New Zealand: Kiwis in the Second World War.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Call for New Zealand Government to honour elite unit
Families of a forgotten WWII crack commando unit are calling on the New Zealand Government to officially recognise their behind-enemy-lines feats more than 70 years on. There were 22 New Zealanders who signed up to the ultra-secret Z Special Unit which caused mayhem waging a guerrilla war against the Japanese in the Pacific. But after the war, they were silenced by 30-year secrecy agreements. Many died before they could tell anyone - even their families - exactly what they did in the war. In August, a memorial plaque recognising the unit`s remarkable feats will be unveiled at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)
New Zealand planned to develop tsunami bomb during World War II
A new book has revealed historical gems buried in New Zealand`s national archives, including a strange WWII plan to create a "tsunami bomb". Author Ray Waru said he wrote "Secrets and Treasures" to highlight the material available at Archives New Zealand in Wellington. "Project Seal" was launched in June 1944 after a US naval officer noticed that blasting operations to clear coral reefs sometimes produced a large wave, raising the possibility of creating a "tsunami bomb". Explosive tests carried out in waters north of Auckland led scientists to conclude that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 massive blasts offshore could create a 10-metre tsunami capable of inundating a small coastal city.
NZ WWII ace Geoff Fisken, who had 11 confirmed kills, passes away at 96
Geoff Bryson Fisken, DFC, the Commonwealth`s most decorated pilot in the south Pacific in the Second World War with 11 kills, has passed away at the age of 96. His physical toughness became legendary. Once, after a sortie, his mechanic fainted when he climbed down from his aircraft with a shrapnel sticking out from his hip. "I didn`t know it was there. It felt sore, with blood all down my leg. I tried to pull it out with a pair of pliers at the hospital but it was still too sore. They cut it out and put on some sulthalimide, strapped it up and I was able to fly again in three or four days."
WWII Anzacs fought a battle for survival through the same gorges as the heroes of ancient Greece
It has been overshadowed in history by the brutal fighting in Crete, but 70 years ago New Zealand and Australian troops fought a valiant battle for survival against German Panzer divisions through the same gorges as the heroes of ancient Greece.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 to appear in the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow in Blenheim in New Zealand
A vintage Ferrari of the skies is being reassembled at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre at Blenheim, in New Zealand. The Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Würger (Shrike) - a German fighter aircraft which served in various roles during the war - should be ready to face off against its rival, the Supermarine Spitfire, at the Classic Fighters Airshow at Omaka Airfield during Easter. Airshow organiser Graham Orphan said the Fw190 arrived from Germany and will be the only one of its kind flying in the southern hemisphere. This model is a replica, built in Germany, and when it took to the air in 2004 it was the first time a Fw190 had flown since the end of the Second World War.
Russians making documentary film and book about a Kiwi pilot who led RAF fighter wing on the Eastern Front
Wing Commander Henry Ramsbottom-Isherwood - one of only 4 non-Russians to earn the Order of Lenin medal - led RAF 151 Fighter Wing from inside the Arctic circle at Murmansk as they stave off the Luftwaffe`s Me 109s and JU 88s after the Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941-1942. Now Russian state TV company Rossiya-1 is making a documentary film and book that will include his story as part of a section on how New Zealand supported the Soviet Union during the Second World War.
WW2 film "Spies and Lies" recalls how con man Syd Ross made up a story about a Nazi plot to take over New Zealand
"Spies and Lies" - based on the book "The Plot to Subvert Wartime New Zealand" by Hugh Price - tells the real story how swindler Syd Ross fooled the New Zealand Government by making up a story about a Nazi plot to take over the country.
Victoria Cross at Takrouna: The Haane Manahi Story by Paul Moon (book review)
A new book explores the bravery of WWII hero Haane Manahi - and the strange case of how his Victoria Cross recommendation was mysteriously downgraded to a Distinguished Conduct Medal. In May 1943 Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi, B company of the 28th Maori Battalion from New Zealand, was recommended for a Victoria Cross by 4 Allied generals for his repeated acts of courage during the battle of Takrouna Ridge in Tunisia, North Africa. In this biography history professor Dr Paul Moon uncovers the events about the Victoria Cross recommendation and dismisses war crimes rumours that damaged Manahi`s reputation.
