Philip Hunter was seventeen years old when he began his military service in October 1914. He joined the Royal Marine Howitzer Brigade, part of the Royal Naval Division in Dunkirk, France, before being posted afloat for the remainder of the war. At its end he was posted to serve in HMS New Zealand and visited her namesake country when she came to New Zealand as part of Lord Jellicoe's Empire Defence Mission. In 1925 he transferred to the Regulating Branch (Naval Police), serving in a variety of ships and establishments. From 1930-1937 Hunter was part of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, posted to HMS Diomede. He took his discharge in New Zealand. He was mobilised in the Second World War serving both ashore and afloat, and being promoted to Warrant Master at Arms in 1943. He left the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1945.
- 1914 Star - Sometimes referred to as the "Mons Star", the 1914 Star is awarded for service in Belgium and France between between 5 August and 22 November 1914.
- British War Medal - Recognises the successful conclusion of the First World War. Its coverage was later extended to recognise service until 1920, recognising mine clearing operations at sea, and participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian.
- Victory Medal - Was issued to all those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star, and to most persons who had already qualified for the British War Medal. It was awarded to all New Zealand troops serving overseas, except for those who arrived in Samoa after 30 August 1914 and those serving in Great Britain only. It is also sometimes referred to as the "Allied War Medal", because the same basic design and double rainbow ribbon were adopted by 13 other allied nations.
- 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).
- Pacific Star - The Pacific Star was awarded for operational service in the Pacific between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.It was also awarded for certain specified service in China and Malaya (8 December 1941 - 15 February 1942), Hong Kong (8 December 1941 - 25 December 1941) and Sumatra (8 December 1941- 23 March 1942). The Green stripes on the ribbon symbolise the jungle while the central yellow stripe symbolises the beach. The outer red stripes symbolise the Army while the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy and the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force.
- The Defence Medal - Awarded to British military and civilian personnel for a range of service in the United Kingdom, and to British, British Commonwealth and British Colonial personnel who served outside their home countries in a non-operational area or in an area subject to threat such as air attack. The centre of the ribbon is flame coloured, and the edges are green, symbols of the enemy attacks on Great Britain. Two black stripes represent the blackout in Great Britain.
- 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.
- The Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 - This silver medal was issued to celebrate the silver jubilee of King George V (1911 - 1935).
- Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal - Originally awarded for 21 years exemplary conduct, but the period was reduced to 10 years in 1874, then later increased to 15 years. In March 1981 commissioned officers became eligible after 15 years service, provided at least twelve of those were served in the ranks.