WW1 hero honoured in latest NZ Post stamps

4 April 2018

New Zealand Post is telling the story of Otago’s Arthur Gordon, a heroic soldier who lost both his legs in battle and went on to become an advocate for disabled servicemen, in its latest series of stamps commemorating the First World War (1914-1918).

1918 Back from the Brink is the fifth and final instalment of a five-year stamp and coin programme. The ten commemorative stamps released today tell the story of the final year of this bloody battle, the toll it took on the servicemen and how they adapted on their return home.

New Zealand Post Head of Stamps and Collectables Simon Allison said the stamps are a unique way to remember 1918, and a poignant reminder of New Zealand’s contribution to a significant war on the other side of the world.

“The central figure in this year's issue is Arthur Gordon from Tapanui, West Otago. Arthur was a heroic solider who lost both of his legs while running a message back to headquarters. Struck by a shell, his legs were beyond saving and amputated.

“On Arthur's return home he learnt to live as normal life as possible with his new prosthetic limbs. Despite his disability, Arthur never let his circumstances get him down. He became a passionate advocate for disabled soldiers and a lobbyist to the Government, seeking improvements in everything from the quality of artificial limbs to the rules for war pensions.”

Other themes for the ten stamps include the Hundred Days Offensive, Flu Pandemic, Armistice, Le Quesnoy, Demobilisation, Resettlement, Great Air War, Return of the Pioneer Battalion, and Rehabilitation.

New Zealand Post is also issuing two commemorative coins - a 1/4oz gold proof coin which depicts loved ones embracing and shedding tears of joy and relief at the soliders’ safe return home; and a 1oz silver proof coin depicting New Zealand soldiers scaling a ladder set against the ancient walls of Le Quesnoy, where they took the remaining Germans as prisoners.

The stamps and coins are available for purchase from today (4 April 2018) at all New Zealand Post Shops and at stamps.nzpost.co.nz/ww1/world-war-one-back-from-brink.