28 (Maori) Battalion
CHAPTER 2 — England
Gourock is a small town built on a point where the Holy Loch joins the Firth of Clyde. It has had its moments of fame for kings have sailed from there, and some time between Tasman's discovery and Cook's exploration of the New Zealand coast the citizens of Gourock discovered that herrings could be cured by smoking, there by introducing the red herring to English breakfast tables. There were Scottish names on the Maori Battalion's nominal roll, for Scotland had done its part in the colonisation of New Zealand, and for these men the Hills of Cowal in the distance were of a surpassing loveliness. To the rest of the battalion they were just hills, but, after six weeks at seak, likewise surpassingly lovely.
The afternoon passed in looking around, first from one side of the ship and then from the other, and in listening to welcoming addresses relayed over the loudspeaker system. Brigadier Falla,1 representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand, and Brigadier Miles,2 speaking for General Freyberg, welcomed the troops to Great Britain. The GOC Scottish Command delivered a message from His Majesty King George VI:
To the officers commanding the Australian and New Zealand contingents—A few months ago we sent a few words of welcome to the First Echelons of the 2nd Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Force when they disembarked in the Middle East. It has fallen to your lot to take your place beside us. You will find us in the forefront of the battle. To all I give a warm welcome, knowing the stern purpose that brings you from your distant homes. I send best wishes and look forward to seeing you soon.
George R.I.page 19
The Maori Battalion was to disembark in the morning and there was much to do—packing up, parading for pay, receiving and stowing rations in case the train was bombed or delayed, seeking and saying goodbye to members of the crew, and trying to reconcile the army day ending officially at 9 p.m. with the fact that it was still light enough to write a letter two hours after lights out.
After breakfast the troops were ferried to the quay where reporters, newsreel cameramen, and the BBC recording unit were all busy in their different ways. Some personal messages and the battalion's rendering of ‘Maori Battalion’ were recorded. These items, when released, were the first direct news of the battalion's whereabouts and, for that matter, of the Second Echelon's.
Shortly before midday the troops had entrained and were on the way to the Aldershot command area in the South of England. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Reading—there were some who wished that they had paid more attention to their history and geography lessons at school. While daylight lasted the Maoris from lake and riverside pa, the bush clearings and the steep back-country of New Zealand, feasted their eyes on fields and meadows that looked like parks, on trim country cottages where people waved to the arms and shoulders in the carriage windows, and on built-up areas where houses stood for miles, it seemed, side by side. After twenty hours in the train and a five-mile march to Camp 49B, Ewshott, the Maori Battalion, a little stiff and very hungry, found that an RAMC detachment detailed for the purpose had partially prepared the camp and had breakfast ready and waiting—a portion of porridge and a slice of bacon on fried bread; the troops looked hopefully around for the main course but looked in vain.
The RAMC detachment stayed with the unit for a fortnight and was most helpful to the battalion cooks struggling with what were, to them, hopelessly inadequate rations. The feeding of the biblical multitude with a few loaves and fishes was, the cooks considered, child's play compared with satisfying a horde of hungry Maoris with rations as provided by the British Army. The hard-eating Polynesians got used to the English ration scale in time, but in the interim the NAAFI3 canteens had a lot of steady customers for pies and cakes.
The original intention had been to locate the Second Echelon where it could proceed with collective training, but with the page 20 collapse of resistance in France an attempted invasion of England had to be contemplated, possibly in the immediate future. One of the counter-measures was to deploy the New Zealanders in general headquarters reserve.
General Freyberg cabled the New Zealand Government that the military advisers in England were sure that the German High Command would make the attempt, but for his part he felt that the Germans would not risk such a hazardous operation which, in his opinion, was doomed to failure. He reported that there was a desperate shortage of equipment, and for some time the troops would be short of many weapons, but he felt that the New Zealand troops must be prepared to accept battle on uneven terms in the defence of Great Britain.
Steps were accordingly taken to organise the Second Echelon as a small division and this came into effect on 29 June. It comprised:
A covering force, consisting of a squadron of Divisional Cavalry, a machine-gun company, artillery and anti-tank units armed and employed as infantry, commanded by Brigadier Miles.
