Māori Battalion diary - August 1943


More advanced training including night exercises began in August. The specialist platoons were also put through their paces. The Battalion failed at the divisional sports, winning only the tug-of-war.Breaks in training were filled with sports competitions, in-camp entertainment, picnics and district reunions.

During the month the 350-strong Tenth Maori Reinforcements reached Egypt and began training under Captain Rangi Logan and the Battalion’s long-serving NCOs at the NZ Maori Training Depot at Mena.

The Battalion had its full strength of officers again ―31 plus the doctor, padre and YMCA driver of Te Rau Aroha canteen truck. The latter threeplus six new 2/Lts were attached to the unit. 

  • Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel: Reta Keiha (CO)
  • Major: Russell Young (Bn 2 i/c), Chris Sorrensen
  • Captains:Peta Awatere, Jim Henare, Jim Matehaere, Jack Reedy (Adjutant), Tutu Wirepa,Syd Jackson, Reg Mariu, Ted Pohio, Matt Swainson, George Marsden.
  • Temporary Captains: Ted Hayward, Harry Lambert, Peter Ornberg, Monty Wikiriwhi
  • Lieutenants:George Katene, Wally Wordley, Jerry Smith, George McDonald.
  • Second Lieutenants:John (H.M.) Tawhai, Hoani Lawson, Harry Mackey, Henry Northcroft, Everard Jackson, AubreyBalzer, Jackie Pile, Pango Munro, Moana Raureti, Kingi (Hoppy) Hetet.
  • Attached: Capt. Cam, D’Arcy (RMO), Padre Rev, Tunoa Wanoa, Mr Charlie Bennett (YMCA), Second Lieutenants George Tamahori, Riki Smith, Steve Urlich,Wi Anaru, Watene Pahau, Boy Tomoana.


  • 1 Aug, Sun 0600 hrs reveille.0630 hrs sick parade.0700 hrs breakfast. 0815 hrs Coys fall in. 0830 hrs Battalion parade (less Roman Catholic personnel), 0840 hrs Battalion is formed up on Brigade parade ground.0900 hrs Church of England service Padre Tunoa Wanoa and Padre Buick officiating.1000 hrs Holy Communion in 21 Battalion YMCA hut. Quite a good muster over 100 attending. 0835 hrs Roman Catholic Church parade under Capt. Jim Matehaere, who marched the men down to Shafto’s cinema, where the service was held. 1245 hrs Lunch. 1330 hrs fall in and inspection for local leave personnel. 1700 hrs “B” Coy takes over Brigade Guard. 1745 hrs tea. 2215 hrs lights out.
  • 2 Aug, Mon normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0615 -0640 hrs Battalion parade.2/Lt Boy Tomoana marched into Battalion yesterday and was posted to D Coy and loaned out as a Platoon Commander to C Coy. 0930 hrs B and HQ Coy paraded at the RAP for injections ― TAB and VAC. 1115 hrs Battalion 2 i/cs conference with Coy 2 i/cs. 1545 hrs all Battalion NCOs parade for refresher drill under the adjutant and RSM. 1830 – 1930 hrs swimmers training in Maadi baths. 1800 hrs Cairo Piquet of one Officer (2/Lt Hoani Lawson),one Sgt and eight Other Ranks leave Battalion HQ. 2000 – 2130 hrs entertainment by 14. Lt. A. A and Artists in El Djem. C Coy supplies Brigade Guard.
  • 3 Aug, Tues normal routine and training as per syllabus. The morning training was suspended so as to allow them to attend demonstrations with instructions on mines and booby traps given by the Field Engineers. 1130 hrs tug-of-war practice on theMaadi sports ground. Tennis, baseball and swimming in the afternoon. 2/Lt. Tomoana in charge of piquet to Cairo. D Coy supplies Brigade guard at 1730 hrs. Capt. Reg Mariu was evacuated to hospital.
