The Battalion were heading to Menastir, near the main Tobruk-Bardia road. They engaged with an advance guard of a German supply column. It was a difficult battle with the Germans suffering many casualties - many of which were taken to hospitals. At least one hundred were taken prisoner. In comparison the Māori Battalion suffered one death and four were wounded. The Māori Battalion returned to the barracks at Sollum. Colonel Dyer arrived to take command of the Battalion and on the 9th of December they left Sollum for Tobruk. The gift from the people at home arrived - mobile canteen, and tears fo joy flowed. Major Love has suffered a severe injury and is in hospital. The Battalion left Tobruk and Kroma on the 11th of December.
This recording in Māori is part four of a fuller broadcast made by the Māori Battalion from Libya in 1941.
[Macrons are not shown as users have the advantage of listening to the recording to see which vowels require emphasis.]
No te tahi o nga ra o Tihema ka haere atu matau ki Menastir ki te rori nui tonu i waenganui o Bardia me Tobruk. Ko te mahi o reira e whakaritea ma matou he tiaki taua rori kia kaua te hoariri e hoki whakamuri ki Bardia. No te toru o nga ra o Tihema ka tukua etahi o nga tamariki ki mua hei kanohi mo te ope nui ki muri. No te awateatanga ka hoki mai ratou me te korero kei te haere mai i te hoariri me ona mano. Ka haere te korero a te matua o te ope, "Tukua kia piri". He mea uaua tenei i nga pakanga o enei ra. Engari, i te mea kua Māori katoa nga apiha i tenei wa, kaati me whakamatau ki ta nga tupuna. Tukua mai ana kia uru rawa mai te hoariri ki a matou, katahi ano ka puhia. Tino mate te hoariri. Ka mahue nga mea mate, ka hoki muri nga mea ora, ka noho ia mai ano. No te wha o nga haora i te ahiahi ka kokiritia e te whanau ki te peneti. Ka mutu tena pakanga. E rua rau e ono tekau nga mea mate o te hoariri i taea te tatau. E kotahi rau e ono tekau ma rima nga mea i mauherehere. Nuku atu i te rau nga mea i tu, i mauria mai ki to matou hohipera. E kotahi tonu o matou i mate, e wha i tu. Ka pai ano ta nga tipuna whakahaere. I te wha o nga ra o Tihema ka hoki ano matou ki Sollum. No tenei wa ka taea ake tetahi o matou kaumatua a Colonel Dyer hei kaiarahi te ope. No te iwa o nga ra, ka mahue i a matou e Sollum. Hanga atu ki nga takiwa o Tobruk. I te rori ka noho matou ka whakanga mo te po kotahi. I te tekau o nga ra o Tihema ka tae ake te mobile canteen a te whanau e noho mai nei i te kainga ki roto ra no i te mura o te ahi. Ka korero i nga tuhituhi o runga, ka heke nga roimata. Tena koutou te whanau. No tenei wa ka pa tetahi mate taumaha ki a Major Love ka whakahokia ki te hohipera. Tekau ma tahi o nga ra ka mahue mai a Tobruk, ka mahue mai a Acroma. Atu o tenei wa, tae noa ki te mutunga ka riro ko te ope Maori ki mua.
On 1 Decermber we went to Menastir via the main road between Bardia and Tobruk. The task given to us there was to guard the road thus preventing the enemy retiring to Bardia. On the 3rd December some of the boys were sent forward to reconnoitre for the Battalion. At dawn they returned with news that the enemy was approaching in great numbers. The order given by the CO of the Battalion was, "Allow them to come close." This is a difficult thing to do in modern warfare. However, because all the officers are Maori at this time, well this was an opportunity to adopt the way their ancestors fought. The enemy were permitted to come right into our positions, then we opened fire. The enemy suffered heavily. The dead were left behind while those who survived retreated and took updid well again because our ancestors officers were in control defensive positions again. At 4pm the Battalion attacked with bayonets. That was the end of that battle. Of those enemy who were able to be count ed 260 were dead, and 165 taken prisoner. More than 100 were woundedand taken to our hospital. Only one of our men died while four were wounded. We did well again because our ancestors/officers were in control. On the 4th December we returned to Sollum. At this time one of our senior officers, Colonel Dyer, was promoted to CO. On the 9th we left Sollum and headed to the region near Tobruk . We spenty a night along the road. On the 10th December the mobile canteen, from our relatives at home, turned up in the frontline. When we read the words [on the vehicle] tears fell. Thank you to our families. At this time Major Love is very ill and has returned to hospital. On the 11th December we left Tobruk and we left Acroma. From then until the end [of the Libyan Campaign] the Maori Battalion has remained the spearhead [of the 5 Brigade advance].
[Editors notes - there is intermittent static throughout the sound file. Portions of the transcript in italics were difficult to transcribe or translate.]
Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. (sa-u-1415-s02-sc-pm).Image: M. L. Underhill et al., 1950, New Zealand Chaplains in the Second World War, War History, p.30