Bob Boyne. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

It only took former signalman and farmer Bob Boyne 73 years to join the RSA – but he got there in the end.

Boyne was born in Opaki in 1924 and from the ages of 21 and 22 served in Japan as part of New Zealand’s first J Force contingent.

After serving 13 months as a signalman Boyne came home to New Zealand and was awarded a ballot farm in Tora where for the first year of his married life he and his wife had to ford a river every time they went out.

“We had a reason for taking so long before joining the RSA,” Boyne said, “We were out on the coast and we had to ride horses 10 miles before we could get on to the road.

“We thought 5am on ANZAC morning is a bit too much. To hell with riding a horse at 3am, so I never joined.”

Boyne worked at the farm for the rest of his life – only retiring from farm life in 2016 at the sprightly age of 92.

After moving into Lansdowne Park Lifestyle Village Boyne finally decided to join up.

“Someone said ‘why don’t you join and be done with it, you’ve been mucking around too much as it is’.”

Boyne’s son Alistair who now farms the property said they’d seen an article about applying for medals and encouraged Boyne to apply for his. Two weeks ago, RSA vice-president Bob Hill took the medals to Lower Hutt to get them mounted by PJ and ML Stitt, who after hearing Boyne’s story mounted them for free.

Boyne finally received his medals and an RSA membership badge in a small ceremony on Sunday night attended by family, friends and members of Masterton’s RSA.

Masterton RSA president Trevor Thompson said it was an honour and a privilege to welcome Boyne into the RSA.

“It’s not often that we get 94-year-old guys coming to join our RSA. We can’t wait for him to come to our ANZAC days. Usually they’ve been members for 40 or 50 years – but you can never be too old to join the RSA. Bob’s one of our new treasures.”