Hi guys, can anyone help with 2NZEF info??

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by Reganpatrick79, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Hi guys I'm trying to reseach my grand fathers war history and have hit a brick wall. My family are convinced my Grand father fought in Crete in ww2. I cannot prove this however I know from his file he arrived in Egypt on the 16th of May and was assigned to the NZEF 22 Battalion. Does anyone know whether the 5th Reinforcements were sent to bolster the crete defences in the last days before the battle for crete (20th May-31st)

    Any help would be great......
     
  2. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    :poppy: Hi Guys :poppy:
    My Name is Regan and I am currently researching my Grand fathers war history. My Grand father was Private L.G. Bruere #37401 he served with the New Zealand army during ww2 with the 22 Battalion.

    I'm having a few problems with his history sheet and army file as there are heaps of months where nothing is recorded, where I'm hoping someone can help is with regard to the battle of Crete. My family are convinced my grand father served in Crete but I cannot seem to prove or disprove this one way or the other I have been pulling my hair out for the past few months trying to figure this out.....

    Here's what I do know, he departed New Zealand on the 7th of April 1941 after training at Trentham army base. He arrived in Egypt as part of the 5th reinforcements on the 16th of May 1941 (4 days before the battle of Crete) and was put into the 22nd battalion (2NZEF)

    I have records of him fighting in North Africa before being captured in the battle of El Almein but as for Crete... nothing except some stories past down from family members.

    Does anyone know whether the 5th reinforcements were sent straight to Crete to bolster the numbers or would this not have happened?? I know there were some reinforcements sent in the last days before the Germans began their invasion but I don't know if this included fresh NZ troops????

    Any help would be great

    Kind Regards

    Regan Harris
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Regan -
    The 22 battalion served in the 5th Infantry bde of the 2nd NZEF in the Maleme sector of Crete - but your own Official History is one of the best I have ever come across but I can't think of the url at this time so I should dig around as they have 50 volumes on line of the history of WW2 - you are sure to get all the answers there....

    Cheers
     
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  5. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    A Trip to Trentham and obtain a Service History Sheet would answer all your questions.
     
  6. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Thanks for the reply, I have a copy of the history sheet and also the casualty sheet from Tretham I have also spoken to the staff on a few occasions, the problem is alot of the records have been purged.

    There is also huge gaps in the history sheet sometimes months where nothing is mentioned at all. One chap at Trentham told me that the history sheets were kept in Wellington while the soldiers were at war, and updated as news arrived.

    So unfortuately it is not that simple.....
     
  7. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Hi Tom thanks for the reply & the link, I have read through this huge resource over the past few weeks and although alot of it has been useful it unfortunately doesn't offer much on the 5th reinforcements movements upon reaching egypt... I would have presumed the troops would have done some basic training before entering the front line but there is no mention of it in his history file. My uncle vividly recalls hearing my grand father speak to another veteran about the fact they could of held Malame airfield but were ordered to retreat.

    If he did serve in Crete I would have expected to find some reference to it somewhere in his file but sadly I have not yet had any luck. I have alot of details on my grand father in North Africa and later when he was a POW

    Alas as to whether he served in Crete remains a mystery
     
  8. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Hi Regan,
    I guess you mean arrived Egypt May 16 1941? Without looking at any sources I would imagine that he wasn't sent to Crete. I don't remember having read anything about NZ troops being sent to Crete from Egypt. I have just had a look over the Official History of the Battle for Crete here Crete | NZETCand have been unable to find any reference to the 5th Reinforcements.
    This is not to say that they may not have gone over, But I would suggest that is unlikely given the short period of time they had been in Egypt. Usually the troops spent a while training in the desert before seeing action. There were plenty (depending how you look at it) of 'battle hardened' troops who had been evacuated from Greece to Egypt who would be a lot more suitable to send to Crete than fresh untested troops.
    I hope that is of some help to you, if you have any question, fire away :)
     
  9. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    That's very sad,
    have you tried Carolyn Carr at the Defence Library or the A.T.L.
    At present as you may know there is an ongoing Modernisation project in these places.
    There are still a few Veterans about that have very good memories who perhaps hold the key. I'll get back to you tomorrow.

    Brian
     
  10. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    You are quite right about the the renovations Brian, however some stuff has been transfered over to Archives NZ. I was just thinking possibly there could be some mention in the 22 Battalion war diaries held in Archives NZ on 5th reinforcements being sent to Crete or not?
    EDIT: Regan I may have an answer for you. I am currently reading Arch Scott's book "Dark of the Moon" and he was with the 5th Reinforcements who landed in Egypt. However he went to 24th Battalion and I can't find any mention of troops from 5th Reinforcements going to Crete.
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hi guys I'm trying to reseach my grand fathers war history and have hit a brick wall. My family are convinced my Grand father fought in Crete in ww2. I cannot prove this however I know from his file he arrived in Egypt on the 16th of May and was assigned to the NZEF 22 Battalion. Does anyone know whether the 5th Reinforcements were sent to bolster the crete defences in the last days before the battle for crete (20th May-31st)

    Any help would be great......

    No 22 Battalion I would imagine was the No 22 (Wellington) Battalion to give its proper designation.

    My NZ cousin's husband was one who served in this battalion and his movements appear to be the same as your Grandfather.I would say that if your Grandfather was in the Wellington Battalion,then he fought in Greece and Crete.Before that the battalion was based in the Maidstone area of Kent when the German invasioned threatened. NZ troops were based there as a precaution for the invasion which never happened and were diverted to England from Egypt for this purpose.