5 Infantry Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Hargest.
A mixed brigade composed of 28 (Maori) Battalion and a composite battalion formed from the reinforcements attached to the 5 Brigade battalions, commanded by Brigadier Barrowclough.4
The division was commanded by General Freyberg, and in his absence by Brigadier Miles. Brigadier Barrowclough, with his 6 Brigade Headquarters staff, was in England through the accident of having travelled with the Second Echelon.
There was four days' leave to London before the troops settled down to training. The Maoris spent a lot of time on the underground railway system, partly for the novelty of it and partly because they could get around better that way without losing themselves. The general opinion was that London was huge, old, a little dingy and very expensive. If they were overwhelmed by the size of the buildings and the crowds in the page 21 streets they refused to acknowledge it, for when the men in the first party returned to camp and were asked what London was like they answered offhandedly, ‘Just like Wellington, only bigger.’
Anti-gas training and route-marching, the latter to harden the men's feet, had a prominent place in the syllabus. In any case there was practically no equipment to train with for the British Army had returned from France with rifles and very little else, and its rearmament was the first consideration. Factories were working the clock round and convoys were zigzagging across the Atlantic with vital military stores from America, but these had not yet arrived in any quantity. So, while 2 NZEF (UK) was being organised into a force capable of being handled tactically, the Maoris saw something of the heather and pine woods of Hampshire. The officers also had some good training in map-reading as all the road signs had been removed and the population warned against giving directions or distances no matter who the inquirer might be.
Fields and meadows were being strewn with old cars, carts, and any other thing on hand that would make it difficult for planes to land; road junctions were being mined and barbedwire barricades handily placed for immediate use. England was preparing for invasion.
Roads and lanes for miles around Ewshott echoed to the marching songs of the ‘Moo-rees’, which was as near as the local population could get to pronouncing the three vowels in the word ‘Maori’. On the other hand, the Maoris had some difficulty with the varying county accents spoken by the other troops they met. Lieutenant H. Ngata5 wrote: ‘We have found that the English can't speak English—in fact everywhere we went we heard comment about the beautiful English the “Moo-ree” boys speak. We've heard all sorts of dialects since we've been here, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cockney and Scottish, and I am convinced that our chaps can speak their language better than they can themselves.’
The Maoris, in common with the rest of the Second Echelon, had got used to, but were not happy with, their ill-matched serge uniforms and were consequently very pleased indeed when the easy-fitting battle dress was issued to them in the first week of July. The subsequent issue of the worsted ‘New Zealand’ shoulder flashes removed the anonymity caused by the fact that page 22 the characteristic peaked hat was not worn with battle dress. The puzzled glances to which the Maoris were getting accustomed were replaced by a quick glance at the defining flashes and a friendly nod to the wearer.
The first week of July was also a week of official calls. Viscount Bledisloe, who had been deservedly popular with the Maori people during his term as Governor-General of New Zealand, paid the battalion a visit. On 6 July His Majesty King George VI inspected the New Zealanders. The King, undeterred by intermittent rain, carried out a thorough inspection of the Maori troops, who were doing arms and close-order drill. He paused for a while to listen to a sergeant detailing the movements necessary to bring a rifle from the ground to the shoulder and heard the overawed instructor's final plea—‘And for Goodness’ sake don't drop your rifle.’ The order was executed smartly, no rifle was dropped, and His Majesty moved smilingly onward. He later made special mention of the battalion in an Order of the Day issued by General Freyberg:
His Majesty the King at the conclusion of his five hour inspection of the units of the NZEF has asked me to issue an Order saying how he enjoyed being among New Zealanders again and what a good impression he formed of the training. His Majesty during his visit showed the greatest interest in all he saw. He was especially pleased with the smartness of the close order and arms drill of the Maori Battalion and was impressed by the fine physique, keenness and determined demeanour of men in all units. His Majesty wishes you good luck wherever you may serve and hopes you are enjoying your visit to the Old Country. God Save the King.