  • 4 Aug, Wed 0600 hrs Coy parade. 0615 hrs Battalion parade, 0700-0730 hrs P and RT. 0800-0900 hrs breakfast. 0930 hrs athletes taking part in the forthcoming Division Sports left Battalion to train on the Tewfik stadium and returned at 1130 hrs. 1230 hrs IO attends IO’s conference at Brigade HQs re proposed exercise towards Fayoum tomorrow. Lt. Rangi Tutaki, 2/Lt Wi Anaru and 2/Lt Richie Davis arrive at Battalion HQ from Mena on a short visit. 1730 hrs Cairo piquet leaves Battalion HQ. 1600 hrs beer issue, two bottles per man was made available. 1800 hrs to 2230 hrs Battalion was out on night manoeuvres and hot tea was served when they returned. 2000–2200 hrs RAF concert party was showing at El Djem. 2/Lt. John Tawhai marched out to camouflage course at Helwan.
  • 5 Aug, Thurs normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0530 hrs to 1230 hrs combined desert navigational exercise was carried between these hours by the various “I” Sections from 5 Brigade under command Capt. Hoggins (IO Brigade). The area navigated was from Mena and southwest to Fayoum and back. 1500 hrs 2/Lt Anaru marched in from Maori Training Depot at Mena. 1600-1630 hrs NCO’s parade. During the afternoon tennis matches were played. Results as follows: “A” Team beat 23 Battalion 9 sets to 0. “B” Team lost to 4 RMT 3 sets to 6.
  • 6 Aug, Fri normal routine i.e. 0515 hrs reveille. 0545 hrs sick parade. 0800 hrs breakfast. 1245 hrs lunch. 1800 hrs tea. 2215 hrs lights out. Training as per syllabus for all companies with the exception of “A” Coy who marched out to the range for a practice shoot. 0700–0730 hrs all companies were out doing P and RT. 1145 hrs pay at rate of 100 piastres was made available to the men. 1330 hrs local leave.
  • 7 Aug, Sat normal routine and training as per syllabus. 1130 hrs 50 cigarettes and matches issued. 1330 hrs local leave personnel inspected and conveyed to town in trucks.
  • 8 Aug, Sun normal routine. Church of England Service at 0830 hrs and conducted by Padre Wanoa on Battalion parade ground. Roman Catholic church parade – Battalion personnel under Capt. Matehaere paraded outside Unit YMCA at 0835 hrs and then marched down to Shafto’s Cinema where a combined Roman Catholic service was held. Local leave as usual in the afternoon.
  • 9 Aug, Mon normal routine and training as per syllabus i.e. 0600 hrs-0700 hrs SAT holding, aiming, firing. 0755 hrs bayonet drill and P & RT. 0900 hrs – 1230 hrs Coy discussion and a field exercise was carried out by the various coys, the exercise taking the form of an attack on a lightly held enemy position, emphasis being made on timing, spacing, distances and firing from the hip. The exercise was carried out in area surrounding and including Pt 99. 0930 hrs CO’s Orderly Room (i.e. where soldiers brought up on charges are told what their punishment will be). Capt. Ted Pohio was evacuated to hospital. The unit’s strength, excluding officers, was 704 ORs, seven of who were attached; 44 ORs were required to bring the unit to full strength. The total number of officers was 39 (nine of whom were attached).
  • 10 Aug, Tues normal routine and training as per syllabus i.e. Battalion route march from 0600 hrs to 0755 hrs. 0900–1230 hrs Coys carried out an exercise in attacking a strongly held enemy position, consolidating ground won, especially in depth and the co-ordination of a fire plan. 0900 hrs – 1115 hrs during this period a combined exercise controlled by the Brigade IO and his section was carried out around the vicinity of Pt. 176 by the three Battalion “I” sections from 5 Brigade. Exercise took the form of field sketching and the laying out of Battalion dispositions. 2000–2330 hrs Battalion out on a night march. A hot supper was served when they returned. 2000–2200 hrs a goodwill USA concert party gave a very enjoyable performance in El Djem.
