Interview between Patira Edwards (25844) and Megan Hutching.
Patira Edwards describes his first encounter with German troops in Greece in April 1941.
We saw the [Germans] out in the distance a fair way off. It's very wooded there. You could just see the tops of their tanks or their trucks moving about. We thought, Oh well, that’s it. That’s the start. We might see the eyes of the angry man after all.
The day we saw them moving about, we could hear them putting over four-inch mortars. They lobbed some shells over in different areas and a couple of them landed behind us where we had all our food stored. A lot of the tinned stuff had holes in it from the shrapnel. We went up in the afternoon to get some food and [the quartermaster] showed us where these shells landed. God. First time I’d seen shell holes. They weren’t big ones, but they were shell holes.
On our way back they were machine-gunning the area where we were walking. They were spraying the area with machine-gun fire. You could hear them zinging all around you. They make a peculiar noise. They zing….That was the first time that I’d been shot at. Well, if your number’s on it, that’s it. You just duck and dive around, hoping you’re ducking the right way.
Patira Edwards, Ngāpuhi (1919-2005), interviewed by Megan Hutching, 27 November 2000, for the Second World War oral history project - Crete
From the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library Oral History Centre, OHInt-0729-08. All rights reserved. Permission of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage must be obtained before any re-use of this sound file
Image: Patira Edwards.