The battalion packed up on 9 July and moved to the Mixed Brigade camp about five miles away and close by the hamlet of Dogmersfield. It had made its first close touch with English history, but as Dogmersfield did not have a public relations officer the troops were not told that the big house in the park was that in which, about two hundred years after the ancestors of the Maori Battalion had come to New Zealand, Henry VII and his son, Prince Arthur, met the young Catherine, Princess of Aragon, who eventually became the first wife of the much-married Henry VIII. Nor were they told that the equally small village of Odiham a mile distant was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and was a small village centuries before the Great Migration brought the Maoris from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. Two page 23 days were spent pitching tents under trees, digging slit trenches, and in being carried in relays to Bisley rifle range where the full weapon course was fired. Thereafter training went on day and night, seven days a week, and as equipment trickled in so the scope of the syllabus was extended.
The second recorded radio broadcast was made by the battalion about this time and took the form of a full thirty minutes' programme of hakas, action songs, and short messages to the tribes. The German monitoring system probably had some trouble with the translation of this broadcast for Maori is not spoken much in Europe, but the difficulty was removed a little later when a member of the battalion figured in a BBC feature ‘Why I joined up’.
On this occasion the German radio was heavily sarcastic, and in the best propaganda tradition commented on a sentence taken out of its context:
The BBC boasts of Maoris. To boost the morale of the public, the London radio has now brought a native of New Zealand, a Maori, to the microphone. This descendant of former cannibals and headhunters made a well paid statement on this occasion that all Maoris who are in the British Army had volunteered. In the same breath, however, he said that when Maoris were commanded they had of course to obey. He has thus contradicted his own balderdash. The English should in our opinion congratulate themselves on having found in these savages from New Zealand suitable allies against Nazi barbarians. The English radio seems to consider news of allegedly volunteer Maoris as very promising. It has no greater consolation for its listeners than this.
Invasion was in the air and mobility was essential in the event of a German landing in England. Exercises involving quick moves by MT were carried out in preparation for a tactical deployment that envisaged an enemy landing near Seaford and an attempt to capture Newhaven. The Mixed Brigade moved by bus from Dogmersfield, passed through Guildford to Wych Cross, and took up a defensive position wherein section posts were dug and weapons sited for all-round defence. Heavy rain during the night added reality to the operation. The next day was spent in improving positions, and the following day the Maoris took over from 23 Battalion and prepared another defensive position against attack from the south. The final day of the exercise was occupied in an MT move and the page 24 establishment of strongpoints from which parties could be sent to deal with enemy troops landed by plane or parachute. The return to Dogmersfield was made partly by bus and partly by route march.
After this exercise there was much to-do about the alleged disappearance from the manœuvre area of a full-grown pig and the battalion received a bill for £12 from New Zealand Force Headquarters. It was inferred that the Maoris had given it burial in the time-honoured manner, and the money was to compensate the farmer for his loss. Colonel Dittmer had to make two trips to Force Headquarters and produce an unsuspected flow of oratory before he could convince the officer responsible that his battalion would never dream of kidnapping a strange pig. Were there no other troops in the vicinity with a liking for pork? The account was withdrawn and the Colonel's mana, already high, rose even higher with his troops. It was a very nice pig.
Routine training was interrupted by another tactical exercise at the end of July, but this time the Mixed Brigade changed sides and became the enemy who had effected a landing on the south coast and had advanced as far as Ashdown Forest, where they were being contained. D Company (Major Dyer) and a detachment from the Composite Battalion formed a forward screen while the rest of the battalion dug weapon pits and camouflaged them with nets. Some of the air of reality was lost when an irate farmer refused to permit C Company (Captain Scott)6 to dig in on his already ‘battle-scarred’ farm. Again the return to Dogmersfield was made partly on foot and partly by transport.
August opened with a six-day route march and tactical operations. The daily routine was the same—first a march of approximately 16 miles, then a lift by MT to the bivouac area—a village green or a private park. The names have music in them—Arundel Park, overlooking the English Channel; through Storrington to Partridge Green; from Partridge Green to Sheffield Park; through Freshfields and Cowfold to Grimstead Park; through Coolham and Petersworth to Pheasant Copse; from Pheasant Copse to Dogmersfield—and at every village a warm welcome to the singing Maoris.
