Murray Kenneth Hudson GC (Direct Recipient)

b. 24/02/1938 Opotiki, New Zealand. d. 13/02/1974 Waiouru, New Zealand.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 13/02/1974 Waiouru, New Zealand.

Murray “Kina” or “Huddy” Kenneth Hudson (1938-1974), known as Ken, was born on 24th February 1938 in Opotiki, New Zealand, the son of Tua and Piki Hudson. He was educated at Opotiki College before deciding to enlist in the New Zealand Army on 24th May 1961, aged 23. From then until 1963, he served in Malaya with the 1st Battalion, The New Zealand Regiment. In 1964, on arriving back home, he was promoted to Lance Corporal taking a number of courses including those of the SAS. After further training in parachuting and demolition, he was posted to Borneo as Operations Group Commander with the No 3 Detachment of 1 Ranger Squadron.

Murray K Hudson GC

On his return to New Zealand, he was promoted to Temporary Sergeant in 1967 in Waiouru, which was later confirmed as a permanent promotion three years later. On 28th February 1969 he married Shona Martin and they had two children Cory and Luana. Tragically, she lost a third child she was expecting following Ken’s death.

Followiing his promotion, he was posted to Singapore and Vietnam until 1971. He then became Regimental Duties Sergeant of D Company of the 7th Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. On 13th February 1974 at Waiouru, Ken was supervising a live grenade practice when another NCO, Sergeant Graham Fergusson, accidently (and perhaps unknowingly) armed the grenade he was about to throw. Hudson ordered the man to throw the grenade immediately but there was no reaction. He then grasped Fergusson’s throwing hand in both his hands and attempted to throw the grenade over the parapet of the throwing bay. He was within seconds of success when the grenade exploded, killing them both.

On 11th October 1974, the London Gazette published the announcement of a posthumous George Cross for Ken Hudson. In 1975, Corporal Maxwell Lyver was awarded the British Empire Medal for going to Hudson’s assistance after the explosion. Shona Hudson received her husband’s George Cross on 11th December 1974. It is to date, the only George Cross awarded to a Maori, the first given for an incident in New Zealand. Ken was buried in Opotiki Cemetery with military honours. His medals including the GC were placed at the Waiouru Army Museum by Shona Hudson, though they were briefly stolen in 2007 along with nine Victoria Crosses. Fortunately, they were all later recovered.