Certificate of Service, Private Victor Manson Spencer; Unknown Maker; 2000-2005


Certificate of Service, Private Victor Manson Spencer

About this object

This is the Certificate of Service of Bluff's Private Victor Manson Spencer. In 2005, 87 years after Victor was executed for desertion by firing squad, the New Zealand Defence Force issued his Certificate of Service to his family.

In July 1916, a New Zealand raid on the German line resulted in mass casualties. The remaining men were then left in the line for an entire month without relief. When they finally were relieved, Victor was admitted to the Field Ambulance suffering from Shell Shock. A month later, he was sent back to the front. Victor almost immediately disappeared. Military Police arrested him two-weeks later and charged him with desertion resulting in a penalty of 18-months imprisonment. Only nine-months later he was back at the front. Again, Victor went missing. This time he was sentenced to death by firing squad.

In 2000, the New Zealand government issued a pardon for Victor and the four other men executed for desertion. In doing so, the government formally acknowledged that when Victor deserted he was suffering from a mental illness and should not have been shot. In 2005 Prime Minister Helen Clarke present Victor’s Certificate of Service along with his medals to his whānau, formally recognising his service and sacrifice.


Unknown Maker

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made


Medium and Materials

organic, vegetal, processed materials, wood
organic, processed material, paper/card


h 490 mm x w 510 mm x d 30 mm

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

Military - World War One

Object Type


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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