 he embarked for overseas service and joined 5 Field Regiment early in 1943 as RSM. During the Italian campaign he was commissioned in the field, and posted to HQRA. Later he became Intelligence Officer 5 Field Regiment, and served in that capacity until the war ended. In recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Italy he was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 24 Aug 1944).

On his return to New Zealand in 1945 he was posted to Dunedin in the appointment of Officer in charge Central Battery and Area Quartermaster until his retirement in 1954. He was awarded an MBE in 1949. On retirement he returned to civilian life for the first time since 1917, and worked for the Bank of New Zealand as a Security Officer. His other interests ere the Otago Gunners Association and the Returned Services Association.

Dick became a member of our Association before World War 2, and served as a Vice-President and Otago/Southland Representative for many years. He was a Life Member of our Association.

In his later years the annual highlight for him was our reunion at Taupo; he attended every reunion from 1972 to 1985 until declining health made it impossible for him to be with us.

Outside his Army interests he was a duck-shooter of some renown, and also enjoyed salmon fishing. The local A&P Society honoured him some years ago with Life Membership. He was particularly interested in light harness events, having his last drive from the 'box' seat at the age of 80 I understand.

Dick's wife Doris predeceased him many years ago. However, he continued to live in the family home at St Kilda until his hospitalisation earlier this year.

To his son and daughter Beverly we extend our sympathy at the loss of a father.

JG Gilberd
Issue 55
September 1987

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