Rowland Brothers Exhumation Services Ltd have been working with the Royal New Zealand Navy & the New Zealand High Commission in London for over a year, arranging & conducting the exhumation & repatriation of Philip Short & assisting with the exhumation & repatriation of Leading Marine Engineer Goodman.

The Maori name for this project is Te Auraki (The return). They are working to bring home personnel buried overseas between 1955 and 197. They weren’t bought home at the time due to families being unable to pay for the repatriation costs. However, a change in law has led to the project working repatriate them.

Philip Short was an engine room artificer apprentice and he dies in a vehicle accident when he was only 20, in 1958. He laid in St.Mary Cray for 60 years, three times that of his short life. Rowland Brothers have been honoured to help with the exhumation and aid in returning to his home country. His casket will receive a traditional Maori welcome as it is handed back to his family.

Rowland Brothers also assisted with the exhumation of Leading Engineering Mechanic William Goodwin. He was only 25 when he died of a head injury sustained from playing rugby in 1956. He was buried in England as he was posted here with HMNZS Bellona.

Pictures from the Exhumation of Philip Short

Maori Elders led a blessing prior to exhumation beginning. As part of this blessing, they asked all those interred in the cemetery for permission to take one of their own.

The team carried out the identification of the remains included two Anthropologists’, an Archaeologist, an Odontologist, a Pathologist and team members from the Victim Identification Team of New Zealand.

St.Mary Cray Police paid tribute to Artificer Short, and helped ensure all went smoothly on the day.

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