    I have some notes which my cousin's husband, Arthur left which should be interesting to you.I will post them as soon as possible.

    Incidentally.Arthur joined the NZ army in January 1940 "Entered Trentham Camp Jan 1940" is his first entry
     
  12. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    No 22 Battalion I would imagine was the No 22 (Wellington) Battalion to give its proper designation.

    My NZ cousin's husband was one who served in this battalion and his movements appear to be the same as your Grandfather.I would say that if your Grandfather was in the Wellington Battalion,then he fought in Greece and Crete.Before that the battalion was based in the Maidstone area of Kent when the German invasioned threatened. NZ troops were based there as a precaution for the invasion which never happened and were diverted to England from Egypt for this purpose.

    I have some notes which my cousin's husband, Arthur left which should be interesting to you.I will post them as soon as possible.

    Incidentally.Arthur joined the NZ army in January 1940 "Entered Trentham Camp Jan 1940" is his first entry

    You are correct Harry, However from what I understand, Regan's Grandfather was not part of the intial 22 Battalion troops that were sent to England in 1940. His father was trained up with the 5th reinforcements in New Zealand and was only part of 22 Battalion when reached Egypt and was assigned to them (I am guessing) at Maadi camp in May 1941, hence the possibility of missing out on Greece and Crete.
     
  13. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Hi Regan, I have replied to your other thread, but felt i had to reply here too. That is an interesting point you raise about your Uncle remembering your Grandfather talk about hold Maleme airfield. 22 Battalion did hold Maleme so further intrigue is added. It is possible that your Grandfather was talking about "we" in the collective meaning 22 Battalion even though he may not have been present at the time. I am also surprised there is no mention of Crete on his record. usually it would give dates that was sent to crete then evacuated off etc. In terms of his record is there a huge gap (in terms of pages) between when got to egypt and the entries on North Africa?

    On the point of no mention of 5th Reinforcements movements on reaching Egypt. I would suspect that this was because the 5th Reinforcements as a unit didn't exist. All the men who had been trained up and Shipped as the "5th Reinforcements" were assigned out to various units on reaching Egypt (e.g Your Grandfather to 22 Battalion and Arch Scott to 24 Battalion).
     
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Threads merged as they about exactly the same topic.
     
  15. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Talking last night to a Veteran in Wellington who was of the opinion that the 5th reinforcements did not arrive in time to have fought in Crete.

    Perhaps a Trip to Waiouru would clear up this point.
     
  16. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Thanks for all the advice guys, I'll certainly try looking up some of the above over the coming weeks, I wouldn't be so bent on getting to the bottom of this mystery except I'm hoping to frame up my grand fathers medals and war history for my mother for her birthday later this year so I hope to have the story straight before I pay for everything to be framed up...

    I would have discarded the possibility of Lauri being in Crete except my uncles recall Lauri (my grand father) talking about crete, and how he was left behind in the initial evacuation, his wife (my grand mother) also spoke of Lauri waking up from nightmares of German Stulka bombers in the olive groves and I wouldn't have thought this would not have suited the deserts of North Africa?
    Hopefully something will pop up soon.....:huh:

    I don't know if this is of any help but after his capture at the battle of El Almein he was POW in Italy at PG 85 for a time before attempting an escape with another prisoner, the story goes that they strapped themselves underneath a train and made it as far as the swiss border where there was a boarder check, aparently they could see the swiss guards just over the boarder but a german guard with an alsasian dog discovered them and consequently he was sent to work in the german coal mines and was later recorded as being at Stalag VIIIB during the end of the war he was like so many forced off on a death march where he was eventually liberated by an American unit. I was told that the American commander was so disgusted by what he heard the POW's had been through he handed one of the prisoners a gun and told him he would turn his back for a short time.................

    Kind Regards

    Regan Harris
     
  17. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Wow

    What a story to have in your family. More on that would be fab...

    Good luck with your research. Such a pity these family members were so reticent about their heroics....

    Dee
     
  18. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Hi Dee thanks for the post,
    I agree it is unfortunate these amazing people didn't like to talk of there experiences but I can completely understand why they chose not to. I can only imagine the horrors and hardships these poor buggars went through........

    I know Lauri (my grand father) spoke of how lucky they were as POW's to recieve aid from the red cross as he said the russian POW's were not so fortunate there food was bought in by cart and was shovelled off onto the ground where they had to fight over the scraps like cats and dogs... Although the allies were fortunate in their food aid, Grand dad was unable to touch canned food after the war.....

    Kind Regards

    Regan Harris
     
  19. Reganpatrick79

    Reganpatrick79 Junior Member

    Hi again thanks everyone for your help, I guess to help me better understand my grand fathers movements overseas I better try first understanding the movements of his troop ship, I believe he went aboard the Mauritania HMT25 and he embarked on April 7 1941 from Wellington new Zealand and disembarked 16 may 1941 in Egypt does anyone know the movements of this troop ship on it's journey?

    Kind regards

    Regan Harris
     
  20. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    I am a little perplexed by this Regan, If possible would you be able to scan/photograph your Grandfather's record and post them in this thread? I am sure it would help us put your Grandfathers movements in context.

    For 2NZEF troop ships the journey usually consisted of stops in Fremantle (Australia), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), sometimes India, then onto Port Twefik in Egpyt. I would imagine your Gradfathers journey would have been quite similar to this.
     

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