The rest of August was taken up with hard training and liberal leave, both local and to London. Farnham was not far page 25 away, a quaint town at the foot of a hill crowned with a ruined castle, and with its High Street shops and pubs built with great beams of timber that came ashore from the wreckage of the Spanish Armada. Invading England has always been a difficult business. Farnham, ancient enough in other ways, possessed a modern swimming bath and the Farnham Swimming Club advertised a carnival at which teams from British, Canadian, and Australian units were going to compete. Major Bertrand felt that New Zealand would be worthily represented by the Maori Battalion and entered for all open events. The team, with two exceptions, were all from the lake-dwelling B Company and upheld the honour of their country by winning every event against all comers. In the relay race two teams were entered and it was a walkover, or rather a ‘swimover’, for they finished in first and third places.
There followed an exercise designed to determine the standard of training achieved by the New Zealand formations. The Germans, so the orders said, had landed in Sussex and deployed on the bare, chalky hills of the South Downs; progress reports were received from the invasion area and the Division was required to counter-attack without any more information than would have been available had the affair been real. The Maori Battalion's part was to move by night in buses to Partridge Green, dig in, and wait for further orders. Breakfast arrived at an opportunity hour, whereupon the enemy was reported to be holding firmly in Eston Hills with advanced elements pressing forward.
A battalion exercise in attack followed, then two days of manœuvre by the Division and return to Dogmersfield, a discussion by battalion commanders and leave as usual for the victors. The Maoris were given the credit of being the best unit in the exercise. During the month the battalion had lost its first senior officer when Major Fisher7 marched out to 5 Field Ambulance and Lieutenant Mules8 became RMO.
September was ushered in with a divisional review and march past at Bulkney Camp on the 4th. It was by way of a graduation ceremony for the Division had been judged fit for front-line page 26 duty in the event of invasion. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom took the salute and then addressed the troops in a characteristic Churchillian speech. He ended:
We in this island are now bearing the accumulated weight of the malice and tyranny of the enemy. We do not feel unequal to it. We are sure we shall prove ourselves not unequal to the task of once again being the champion and liberator of Europe. We do not feel lonely when the sons of our great Dominions overseas—lands where they breed the finest fighting races—come back here or come to other parts of the British Empire, where they bear their parts in this great contention. I wish you well. I wish you great good luck. May God protect you. I am sure you will crown the name of New Zealand with honours, with a lustre which will not fade as the years pass by. Of all the wars we have ever fought, none has been more honourable, more righteous than this. None has been more unsought by us. In none has greater weight been thrown upon us. From none shall we emerge with a greater sense of duty done. May fortune rest upon your arms. May you return home with victory to your credit, having written pages into the annals of the Imperial Army which will be turned over by future generations whenever they wish to find a model for military conduct.
September was the beginning of the mass raids on London and they were considered to be the opening moves of the invasion attempt by ‘that bad man’, as Mr Churchill mockingly termed the Fuehrer of the German Reich. In the past weeks occasional bombs had been dropped in the battalion area, not so much from malice as from the advisability of unloading the aircraft before going home; the bombs had done little more than emphasise the importance of slit trenches and steel helmets. Warning orders for the move of the New Zealanders to Egypt were cancelled and, together with other formations, NZEF (UK) came under command of 12 Corps and was instructed to take up a position covering the Folkestone-Dover area with the tasks:
To re-establish the line of the Royal Military Canal eastwards of Main Street.
Concurrently with the above, to deal with any hostile airborne landings in the area Sittingbourne-Faversham-Charing-Maidstone.
The Mixed (now the 7th) Brigade was in support of 5 Infantry Brigade.
The battalion left four OCTU candidates behind—Sergeants Jim Tuhiwai,9 Ruhi Pene,10 Henry Toka,11 and Rangi Logan.12 They reported to Aldershot Barracks and joined sixteen other New Zealand NCOs in a short preparatory course of instruction. Ten were selected for Sandhurst and were followed, a fortnight later, by the other ten. In the first draft were Logan and Tuhiwai, who were thus the first Maoris to enter that august institution. All passed out with credit, Second-Lieutenant Logan in particular being classified ‘A Outstanding’.
The Maoris moved by transport in the afternoon of 5 September and, after an all-night drive through Farnham, Guildford, Reigate and Hollingbourne, debussed at Doddington in Kent in the morning and immediately dug themselves in. This was, perhaps, the real thing and the battalion waited hopefully for the Germans or lunch. It was lunch.
