New Zealand Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (NZGREU)

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Mike Seager Thomas, Apr 4, 2024.

  1. On ANZAC day this year (25/04/24) I will be publishing free online a top-and-tailed transcription of the personal WW2 North African campaign diaries of the OC of the New Zealand Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (NZGREU). It will be posted on Academia, the Internet Archive and Researchgate (https://www.researchgate.net/public..._of_the_NZ_Graves_Registration_Enquiries_Unit).
    Two sample chapters, introducing the officer, his diaries and the NZGREU (https://www.researchgate.net/public...ew_Zealand_Graves_Registration_Enquiries_Unit), and exploring the post war history and possible future trajectory of North Africa's WW2 cemeteries (https://www.researchgate.net/public...th_Africa's_WWII_military_cemeteries_post_war) are available now. Hopefully these will be of interest to some of you.
    I will post the links to the complete opus here when they are available.
    Mike SEAGER THOMAS

    Abstract
    One of the lesser-known World War II UK and Dominion Forces unit types was the Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (GREU), or the Graves Registration Unit (GRU). These units were located behind the lines and were responsible for curating the war dead between their burial—theoretically by front line troops but not infrequently by GRUs themselves—and their concentration into permanent war cemeteries. This volume presents the wartime diaries of the Officer in Command of one such unit, the New Zealand Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (NZGREU), during and immediately after the war's North African campaign. The diaries run from January 1941 to July 1943 and cover his journey from the UK to Egypt, his initial service in Egypt with a training battalion based at Maadi Camp outside Cairo, his service in Libya and Egypt with the NZGREU, and his return to New Zealand. Also included are a short essay on the work of GRUs in the Middle East and Africa, possibly written by him for the NZEF Times, a free newspaper produced for Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) personnel, a series of excerpts from his official unit War Diary, and an unattributed and undated protocol, apparently issued to him as Officer in Command of the NZGREU, outlining the duties of a GRU. Collectively, these forgotten and till now unstudied documents provide a unique insight into both the role of, and everyday life in, a GRU during and immediately after the campaign, revealing to us their attendant routines, frustrations, dangers, stresses and—at times—disgust and horror. In this way they add significantly to our knowledge and understanding of the campaign, and also of these essential, but lesser-known units. The volume concludes with a postscript on the post war and possible future trajectory of the region's war cemeteries, including several of those on which Wally and his unit worked.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
    4jonboy, andy007, papiermache and 4 others like this.
  2. 4jonboy, andy007, papiermache and 2 others like this.
  3. I have today uploaded the book Wally’s War: The WW2 North African Campaign Diaries of Walter von Schramm of the NZ Graves Registration & Enquiries Unit. Download it for free
    https://www.researchgate.net/public..._of_the_NZ_Graves_Registration_Enquiries_Unit
    The abstract reads:
    One of the lesser-known World War II UK and Dominion Forces unit types was the Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (GREU), or the Graves Registration Unit (GRU). These units were located behind the lines and were responsible for curating the war dead between their burial—theoretically by front line troops but not infrequently by GRUs themselves—and their concentration into permanent war cemeteries. This volume presents the wartime diaries of the Officer in Command of one such unit, the New Zealand Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit (NZGREU), during and immediately after the war's North African campaign. The diaries run from January 1941 to July 1943 and cover his journey from the UK to Egypt, his initial service in Egypt with a training battalion based at Maadi Camp outside Cairo, his service in Libya and Egypt with the NZGREU, and his return to New Zealand. Also included are a short essay on the work of GRUs in the Middle East and Africa, possibly written by him for the NZEF Times, a free newspaper produced for Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) personnel, a series of excerpts from his official unit War Diary, and an unattributed and undated protocol, apparently issued to him as Officer in Command of the NZGREU, outlining the duties of a GRU. Collectively, these forgotten and till now unstudied documents provide a unique insight into both the role of, and everyday life in, a GRU during and immediately after the campaign, revealing to us their attendant routines, frustrations, dangers, stresses and—at times—disgust and horror. In this way they add significantly to our knowledge and understanding of the campaign, and also of these essential, but lesser-known units. The volume concludes with a postscript on the post war and possible future trajectory of the region's war cemeteries, including several of those on which Wally and his unit worked. The full text is scheduled for online publication this Anzac Day (25/04/24).
     
    4jonboy, Redd, Recce_Mitch and 6 others like this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks very much for sharing this.
     
    papiermache and JimHerriot like this.
  5. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    To echo dbf's sentiment Mike, thank you. Thank you for all the work you have put in; it is very, very much appreciated.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
    papiermache likes this.
  6. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    I look forward to reading this.
    Thanks for posting
     
    papiermache and JimHerriot like this.
  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Well done for shedding light on this difficult subject. I will look forward to reading it. John
     
    JimHerriot likes this.
  8. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Hi Mike,

    I can't wait to get stuck into reading the book. Thank you also for your comments on my thread about interpreting a Grave Concentration Form.
     
  9. Redd

    Redd Senior Member

    Hi Mike - thank you for posting the link and for deciding to keep it free-to-read. There are many things included that will surely be of general interest to many people.

    Dealing with the flies, dust storms, cold, lack of leave, lice, smell of decomposing bodies, minefields and lack of support from the 'higher-ups' as well as dealing with so many who were killed was obviously far from an easy undertaking for Wally et. al. The time and effort that you've put into this is a credit to you.
     
    dbf likes this.

Share This Page