Report from the first Battalion reunion


Radio report from the first reunion of the Māori Battalion held in Wellington on the 25 February 1947.  This extract introduces the programme and refers to the former Battalion commanders attending, including George Dittmer, R.R.T. Young, Charles Bennett and Monty Fairbrother, as well as Major Rangi Royal.


Radio Announcer: Hello people this is 2ZB broadcasting from the Savage Club Hall on the occasion of the first annual reunion of the 28th Māori Battalion and Māori Service Personnel.  Also present is your OC Services Session the Sgt Major, so I'll hand over the parade to Jock now, carry on Sgt Major.

Sergeant Major: Thanks Peter, well here we are and these chaps from the 28 Battalion and other Māori Service Personnel from the Navy and Air Force and also Māori who served in other Army units are all sitting down in a proprietary little drop of eating before the show really starts.

Radio Announcer: Who are some of the notable ex-commanders of the Battalion here Jock?  I see there are quite a few of them.

Sergeant Major: Yes Peter, well at the head of the table and presiding at the show is Colonel Dittmer.  Colonel Dittmer was the original Commanding Officer of the Battalion.  He commanded them in England with the 2nd Echelon, in Greece and Crete and in the 41 Libyan Show.  Other Māori Battalion Commanders, Colonel RRT Young, he was the Commander in Italy I think, for awhile.  Colonel CM Bennett, came back the year before last, he was the second last Battalion commander.  Colonel Fairbrother, also who commanded them.  I can also see at the head of the table Brigadier Hanson who was our CRE, at one stage with the Engineers.  Major Rangi Royal, whose name will always be tied up with that of the 28th Battalion.  Those I can see from here.

Radio Announcer: And representing the RSA is Mr MR Jones and representing the 2NZEF Association Mr Felix Wood.  The hall is, the tables are laden with really good looking food and at the head of the hall behind the chairman is a New Zealand ensign which has quite a history.  It's about a 12' by 6' flag.  That was the original flag taken over by the Māori Battalion, it came from Palmerston North went right through all the campaigns finished up somewhere in Italy.  It was finally brought back to New Zealand by Colonel Henry.


Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 32513. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Submitted by mbadmin on