It was during this night move that the battalion suffered its first fatal casualty when Private Pokai,13 a battalion despatch rider, was run over by a vehicle and killed. He was a Ngatiporou and one of three brothers serving with the unit. He was buried with military honours in the Maidstone cemetery; the ceremony was conducted by Padre Harawira, the address was given by the Rt Rev Bishop Gerard,14 and a funeral oration in Maori was delivered by Captain Werohia.15 The first changes in the battalion's company commanders occurred at this period when Captain Love16 went to Milforce, as the covering force had been page 28 named, Captain Baker17 took command of Headquarters Company, and Captain Blomfield left the unit on transfer to New Zealand General Base Depot.
If the invasion attempt was to be made it would have to be before the October gales lashed the English Channel and prohibited the use of landing craft, so the Maoris pitched their tents under the elms, ash, and alder trees and waited. Route marches helped to pass the time and the troops saw something of Kent. Overhead were frequent dogfights between English and German pilots, while from every rise on the South Downs stretched a panorama of lanes twisting between red-brick villages clustered around red-brick churches; of farmhouses surrounded by orchards; of hop-fields and round, steep-pointed oast-houses for drying the gathered hops; of hedges of hawthorn, holly, and crab-apple surrounding meadows whose boundaries were traced in the Doomsday Book and are still as traced there. It was a country worth defending.
The weather, which had been perfect, broke after a few weeks, and early in October the men moved from their muddy tents to billets—C Company to Wichling, B Company to Doddington, D Company into the hospital, A Company to Eastling, and Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company to Stalisfield. They were all villages in 7 Brigade's area.
Summer had changed to autumn, the nights had become cooler and the pale green leaves darkening through summer turned the countryside to flames of red and copper, gold and amber, brown and yellow, with patches of sepia that were the branches denuded of leaves. The invasion threat faded and the troops turned, between field exercises, to Rugby and hockey, at which sports the battalion maintained an unbeaten record. Seventh Brigade ceased to exist on 8 October; its components returned to their parent units and the Maori Battalion was attached to Milforce. Colonel Dittmer took command of Milforce, then consisting of the Maoris, C Squadron of the Divisional Cavalry, a company of medium machine guns, and a squadron of 8 Royal Tanks attached for operations only.
C Company acquired a mascot about this time, or rather the mascot acquired C Company. ‘Spittie’ was a little dog of doubtful pedigree and very fond of chocolate. She was called page 29 ‘Spittie’ because her decision to live with C Company occurred at the same time as a Spitfire came down in a nearby field of turnips. The plane was shot to pieces but the pilot was unhurt, although his nationality was a disappointment to the troops who had rushed over hoping to capture their first prisoner. ‘Spittie’ took to a soldier's life with great gusto and never missed a route march but could not understand the etiquette that attaches to a parade. This was very noticeable when Colonel Dittmer inspected the company and ‘Spittie’, with much barking and cavorting, insisted on doing the inspection with him. When she inspected the CO's car and signified her approval in the usual canine manner, formality was very nearly lost.
Air activity decreased markedly towards the end of October but on the 25th, when the chance of an enemy invasion was heavily discounted, an electrifying message was received at Battalion Headquarters. It came in at ten minutes to three on a cold wet morning: ‘Stand to and report when ready to move.’
There could be only one meaning for such an urgent order. The Germans had come at the last minute. Despatch riders went rushing off into the night with messages, the sleeping troops packed their gear in pitch darkness, and at twenty minutes to six the last company reported itself ready to move. Transport was due to arrive at twenty minutes past seven, but instead of transport a staff officer arrived and inspected the extent of the battalion's readiness to move, whereupon the troops were stood down as the whole operation was a snap trial. The Maoris took being turned out of bed in the middle of the night much more philosophically than some other units, whose comments were couched in language suitable to the occasion but quite unprintable.
