It’s not just Cunliffe that makes things up

David Cunliffe made up the war record of one of his relatives, he explained it away by saying he was confused with the war record of his relative’s brother.

Now Michael Woodhouse has done a similar thing, though not awarding medals that were never won, but instead claiming heritage to a dead Gallipoli soldier.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse has upset an Otago family by wrongly claiming Trooper Frank Woodhouse, who died in Gallipoli aged just 20, was his great uncle.

Woodhouse told a reporter while he was in Turkey for the 99th anniversary of the Anzac landings last month that he had seen the name on a memorial there and after checking online found it was his great uncle.

But a spokesman for the aggrieved family, Gareth Woodhouse, said the man was his great uncle, not the minister’s. The family had his medals, a letter from the King about his service, and the original of a picture now on the Auckland Cenotaph website.

He had sent a “long, pointed” email to Michael Woodhouse about his claim and he had come back with a “semi-apology”.

Gareth Woodhouse said he had not done an exact genealogy, but Frank was the brother of his grandfather Cecil, who just before he died had told him about Frank. ?

He said Woodhouse was a minister of the Crown and Veterans’ affairs minister. “The family feels Michael Woodhouse should have done more research before making claims to the media about Frank Woodhouse.”

Michael Woodhouse yesterday said he had not intended his comments to the reporter to be on the record and he now accepted the man was not his great uncle. He had expressed his regret to the family if he had caused any upset.

“I certainly didn’t intend to offend them,” he said.

“I accept that the comment about the nature of any familial relationship was premature. It wasn’t a comment to claim some kind of great lineage to him.”

He still believed he had a family connection to the soldier and there were several families of Woodhouses in the region. “I’m quite sure there is shared DNA there.”

“Laterally” the soldier may be a first or second cousin three or four times removed.

 

Cunliffe’s gaffe was bad enough, but Michael Woodhouse is the Veteran’s Affairs minister…perhaps he should ask for that job to be reassigned.

It is disgraceful that politicians would use veterans and service of others to try to cover themselves in glory. It was despicable of Cunliffe and it is despicable of Michael Woodhouse.

 

– Stuff

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