Latest New Zealand adrenalin adventure: Drive military vehicles from Jeeps to 52-ton tanks
Tanks For Everything - New Zealand`s latest adrenalin adventure - takes you to the edge and then charges over it, literally. Created by former IT manager Jonathan Lahy-Neary, the experience enables visitors to drive a dozen military vehicles ranging from a jeep all the way up to the Russian T-55AM2 tank and the 52-tonne Centurion tank. Packages start at $495 (drive two vehicles) and go up to $995 (drive all the big vehicles). (tanksforeverything.co.nz/)
Kiwi flying ace Peter Francis Locker Hall was credited with 8 kills
New Zealand has lost one of its Second World War flying aces, Flight Lieutenant Peter Francis Locker Hall. The former teacher downed 8 Luftwaffe aircraft while based in Britain as a pilot with the Royal New Zealand Air Force`s 488 squadron of Mosquito fighter planes. After returning from a mission over Nazi-occupied Europe on one engine in an aircraft damaged by flying debris, Hall and his British navigator were granted the Distinguished Flying Cross. A bar was later added in his case.
NZ university students dress as Nazis and concentration camp inmates for a party
Lincoln University has penalized 15 students who dressed as Nazis and concentration camp inmates for a party. The university disciplinary committee ruled the students had to: Visit the Holocaust Museum in Wellington and possibly the German Embassy at their own expense. Pay a fine of $200. Submit a 2000 word essay. Two students with the most offensive T-shirts face 150 hours of community service. The students attended a party at a campus cafe as part of Oktoberfest celebrations. Their costumes featured slogans such as "Sieg Heil!" and "Hitler`s my boi" and one guest was wearing a white top decorated with swastikas.
Two historians: New Zealand traded with Nazi Germany, even after Poland was invaded in 1939
It has been believed that New Zealand opposed the Nazis and urged Britain to stop Adolf Hitler`s regime, but two historians say this is not true. Letters between key ministers in 1939 reveal that NZ pushed for talks with Hitler even as Britain declared war - while still honouring a trade agreement with Nazi Germany. Historian James Watson and NZ Defence Force historian John Crawford began their research after spotting discrepancies in the history books. "I often wondered whether any New Zealander who encountered a German soldier in Greece ever reflected that the uniforms worn by Germans were made from NZ wool," said Watson.
New Zealander was one of only 4 non-Soviet recipients of the Order of Lenin
A valuable medal awarded by Joseph Stalin to one of New Zealand`s little-known war heroes is part of a rare set going under the hammer at the Sotheby`s auction in London - and his nephew is appealing for help to bring it home. Wing Commander Henry Neville Gynes Ramsbottom-Isherwood (who joined the RAF because New Zealand did not have an air force) led the 151 Fighter Wing in Russia 1941-1942, helping Soviet forces stop the Nazi invasion. He won 8 medals during the war, and was one of only 4 non-Soviet recipients of the Order of Lenin.
War In Paradise: The Unofficial Story Of New Zealand Soldiers In New Caledonia
War in Paradise is a multi-sensory installation telling the stories of New Zealand soldiers based in New Caledonia during WW2. The exhibition opens on 21 March in Auckland War Memorial Museum`s Pictorial Gallery. The arrival of World War 2 transformed New Caledonia, famous as a picturesque paradise, into the largest forward Allied base in the Pacific theatre. New Zealand forces began landing at New Caledonia in Nov. 1942. By March 1943 20,000 were stationed on the island. War in Paradise is told through an installation of photos by official war photographers and extracts from the 3rd New Zealand Division`s unofficial history series.