  • 11 Aug, Wed normal routine but owing to the Division sports being held today, breakfast was had at 0615 hrs. 0715 hrs convoy conveying the Battalion competitors and supporters moved out to Farouk Stadium. Our only points scored today were: first place in tug-of-war, won by Capt. Peta Awatere and his team and a third placing in the hop-step-jump by Pte Barney Kahotea. The remainder of the Battalion had an easy day back in camp. 1600 hrs two bottles of beer issued to each man, one free and the other at 4 piastresper bottle. 1745 hrs NZ Forces Club Piquet comprising of two officers (2/Lt. Harry Mackey and 2/Lt Lawson), three Sgts and 12 ORs leave for Cairo.
  • 12 Aug, Thurs normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0700 hrs 20 Battalion trucks (3-tonners and 15-cwts) left for the workshop at Abbassia for repainting. They returned in the afternoon. 1030 hrs lecture to Battalion HQ by Capt. George Marsden (LO) on air photography.  Sports: Tennis – “A” Team from 28 Battalion beat NZ Division Cavalry Regtiment 9 sets to 0. “B” Team beat 4 Armoured Brigade HQ Squadron by 9 sets. Baseball: 28 Battalion beat 6 Brigade by 11 to 2. 1745 hrs same Piquet as last night left for Cairo again.
  • 13 Aug, Fri normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0900 hrs all surplus blankets over and above the usual two per man were collected and returned to Battalion QM stores. 0950 hrs lecture by Battalion sigs to Battalion HQ on the procedure and working of the new MKII No. 38 W/S. 1200 hrs pay parade, limited to 100 piastres per man. 1400–1600 hrs Battalion (less all of the champion swimmers) held a swimming carnival in the Freyberg Baths, Maadi. HQ Coy “A” team scored most points in the company competitions. 2000–2230 hrs approach march and Battalion attack on Flat Hill comprised the night exercise. The usual NZ Forces Club piquet left for Cairo at 1745 hrs. 2000-2200 hrs an Ensa Revue (stage performance by the Entertainments National Service Association)showed at El Djem.
  • 14 Aug, Sat normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0600-0700 hrs Battalion Parade, P and RT and most of the companies took the opportunity of playing each other at baseball. 0900 – 1100 hrs Battalion route march (desert). 1130 – 1230 hrs CO called a conference of all Battalion officers for a discussion of the weeks work. 0900 hrs IO and I Sgt left to do a recce of the area east of Bir Gindali, where the proposed Battalion manouvres are to be held. 1030 – 1130 hrs Brigade IO lectures to the various “I” Section from 5 Brigade on dispositions and plotting and re-sectioning. 1145 hrs issue of 50 Cigs (Vs) per man.1100 hrs CO in conference with all Coy Commanders. Cairo piquet cancelled by CO’s orders.1800 hrs 2/Lt Tomoana in charge of Brigade leave transport tonight.
  • 15 Aug, Sun church services for all rifle companies while HQ Coy and Battalion HQ, under Capt. Awatere, left in a convoy of nine 3-tonners for the Delta Barrage for a picnic and a day’s outing. Lunch and tea was had on the ground and the party returned at 1930 hrs. 2000–2230 hrs special feature “Blossoms from the Dust” was shown in El Djem. 1700 hrs “C” Coy supplies Brigade Guard. 2/Lt Watene Pahau (MM) marched in from Maori Training Depot at Mena and is posted to 13 Platoon “C” Coy and 2/Lt Tomoana returns to 18 Platoon “D” Coy. Lt Jerry Smith “D” Coy marched out to Maori Training Depot.