The New Zealanders left Kent on 4 November and returned to the Aldershot Command area, where they went into winter quarters. The Maori Battalion was dispersed in permanent buildings two miles south of Farnham and consisting for the most part of stately old English manor houses—A Company at Goldhill Manor, B Company at Averly Towers, C Company at Hill House, D Company at Bradshaigh on Gong Hill, Headquarters Company dispersed around Boundstone, Pine Ridge, Thornhill and Chedley, and Battalion Headquarters at Malwa. The battalion officers' mess where most of the officers were billeted was at ‘Whitecroft’, Lower Bourne. Conveniently in the centre of the area was the Cricketers’ Inn.page 30
The Maoris stayed there for two months and suffered the onfall of winter, the coldest and the wettest they had ever known or believed possible. They were well housed, but the weather was so cold that when not marching or otherwise employed they sat around such fires as were possible on limited fuel rations in greatcoats and mufflers, gloves and balaclavas—and still shivered.
The pattern of training was a route march every second day, with companies taking different routes as laid down by Battalion Headquarters, the firing of weapon training courses and field-firing practices. One half-day each week was devoted to sport. New and interesting experiences were a dive-bombing demonstration by a squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the observation of the effect of the combined fire of platoon weapons. Formal occasions were parades for the Governor-General designate of New Zealand, Sir Cyril Newall, and for His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester; less formal, the dances given by the officers and men in appreciation of the open-handed hospitality of the residents of Gong Hill and vicinity.
An invitation was received from the Welsh Rugby Union for a Maori team to play a Welsh fifteen at Llangley Park, where the All Blacks were defeated by a disputed try in 1905. With the sanction of Brigadier Hargest the invitation was accepted and a team under the managership of Major Bertrand went forth to do its best. Some thousands of Welshmen saw their team win 12–3. After the spectators saw the Welsh referee give a very doubtful decision against the Maoris early in the game, they nearly all changed allegiance and barracked for the visitors. Welsh hospitality has to be experienced to be believed and the team had a wonderful time before returning to the battalion. Within the week Colonel Dittmer received several other requests for games from other Welsh centres, but because of the expected early departure of the battalion they could not be complied with.
The welcome news that the battalion would soon be moving to a warmer climate was received on 29 November. No definite destination was indicated but the only reasonable one was Egypt, where the rest of the New Zealand Division was concentrated. Activity was varied and immediate; all vehicles were painted with the yellow desert camouflage that was to become so familiar but which at that time looked so incongruous against page 31 the snow-covered countryside; the men cleaned and pressed their uniforms, waited in deficiency parades for lost or worn clothing, and were issued with tropical kit.
An advance party—69 men from the transport and carrier platoons, commanded by Second-Lieutenants F. T.18 and G. R. Bennett,19 and an anti-aircraft section from C Company of 13 men, commanded by Sergeant Te Kawa20—left on 16 December with the vehicles and unwanted baggage.
On Christmas Day the battalion celebrated its first white Christmas. At home the pohutukawa was in full bloom and the land was drenched in sunshine, while here in England there was rain, sleet and snow, and naked trees straining under the lash of winter winds. Even the collecting of stones suitable for the hangis that were to cook the Christmas dinner in traditional style did little to convince the troops that it really was Christmas. The battalion ‘Q’ staff, assisted by a generous allocation from regimental funds and the innate Maori ability as a painstaking forager, filled the hangis with the carcases of pigs and a kinaki of potatoes, cabbages and poultry, but it was not until the earth, sacking, and leaves were removed that the proceedings assumed an air of reality.
How many regulations were broken to obtain the pièce de résistance of the dinner—pork cooked the Maori way—is a subject for speculation. Ration ordinances prohibited the killing of meat of any kind except by authority, but a certain amount of finesse and the presence of an agricultural college in the vicinity had something to do with the smile of satisfaction on the face of the battalion second-in-command as he surveyed the result of his labours.
Owing to the dispersal of the unit there were four hangis—one for A Company at Goldhill Manor, one for B Company at Averly Towers, one for Headquarters Company at Pine Ridge, and one for the rest of the battalion at Bradshaigh. When the troops were assembled at their mess tables they were, to their obvious delight, served by mess orderlies drawn from the officers and senior NCOs. The afternoon was free and the Cricketers' Inn provided a fitting climax to a memorable day.page 32
The last days of December were spent in fighting off an epidemic of influenza, transporting the battalion baggage to the railhead, and cleaning with scrubbing brush and mop every room and building used by the unit. Inspections were frequent and thorough and the troops felt that if cleanliness was next to godliness the second state was a very exalted one indeed.