Jewish leaders: The continued sale of Nazi memorabilia in New Zealand disgraceful
A lookup of online auction site Zillion found several Third Reich collectables up for sale, including military medals, pins and swastika armbands. In spite of bans in many EU countries, the sale of German militaria and collectibles is legal in New Zealand. David Zwartz said the sale of Nazi militaria was deeply offensive: "The publicised sale of Nazi memorabilia is offensive to Holocaust survivors and returned servicemen and women from World War 2. After media publicity in 2008, the prominent auction house Dunbar Sloane changed their policy and now will not handle Nazi material."
Aviation historian Errol Martyn slams Air Force record keeping
New Zealand aviation historian Errol Martyn criticises the Air Force for "mindless destruction" of historical records in his final volume of the 1400-page trilogy "For Your Tomorrow". He says in the preface that progress has been "greatly hindered by decades of poor management by those ultimately responsible for the preservation of the relevant records". He also attacks the Army bias in the post WW2 production of the Official History series, saying that minor army units were given full volumes while there was no book about the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) in Canada and the 8000 New Zealand aircrew who learned their skills there.
Up to 40 wanted Nazi war criminals escaped to New Zealand after World War II
Up to 40 wanted war criminals escaped to New Zealand after World War II and the Government`s lack of action was an "embarrassment", says Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff. However, in 1991 New Zealand set up a 2-person unit to probe these allegations. The unit spent $190,000 investigating the claims, narrowing the list from 46 to 17 known to be alive and living in the country. 15 were cleared and 2 were further investigated, with the unit finding it was "possible" one of the suspects was involved in war crimes. After that, in 1992, then attorney-general Paul East said: "We feel we`ve discharged our obligations to the international community in the steps we`ve taken."
The Gunners: A History Of New Zealand Artillery
The official history of the New Zealand Divisional Artillery in the Second World War concluded with the observation that peacetime seems quieter to gunners than it does to other people. It is small wonder, because of the roar of their own guns in wartime and the scream of incoming shells in counter-battery duels. But peacetime is also quieter for gunners because they are examples of the observation by the 19th century German philosopher Georg Hegel that nations have never learned anything from history. The tale of New Zealand artillery is one of repeated peacetime neglect and wartime reliance.
World War II Anzacs often forgotten
WW2 veteran Frank Cox ran 6km as a German plane that had just dropped a bomb shadowed him as he sought escape. "He was firing at me, but he was not a good enough shot to get me." The chase ended when he fell in a ditch. Cox and Don Stephenson are among the 18,000 Australian and 18,000 New Zealand troops who form "the forgotten Anzacs". Anzac has come to refer the Gallipoli campaign in WWI, overshadowing the fact that a second Anzac Corps was formed to serve in Greece in WWII. The Anzac Corps in Greece faced an enemy of devastatingly greater numbers, were ill-equipped and suffered alarming casualties.
Maori `Cowboys` fought Nazis and prejudice
Nolan Raihania, a member of the Maori Battalion`s C Company "Cowboys", can`t forget the horrors of war or the pointless death of a mate. War experiences like that fill the book "Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship." As all 4 Maori Battalion companies meet for their annual reunion, he`ll think back to his friend Sonny Baker, who was training troops to throw grenades when he died: "One of the guys got the shakes, he pulled the pin but let it drop." When the battalion fought a world away... "We became fully blown New Zealand citizens instead of just Maori from New Zealand."
Kiwi to walk 800-km length of the Western Front battlefields
David Guerin set off on a journey of a lifetime to walk the 800-km length of the Western Front. He has been hooked on the history of the two wars that flamed in Europe from 1914-18 and 1939-45. It is an interest he admits has turned into an obsession. "In New Zealand it`s regarded as dusty history, but in Britain this is still live history. Hundreds of thousands still travel to the Somme to see where their grandfathers got the chop." His fascination with the wars covers alse the period between them. "Some people say WWI and WWII were really one war. They just took a breather to breed more cannon fodder."
The daughters of Charles Upham want medals in a vault and replicas on display
The daughters of NZ war hero Charles Upham want his military medals locked in a vault and replicas put on show at the Army Museum in Waiouru. Upham`s 2 Victoria Crosses were among 96 historical medals returned after robbers gave them back to authorities. However, the army wants the medals back on display. "New Zealanders should be able to see the original medals..." says Major General Lou Gardiner. Virginia McKenzie did not want to see her father`s historical medals put at risk again after learning that overseas replicas were displayed. "People from overseas couldn`t believe we didn`t have replicas. They were saying they should be kept in a vault."
UK bid to recognise NZ war hero Sir Keith Park - Battle of Britain tactical genius
A campaign is afoot in London to win recognition for one of New Zealand`s greatest war heroes. Sir Keith Park led a key group of fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain. He commanded the RAF`s 11 group in 1940 and his Hurricanes and Spitfires fought furious battles with the Luftwaffe. At the RAF Museum, he is looked upon a tactical genius, but after the battle Park fell out with RAF top brass. "He was sent out to do training and he wasn`t even mentioned in the official history which was written by the RAF a year later." Trafalgar Square is home to many of Britain`s war heroes and Terry Smith is keen to add a statue of Sir Keith wearing his uniform and helmet.
$300,000 reward for info leading to the return of 9 Victoria Crosses
The biggest reward in New Zealand history has been put up for information resulting the return of the Waiouru Army Museum`s stolen war medals. $300,000 reward was now on offer to anyone who gave tips about the missing military decorations, including 9 Victoria Crosses, 2 George Crosses and an Albert Medal -- won by some of the country`s greatest war heroes. British medals collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and a NZ businessman have provided the money. "By golly, if $300,000 doesn`t make someone talk about providing information about the return of these medals, I`m not sure what will," said Raymond Seymour, the museum director.
Scottish village honours Kiwi Spitfire pilot Carlisle Everiss
A young New Zealand pilot who sacrificed his life saving a small Scottish village in World War Two will have a bronze bust unveiled in his honour. Carlisle Everiss is regarded as a hero in the small village of Cowie, after he refused to bail out and stayed with his stricken Spitfire to steer it away from houses on Oct 2, 1941. Villagers said he knew his decision meant almost certain death. He died moments after his Spitfire crashed into railway sidings. He was pulled from the burning wreckage by villagers and given the last rites. His actions saved the lives of countless villagers.
U-boat captain Klemens Schamong who shot down NZ Victoria Cross-winner found
The captain of the U-Boat whose anti-aircraft fire shot down New Zealand Victoria Cross winner Lloyd Trigg`s Royal Air Force Liberator is still alive in Germany, an aviation researcher has discovered. Arthur "Digger" Arculus has also unearthed fresh details about the fierce Atlantic action that cost the lives of Trigg, his 7 crew and many of the submarine`s complement. Uniquely, it was the testimony of the enemy skipper Klemens Schamong, and the other few survivors from U-468, destroyed by Trigg`s exploding depth charges as his aircraft plunged into the sea, that led to the posthumous bravery award.
Maori Battalion Hero In Anzac Day Documentary
A 20-year campaign seeking the posthumous award of a Victoria Cross to a Maori Battalion war hero is the subject of a documentary being filmed for ANZAC Day. Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi will be honoured at a special ceremony in Rotorua when Prince Andrew will present Te Arawa with gifts from the Queen acknowledging the late soldier’s battlefield feats. production company Screentime will film the ceremony as part of a documentary. Manahi was put forward for the Victoria Cross for his bravery at Takrouna Ridge, North Africa, in 1943 but was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal instead.
Last Line of Defence: New Zealanders remember the War at Home (Article no longer available from the original source)
Wearing his home guard armband that had not been washed in 67 years, George Clark got a hug from his daughter, PM Helen Clark, at an event at Parliament. He is one of 15 people whose recollections of World War II are recorded in a new book: Last Line of Defence - New Zealanders Remember the War at Home. The book is the final in a series of 7 based on the oral histories of New Zealand WWII veterans. By Oct 1942, there were 107,000 people serving in home defence forces, with an extra 250,000 in the home guard women`s war service auxiliary and emergency precautions service.
Book considers NZ history`s "what ifs?"