  • 16 Aug, Mon normal routine and training as per syllabus. Field exercise in the perfection of battle drill. 0900 hrs war diary for the month of July was delivered to the Chief Archivist Public Relations Department, 2 Echelon. 1000 hrs Battalion officers parade for the GOC. 1030 hrs the GOC Lt. Gen. Freyberg VC is introduced and has a short talk with all Battalion officers. 1030 hrs Cpls Ronnie Koinaki and Oshea gave a lecture and a demonstration on the new Infantry Anti-tank weapon, the PIAT gun. 1125 hrs Maj. Russell Young in conference with all company 2i/cs. 1330 hrs “I” Sgt leave with Brigade’s “I” Sgt. and representatives from 23 and 21 Battalion, from Brigade HQs to recce an area in the vicinity of Aaron’s Gorge suitable for laying out of Brigade defensive line (Exercise). 1330 hrs CO, 2i/c and the IO leave Battalion HQs to do a recce of area East of BirGindali and returned at 1800 hrs. From 1400 – 1730 hrs a friendly cricket match was played on Brigade ground between this Battalion and the Maori Training Depot at Mena, which resulted in a fairly easy win for us. Capt. Rangi Logan led the visitors while Capt. Harry Lambert was skipper of the local team. 1700 hrs “D” Coy supplies Brigade Guard. 1900 hrs Division swimming heats (relays). Our boys won both of their heats in the 12-men and 6-men relay swims. 2000 – 2200 hrs 14. Lt. A.A and Artists perform in El Djem. The unit’s strength, excluding officers, was 680 ORs, nine of who were attached; 63 ORs were required to bring the unit to full strength. The total number of officers was 38 (tenof whom were attached).
  • 17 Aug, Tues normal routine and training as per syllabus i.e., route march from 0600 to 1130 hrs over the desert route towards Wadi El T’th and back. 1130 – 1230 hrs foot inspection and treatment of same at RAP.  Breakfast was taken out to the men in one 15-cwt, i/c 2/Lt. Pango Munro. 0900 hrs a security Cpl from Division HQs visited Battalion HQ and at 1000 hrs Maj. Gordon Ormond and Lt. Jerry Smith from Maori Training Depot at Mena arrived at Battalion but left again at 1130 hrs. While the Battalion was out on the route the “I” Section were out on a practical exercise in the vicinity of Aaron’s Gorge (444091). 1930 hrs 2i/c calls a conference of Coy Commanders to discuss the arrangements made for a Battalion exercise tomorrow evening. 2/Lt George Munn marched in from Maori Training Depot, Mena and was posted to Carrier Platoon HQ Coy.
  • 18 Aug, Wed normal routine. 0600 – 0755 hrs Battalion trained as per Syllabus. 0900 hrs – A, B, C and D Coys left as per convoy for a day’s outing at the Delta Barrage, they had lunch out on the grounds and returned to Battalion at 1630 hrs. 0600 – 0730 hrs IO with the four rifle Coy Commanders did a recce of the area selected for a Battalion attack tonight. 0900 – 1230 hrs HQ Coy under specialists training. 0900 – 1000 hrs IO and all HQ Coy officers carry out a recce of the area assigned to the “enemy” (HQ Coy has been allotted that role for tonight’s exercise). 0900 – 1100 hrs Battalion “I” Section out sketching the above area. 0900 hrs the following OCTU candidates are interviewed by the CO: Sgts Aylmer Kenny, Sid Hau, Percy Lamblyand Cpl Edward (Chappie) Maurice and at 1000 hrs they parade at Brigade HQs for an interview with Brigadier Harding DSO MM. During the afternoon the Battalion cricket XI played and were beaten by 27 (MG) Battalion by 93 runs and the baseball team was beaten by 24 Battalion on the latter’s ground. As the CO and the 2i/c are acting as umpires for the exercise tonight Capt. Matehaere OC D Coy, will act as Battalion Commander for the exercise. 1800 hrs Capt. Matehaere in conference with coy commanders (The CO was also present). 0700 hrs HQ Coy took over orderly duties and the fatigues while the duty Coy went to the picnic. They also supplied the Brigade Guard from 0700 – 1700 hrs. 1700 hrs beer issue and B Coy took over Brigade guard duties. 2000 to 2230 hrs whole Battalion on a night exercise. Tenth reinforcements arrived in the ME from NZ today. Conquest of Sicily completed today successfully. Supper was served to the men when they arrived back after the exercise at 2230 hrs.
  • 19 Aug, Thurs normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0900 hrs CO’s orderly room. 1030–1230 hrs a practical exercise in forming an Anti-tank line was carried out by all the rifle coys. 1345 hrs two 16-cwt trucks left for Mena on a visit with officers and men from this Battalion. Sport:  Tennis versus 19 Armoured Regiment won by 9 sets to 0. Cricket versus 27 Battalion lost by 93 runs. 1700 hrs C Coy takes over Brigade guard duties. Capt. Syd Jackson and 2/Lt Tomoana left at 1130 hrs as “Behaviour Piquet Officers.”
