Petty Officer Courtney was one of a number of Royal Navy ratings, mainly stokers and engineers, recruited into the Royal New Zealand Navy on a short term basis to make up for a shortage of suitably qualified ratings to man the Lake class frigates then entering service.He had served in the Royal Navy from at least 1934, receiving service medals for operations off Palestine 1936-39, and in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the Second World War. In the Royal New Zealand Navy he served on the frigate Taupo, the cruiser Bellona, and the shore installations Philomel and Tamaki
- Naval General Service Medal 1915-1962 (Palestine 1936 - 1939 Clasp) - Instituted to recognise service in minor naval operations for which no seperate medal was intended. The clasp shows recognition of service in Palestine between 1936 and 1939.
- 1939-1945 Star - Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
- Atlantic Star (France and Germany Clasp) - Awarded to personnel who served an additional 6 months in Home (United Kingdom), Atlantic or North Russian waters after first qualifying for the 1939-45 Star. The ribbon is water silk coloured blue, white and green. These colours symbolise service in the Atlantic Ocean, and in UK and North Russian waters. Those awarded with both the Atlantic Star and the France and Germany Star were awarded the first star they qualified for, with a clasp in respect of the second star. The France and Germany clasp/star is awarded for service in France, Belgium the Netherlands, Germany or adjacent sea areas between 6 June 1944 and 8 May 1945.
- Africa Star - Awarded for service in North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The ribbon is pale buff in colour with a central vertical red stripe and narrower stripes, one dark blue and one light blue. The pale buff background symbolises the desert, the red stripe symbolises the Army, the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy, while the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force. New Zealand soldiers who were captured or killed in Greece or Crete in 1941 had qualified for this star before entering Greece. This was because they were based in Egypt on or after 10 June 1940, before being sent to Greece.
- War Medal - Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag.