'Stand down soldier RIP'

By Sandra Conchie

Tauranga barrister Trever Leigh, who lost his battle with cancer last week, was farewelled with a powerful and moving military send-off.

Captain Trever John Leigh, 52, passed away last Monday at Waipuna Hospice, a little over a week after he and partner Susan married at his Auckland Hospital bedside.

The former traffic cop, police constable and captain with the 1st (New Zealand) Military Police, who succumbed to his lengthy battle with leukaemia on May 27, was farewelled by a large crowd, which packed the Tauranga Park funeral chapel in Pyes Pa on Saturday.

Captain Leigh began his military career in 1978 as a private in the NZ Defence Regular Forces.

After leaving to pursue a career as a traffic cop eight years later, he committed himself to the Territorial Force for the next 21 years and was promoted to captain while posted to the Military Police last year. Among the mourners was a large contingent of his Military Police colleagues who formed the honour guard, members of Tauranga's legal fraternity, judiciary, police, probation service and court staff, and other defence force personnel.

Also in attendance were Mr Leigh's widow, his children and step-children, his parents Ronald and Margaret, siblings Sharon and John, and other whanau.

His family and friends spoke about how he passionately and generously shared his many skills and wicked sense of humour with others.

Mr Leigh's former Regular Forces boss Rohan Wahrlich shared amusing anecdotes about the man he said was known for being an "evil" practical joker.

Major Mark Bateman, 1st (NZ) Military Police company commanding office, said it was fitting that Captain Leigh received a military send-off to repay him for the "incredibly unique and invaluable" contribution he had made during his long and illustrious military career.

Mr Leigh had excelled at helping others and his legacy would be felt by the Military Police for many years to come, he said.

Major Bateman said the Military Police motto was "By example we lead" and deservedly Mr Leigh's epitaph would read: "Captain Trever Leigh - By example, he led."

"Stand down soldier, great job, rest in peace. We will remember you.

"Your next posting is in heaven," he said.

As Mr Leigh's casket was carried out of the chapel, a bugler played the Last Post and a volley of shots was fired by six Military Police rifleman, followed by a passionate haka led by Aaron Morrison, president of the Hauraki chapter of the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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