  • 20 Aug, Fri normal routine and training as per syllabus. B Coy moved on transport to the rifle range (Maadi No. 1) at 0600 hrs and returned at 0900 hrs. 0900–1000 hrs CO called a conference of all Battalion Officers in the Sgts’ mess to discuss the exercise carried out on night 18/19 Aug. He also read out a letter he had just received from Brigadier Dittmer (28 Battalion’s original Commander) congratulating the Battalion on its work and deeds up to date. 1000 hrs RMO’s report received. 1130 hrs pay parade. 1400 hrs Battalion officers in conference regarding details of exercise for tonight. 1850 hrs Lt George McDonald reports to Brigade as officer in charge of Brigade leave transport for tonight. 1900 hrs those interested leave Battalion HQ in special trucks to attend reunions of the following districts: King Country and Maunganui. 2000 – 2230 hrs Battalion carries out a night exercise exactly like the one carried out by the Battalion on night 18/19 Aug. Capt. Jackson was acting Battalion Command, 2/Lt WallyWordly i/c A Coy, 2/Lt Anaru B Coy, 2/Lt Mackey C Coy, Capt. Peter Ornberg D Coy while Capt. Hayward was i/c the “enemy” (HQ Coy). The CO Lt-Col Keiha was there keeping an eye on things. Tea was served when the men returned to camp at 2230 hrs. A concert was held in El Djem by a party from NZEME tonight. Maj. Young, Capt. Jim Matehaere, Capt. Jim Henare and Capt. Tutu Wirepa were guests at a dinner given by Lady Freyberg in Cairo.
  • 21 Aug, Sat The day began with a Battalion Parade followed by normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0700 hrs proposed manoeuvres postponed for a week. 1000 hrs Code sitreps received from Brigade. 1130 hrs Capt. Jackson and 2/Lt Lawson leave Battalion to carry out duties with the Cairo “Behaviour Piquet”. Lt George Katene conducted an inquiry re-accident to a 15-cwt truck driven by Pte Charles Kewene. 1130 hrs issue of cigarettes “V” s – 50 per man. 1330 hrs local leave.
  • 22 Aug, Sun normal Sunday Routine with the various church services. Padre Wanoa conducted the Church of England and the Holy Communion while the Roman Catholics under Capt. Matehaere attended the Catholic service in the chapel next to Shafto’s cinema. 2000 hrs Maj. Chris Sorenson and 2/Lt Everard Jackson arrived back at Battalion from attending courses in Palestine. 1000 hrs the CO attended a unit commanders’ conference at Brigade HQs.
  • 23 Aug, Mon normal routine and training as per syllabus. 0900 hrs to 1215 hrs Battalion route march over the desert and onto the Maadi–Helwan Road at Tura, then back along the main road through Maadi and up to the Camp making a total distance covered of a little over 16 km. 1215–1230 hrs foot inspection and treatment at RAP while the rifle Coys were out. 1015 hrs 2i/c’s inspection.1030 hrs issue of respirators (Type MK VI). 1215 hrs 2i/c’s conference with Coy 2i/cs. 1245 hrs lunch. 1345 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders. Padre Huata who had recently arrived in the Middle East with the 10th Reinforcements visited the Battalion for the day. 2000 – 2200 hrs Concert in El Djem by the 14 Lt. A.A.band and a party of entertainers from this Battalion. The unit’s strength, excluding officers, was 664 ORs, nine of who were attached; 89 ORs were required to bring the unit to full strength. The total number of officers was 37 (nine of whom were attached).
