Captain Rangi Logan commander of D Company gives a brief update on their activities during the Libyan campaign.
In Menastir they fought alongside A Company and at Gazala they flanked the Polish. Capt. Logan comments on the loss of Jack Tainui who was in charge of one of the D Company platoons.
This recording is part six of a fuller broadcast made by the Māori Battalion about the Libyan campaign in 1941.
[Editors note - there is static throughout the sound file]
I am honoured and deeply grateful for the privilege afforded me of speaking to the men and relatives of the men of D Company who fought under my command throughout the Libyan campaign. Their loyalty and staunch support is not born of unity of blood or tribe, but of comradeship in arms. For one knows that men of D Company are drawn from Waikato, Taranaki, King Country, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and the South Island. When I took over command at Sollum it was the morning of the assault upon the barracks. We had suffered casualties like other companies but prepared for the next task. My platoon commanders were Mr Matehaere of Tirau, Mr Ormsby of Te Kuiti, and my great friend Sergeant Tainui of the South Island. In the Battalion action at Menastir after Sollum Mr Matehaere particularly distinguished himself by his fine leadership. While in command of our left flank. In this action together with the Ngapuhis on our right, we annihilated German Battalions' for the loss of one man killed. The actions of the company after this can best be described in the actions of the battalion. At Gazala we had the pleasure of fighting side by side with the Poles because attacking on the left flank of the Battalion in broad daylight we were supported on our left by them. However, several of my men had the unenviable experience of being mistaken for Italian troops and being taken prisoner by them. In this same attack D Coy suffered its greatest calamity, Jack Tainui one of the finest soldiers in our battalion was killed. It was our last fight and if he'd survived the attack for another ten minutes he would have been here now. However, such are the fortunes of war. I was proud of my men and you have every reason to be proud of them. We are back now and we have received reinforcements who will prove as good as those who have gone. In officers too we are reinforced. So my second in command is Mr Ormond of Mahia, my platoon commanders are Mr Matehaere of Tirau, Mr Ropata of Wellington and Mr Tikao-Barrett of Christchurch. With these officers and the men now in our ranks I have every faith in the future.
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-1416-s01-sc-pm)
Alexander Turnbull Library
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The full photograph, from the Alexander Turnbull Library, can be seen here.