The battalion marched out quietly and unobtrusively on the evening of 3 January. The men were glad to leave behind the cold, wet English winter but sorry to part, without a final handshake, with the people among whom they had made so many friendships. They entrained at Farnham and travelled all night across England in unheated carriages, and were almost frozen before the train shunted into the Canada Docks at Liverpool.
Captain Baker, replaced as OC Headquarters Company by Captain Love, was ship's quartermaster in the Athlone Castle and the troops found everything ready for them. They filed into their new quarters knowing little of what was before them. All they knew of Egypt was that it was mostly sand and flies—no more hedges and green grass; no more church spires, inns, and villages at every crossroad; no more London—and no more shivering in the damp cold of an English winter.
1Brig N. S. Falla, CMG, DSO, m.i.d.; born Westport, 3 May 1883; managing director Union Steamship Coy; NZ Fd Arty 1914–19 (Lt-Col comd 2 and 3 NZ FA Bdes); comd 2 NZEF Base, Feb 1940-Jun 1941; NZ repve on Ministry of Transport, London, 1941–45; died 6 Nov 1945.
2Brig R. Miles, CBE, DSO and bar, MC, ED, m.i.d.; born Springston, 10 Dec 1892; Regular soldier; NZ Fd Arty 1914–19; CRA 2 NZ Div 1940–41; comd 2 NZEF (UK) 1940; wounded and p.w. 1 Dec 1941; died, Spain, 20 Oct 1943.
3Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute.
4Maj-Gen Rt Hon Sir Harold Barrowclough, PC, KCMG, CB, DSO and bar, MC, ED, m.i.d., MC (Gk), Legion of Merit (US), Croix de Guerre (Fr); Wellington; born Masterton, 23 Jun 1894; barrister and solicitor; NZ Rifle Bde 1915–19 (CO 4 Bn); comd 7 NZ Inf Bde in UK, 1940; 6 Bde, 1 May 1940–21 Feb 1942; GOC 2 NZEF in Pacific and GOC 3 NZ Div, 8 Aug 1942–20 Oct 1944; Chief Justice of New Zealand.
5Capt H. K. Ngata; Gisborne; born Waiomatatini, 19 Dec 1917; radio announcer; p.w. 29 Apr 1941.
7Col W. B. Fisher, OBE, ED, m.i.d.; born New Plymouth, 21 Jan 1898; Superintendent, Waipukurau Hospital; RMO 28 (Maori) Battalion Dec 1939-Aug 1940; 2 i/c 5 Fd Amb Aug 1940-May 1941; actg CO 6 Fd Amb May 1941; CO 21 Lt Fd Amb (NZ) Nov 1941-Dec 1942; 6 Fd Amb Feb 1943-Aug 1944; CO 1 Gen Hosp Aug 1944-Feb 1945; died 17 Jan 1956.
9Capt J. Tuhiwai, m.i.d.; born Tolaga Bay, 19 Feb 1910; shop assistant; killed in action 28 Jun 1942.
12Maj F. R. Logan, m.i.d.; Hastings; born Hastings, 3 Jul 1916; farm cadet; wounded 22 Jul 1942.
13Pte T. Pokai; born Ruatoria, 22 Aug 1918; labourer; accidentally killed 5 Sep 1940.
14Rt Rev G. V. Gerard, CBE, MC, m.i.d.; Rotherham, England; born Christchurch, 24 Nov 1898; Lt, The Buffs, 1918–19 (MC); SCF, 2 NZEF, 1 May 1940-Nov 1941; p.w. 1 Dec 1941; repatriated 26 Apr 1943; SCF, 2 NZEF (IP), 2 Apr-3 Dec 1944.
16Lt-Col E. Te W. Love, m.i.d.; born Picton, 18 May 1905; interpreter; CO 28 (Maori) Bn May-Jul 1942; wounded 22 May 1941; died of wounds 12 Jul 1942.
17Lt-Col F. Baker, DSO, ED, m.i.d.; Wellington; born Kohukohu, Hokianga, 19 Jun 1908; civil servant; CO 28 (Maori) Bn Jul-Nov 1942; twice wounded; Director of Rehabilitation, 1943–54; Public Service Commission, 1954-.