RSA leader: 'I earned my medals'

RSA leader named on 'military impostors' website denies he wears unearned 'trinkets'.

Rotorua RSA president John Treanor denies claims he wears unearned medals. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua RSA president John Treanor denies claims he wears unearned medals. Photo / Stephen Parker

A Returned and Services Association president is rubbishing claims on a website designed to expose military impostors.

The website, Australian & New Zealand Military Impostors, posts photos and articles about people it calls "wannabes" who it says have lied about military service or worn medals they have not earned.

A photo of Rotorua RSA president John Treanor was posted with a claim he "tacked on self-purchased trinkets to lift his medals count".

The website said Treanor had served in the army and been awarded six medals but he had also donned three others - the 2001 Year of the Volunteer with 2011 bar, the Army 150th Anniversary Medal and the Regular Forces Cadets Medal.

The site said they were commemorative medals which should not be worn with service medals.

"The conservative view of most veterans is that only 'posers' wear these medals and they do not add to the regard of any wearer," the site said.

Treanor said he served as a radio operator with two Australian battalions in Vietnam and was entitled to wear service medals.

"I'm certainly not an impostor. I'm certainly not a wannabe."

He said the Internal Affairs Department awarded him the volunteer medal for his voluntary Civil Defence work over 13 years.

The 150th anniversary medal was available for army personnel to buy, which he did, Treanor said.

He said he was a Regular Force cadet in 1964 and was awarded the medal for that.

"I'm not wearing anything I'm not entitled to."

RSA national president Major General Don McIver said he understood why the site was set up and its motives were "appropriate".

He said it was unfortunate the website didn't take postings down when people admitted they had exaggerated their service history.

One of the investigators who works on the site, Australian-based Bill Hobson, said people wearing medals they hadn't earned or those making false claims about service needed to "do their time".

The website has named 249 New Zealand and Australian "wannabes".

Hobson said he was not sure how many of those were New Zealanders "but there are quite a few".

He said the site's investigations were thorough and no legal action had ever been taken against it.

"An informant gives us the information and then we go about accessing true military histories," he said.

Only about 40 per cent of the people checked out ended up on the website, Hobson said.

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