Forgotten war veteran took crucial D-Day role

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
By Martha McKenzie-Minifie
War veteran Ron Meinung played a vital role in D-Day, say his friends in the Bay of Islands.

But the 95-year-old, who was part of what is considered the decisive battle of the war in Western Europe, is a humble and forgotten hero, they say.

While Mr Meinung is a well-known identity at his home in Paihia, his friend Rod Grimwood said the sprightly veteran was all but forgotten during recent commemorations of D-Day overseas.

Mr Meinung was attached to a contingent heavy with United States military because of his specialist skills in radar.

He landed at Omaha Beach in France under the cover of darkness four days ahead of the troops in 1944, said Mr Grimwood.

Mr Meinung was behind enemy lines preparing the area with beacons and radar to guide the troops to safer areas upon landing.

"When he was on shore they lived in the sand dunes and during the day they had to stay dead low because there were Germans everywhere on patrol," said Mr Grimwood.

"At night time, they would sneak out and start laying their gear."

The Battle of Normandy was the largest seaborne invasion in history and a crippling blow to the German occupation of Europe.
Mr Meinung said he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in Dunedin and was shortly posted overseas.

He said he "knew a bit about radio" and that interest grew into a command of the technology that aided the tracking of aircraft and submarines.

These days, Mr Meinung doesn't indulge his earlier passion much but enjoys a couple of pints at his local club each Friday.

Today, he'll lead the Anzac Day parade in Paihia, as he has for several years, pushed at the front of the column in a wheelchair by Mr Grimwood.

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