Johnny Taua

Surname
Taua
Forename(s)
Johnny
Date of death
1984

World War 2

Serial No
809162
Rank
Private
Address on enlistment
Aka Aka, Auckland, New Zealand
Next of kin on enlistment
Mrs P. Ramanui (sister), Pokeno, New Zealand
Notes

Johnny Taua's citation for Silver Star

Private John Taua, NZEF SILVER STAR Rendered for gallantry in action, on the night of 18-19 March 1944 at Cassino Italy. In preparation for an attack, Private TAUA, signals linesman for his unit, received instructions to establish line communication with the right flank attacking company only if enemy fire permitted. Despite heavy shelling and intense machine gun fire, he decided to establish communications by line, and it was solely because of his bravery and determination that line communications was effected. His courageous performance under enemy fire provided a vital contribution to the successful results of the operation.

(Thank you to Saumua for providing this information from the UK National Archives.)

Comments (15)

My Uncle HK Cook [s/n67480] and I visted this vet in Auckland hospiatl at the time of the 28th National reunion in 1984. I was wondering if any one knows when he passed away and next of kin....

I was researching a couple of years ago and would be very interested in finding more information on this man. I cannot find information on how or why he recieved the US Silver Star medal the 3rd most highest military medal awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for award of the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction. So like Juju I would be so pleased to find who this man was and what he did to deserved such a prestigous award.

Kia ora,My name is Ida Kohu, Johnny Taua was my Grandfather.  He died of cancer in 1984 when I was 3.  My mothers elder brother lives in Auckland.  I understand he is the current custodian of Grandad's medal.  Unfortunately because I was so young at the time I never got to know my Grandfather.  I am slowly finding out more about him. 

My uncle told me that the yanks wanted to give a medal to D Company or the platoon and they had to come up with a name...therefore Johnny received the medal on behalf of all of them as the yanks were only going to present one medal.   My uncle was on the selection panel

kia ora my father Te Whiwhi Meha served in Italy and was in C,D companies and HQ.He was one of Peta Awatere`s intelligence officers in Italy.He told me that Johnny Taua and a mate (can`t remember if it was my father) visited an American airbase in Italy and the Yanks asked if they wanted to come for a ride.Johhny said yes and he hopped on board the bomber.Little did he know that the bomber was to be part of a night bombing mission over Germany. The plane took off and was shot down over Germany. Johnny was captured and that was the reason why he was awarded the US Silver Star. The Americans awarded the US Silver Star to all US airmen shot down over enemy territory and one Maori from the 28th Maori Battalion. Morris Meha

(809162) Private John Taua, NZEF SILVER STAR Rendered for gallantry in action, on the night of 18-19 March 1944 at Cassino Italy. In preparation for an attack, Private TAUA, signals linesman for his unit, received instructions to establish line communication with the right flank attacking company only if enemy fire permitted. Despite heavy shelling and intense machine gun fire, he decided to establish communications by line, and it was solely because of his bravery and determination that line communications was effected. His courageous performance under enemy fire provided a vital contribution to the successful results of the operation.

Tena Koutou My name is Valeska Ngatai-Robinson and I am first cousins with Ida and John was also my grandfather. As far as I know my grandfather told my mother (his daughter) that he received the medal because of solely establishing communication under enemy fire as in what saumua stated above. As far as she knows he never received the medal for being captured by the enemy and was never captured.

Helen Savage (nee McLean)  Thanks to everyone for these comment. I am humbled you have shared this information. I am sure you must all be very proud of him

I knew John and his wife as we lived round the corner from from them in Panmure for a number of years and although a quiet man I did see him from time to time at the Battalion parades and functions they ran. My father who was at Cassino also said that John earned his medal in the rubble of Cassino maintaining the communication wires fixing the numerous breaks due to shell fire and the shifting ground of the fighting. The flank companies at this time of the battle were in support of the Maori Battalion attack in to the Continental Hotel area which had destroyed several other battalions due to the strong enemy defences. The Americans were providing some tank and artillery support and needed to have the communications lines open to do this. The man alocated this task was John Taua. To get him close enough to the battle ground where the damage to the lines was being done the Americans put him in a tank and drove him up past the snipers and machine guns which covered the approaches to the battle. For the length of the attack by the Maori battalion John Taua scrambled about in the rubble and destruction of the town under continuous shelling and machine gun fire to maintain the communications so that the supporting arms of the Americans could support the attack. It was an American initiative which earned an American recognition. Thats what my father said about him.

Kia ora tatau,Yes Tuakana you are right, Johnny was awarded his medal for his actions at Cassino. See confirmation in the citation added to the notes above. Nga mihi, Leanne (Site Administrator)

Tena koutou Does anyone have a photo to share on this site?

Kia Ora, my name is Doug, and my father is Brian Taua - one of many sons of John Taua. I never met granddad, he died in 1984, 3 years before I was born. Throughout school I based my speeches on him, he will always be the hero of our family. His last place of residence was in Point England, the home I was bought-up in and the home mum and dad still own to this day. Dad said when he asked granddad, that he was honoured the medal upon maintaining the communication lines whilst under fire, an act of bravery which largely contributed to the success of the battle. He continues to be an amazing man…. the Maori boy from Tainui who wanted to see the world.

What wonderful stories, tinged with sadness. John Taua's cousin Seagar Kirkwood aka Ngatokorua Kirkwood is buried at Cassino War Cemetery. I visited uncle Seagar who was my dad Tommy Noble's first cousin in 2005 and I stayed the night in the village just so I could say goodnight and good morning then goodbye to him. At the time I didn't know anything about uncle Johnny Taua having fought at Cassino (whanau didn't talk then about this stuff) heoi, the next lot of whanau to visit can have a good chin wag with them. Nga mihi Phyllis nee Noble