What would have happened to New Zealand if Japan had invaded Wellington during World War 2? It may sound far fetched but military historian Ian McGibbon believes that if Japan had not been defeated by America in the Battle of Midway, they may have targeted New Zealand. "I don`t think people realise how on a knife edge their security was in June 1942." At that time, most Kiwi soldiers were in the Middle East leaving New Zealand almost undefended. McGibbon contends an invasion force would have hit the lower North Island before seizing Wellington.
Kiwis At War - Spies and heroes in documentary series (Article no longer available from the original source)
Kiwi spies, survivors and heroes all take their place in Kiwis At War, a new all-action, all-Kiwi documentary series. The series opens with the tale of fighter pilot Jack Rae - a Spitfire Ace who was finally shot down high over France. Jack saw out the rest of the War in the Stalag Luft III and witnessed the famous `great escape` in which 76 prisoners broke out of a 300ft long tunnel. "Before his capture, Jack had been one of the best dogfight pilots in his squadron. He`d won a Distinguished Flying Cross twice, and had 12 or 13 confirmed kills, and a couple more that were probably his."
Great World War II escapes, New Zealand style
A new book, Escape, documents New Zealand soldiers` bids for freedom after they were captured during the Second World War. "The audacity of some of the adventures was typically Kiwi," editor Matthew Wright said. The stories were collected from various sources that were either rare or out of print and put together so they could reach a wider audience. He selected stories that covered different escape methods throughout the chronology of the war.
Book defends NZ soldiers` actions during World War II
A new book "Breakout: Minquar Qaim, North Africa 1942" is defending the reputation of New Zealand soldiers during WW2. El Alamein was the turning point in the desert war, but that victory is a contrast to the situation New Zealanders were in a few months earlier, when 10,000 of them were trapped by the Rommel`s German Afrika Korps at Minqar Qaim in June 1942. The New Zealanders decided to break out at the point of a bayonet, in the dead of night, an action that remains disputed to this day. The issue was revived when British historian Sir Max Hastings accused the New Zealanders of having massacred medical staff and the wounded.
One of New Zealand`s most highly decorated intelligence officers
Members of New Zealand`s military intelligence unit have made a rare appearance at the funeral of a top undercover soldier. Bert Cowan commanded undercover operations against the Japanese in World War Two. He was one of our most highly decorated intelligence officers. The current generation of secret warriors came out of the shadows to say goodbye to one of their own. As a sergeant in 1943 he commanded a small force of Kiwis on Mono Island, reporting on enemy positions. They returned a second time to cut telephone lines, to help the allied invasion. His courage earned him the Distinguished Conduct Medal - second only to the Victoria Cross.
WWII air ace Johnny Checketts shot down two V-1 flying bombs
Johnny Checketts, one of New Zealand`s greatest fighter pilots of WWII, has passed away at the age 94. During the war he flew at least 418 sorties, many of them over Nazi occupied Europe. He shot down 14 and a half German aircraft (one shared), two V1 flying bombs, and destroyed two German E boats. On top of this tally were four probable "kills" and at least 11 damaged German aircraft. Twice he was shot down in hair-raising brushes with the Luftwaffe fighters, both times bailing out. He won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and US Silver Star and Polish Cross of Valour.
War hero killed German soldiers disguised as a Nazi paratrooper
A New Zealand war hero broke the international rules of combat by killing German soldiers in WWII while disguised as a Nazi paratrooper. The claim appears in a newspaper report about a new book. Alfred Clive Hulme was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British and New Zealand bravery award, for his actions in the 1941 Battle of Crete. It is there that he killed 33 German snipers and other soldiers while dressed as a German paratrooper.
Maori Battalion Voices Heard Again - Historic CD
It could have been called `the singing Battalion`! When the soldiers of the Maori Battalion sailed for the Second World War, they took with them songs that embodied the love and prayers of those at home. The National Library of New Zealand will soon release an historic CD featuring recordings of the Battalion while it was overseas. Also included are rare recordings by the Battalion`s 1st Reinforcements during a farewell concert, including a message previously not known to have existed from Princess Te Puea Harangi.