  • 24 Aug, Tues normal routine and training as per amendment to syllabus namely: 0600 – 0700 hrs Coy Parade and bayonet drill. 0900 – 1200 hrs Battalion carried out an exercise in embussing, approaching on axis of advance on motorised transport, debussing, deploying and finally an attack on a lightly held “enemy” position by companies. 0600 – 1430 hrs the 2i/c, IO and ISgt did a recce of the proposed area, East of Bir Gindali, for Battalion manoeuvres during the coming weekend. 1300 – 1700 hrs washing and cleaning of clothing and equipment for the Brigadier’s parade tomorrow. 1545–1645 hrs NCOs’ refresher parade with Adjutant and RSMin charge. At 1900 hrs the CO attended unit commanders’ conference at Brigade HQs. 2000 hrs CO called a conference of all company commanders and he released information re the future training operations of the Battalion and also informed them that reinforcements would be joining the Battalion on the 1 September.
  • 25 Aug, Wed normal routine. 0600–0700 hrs Coys prepare for Brigadier’s inspection. 0700–0730 hrs Brigadier Stewart, commanding 5 Brigade, carries out a routine inspection of the Battalion on parade and its area. The rest of the day was utilised in training as per syllabus. 1000 hrs OCTU candidates were interviewed at “G” Office and the first two were selected Sgts Kenney, Hau and Lambly. 1500 hrs seven Bren Carriers were marched into Battalion making now a total of 18 Carriers on strength. 1600 hrs beer issue – one bottle per man.
  • 26 Aug, Thurs normal routine and raining as per syllabus. Battalion parade was cancelled this morning. 0900 – 1000 hrs IO and I Sgt made a quick recce of the Maadi–Helwan road for the purpose of instructing the new members of the “I” Section. 1100 hrs Capt. Wirepa and Padre Wanoa marched out to attend courses, the former to ME Unit Command Tactical Course and the latter to a theological course in Palestine. Sports results this afternoon were Tennis “A” Team defeated the “B” Team by 9 sets to 0. Baseball – lost to 18th Armoured Regiment by 24 to 14. Cricket was cancelled.
  • 27 Aug, Fri normal routine and raining as per syllabus. 0900–1200 hrs “I” Section out on field exercise (road recce). 1100 hrs pay parade. The afternoon was occupied as usual with siesta, recreation, baseball and cricket. Tea tonight was at 1645 hrs. 1900 to 2045 hrs American artists headed by film and radio stars Jack Benny, Larry Adler, Wini Shaw and Ana Lee gave a very polished performance in entertaining the troops in Maadi Camp at El Djem Theatre which was packed to capacity. Lt Gen Freyberg VC etcwas also present. C Coy took over the Brigade guard duties at 1700 hrs. Padre Huata marched in from Mena camp at 1500 hrs.
  • 28 Aug, Satnormal routine and training as per syllabus. Battalion parade was cancelled. 0900 – 1000 hrs inoculations and vaccinations at RAP.  1110 hrs CO attends conference at Brigade HQ. 1150 hrs CO’s conference with Orders Group at Battalion HQ and dealt mostly with arrangements for coming Battalion exercises. 1330 hrs usual local leave, sports etc. 1500 hrs the IO 2/Lt Moana Raureti left to attend Intelligence course in Helwan. 1700 hrs B Coy took over guard duties from C Coy.The unit’s strength, excluding officers, was 655 ORs, ten of who were attached; 98 ORs were required to bring the unit to full strength. The total number of officers was 38 (ten of whom were attached).
  • 29 Aug, Sun routine as per normal and the various church parades.Padre Huata ably conducted the Church of England service which was held outside the YMCA tent. Holy Communion was celebrated immediately afterwards in the tent. The balance of the morning and the earlier part of the afternoon was taken by the men in making preparations for this afternoons move. 1635 hrs Battalion moves from Maadi camp and arrive at Bivouc area at 2015 hrs a little after dusk. Bivvied down by 2030 hrs. 2100 hrs CO called a conference of where instructions were issued relating to the exercise for tomorrow and also for the patrolling and piqueting of the Leaguer Area
  • 30 Aug, Mon 0600 hrs reveille. 0615 hrs the recce group consisting of the CO, 2i/c, I Sgt, A/Tk Officer, Carrier Officer and the MG Officer. 0715 hrs the Coy Commanders arrived at the RV Point when the CO gave out final instructions for Battalion frontal attack on the area around Pt. 409. Breakfast was at 0700 hrs. 0800–0930 hrs Battalion prepares for an approach march and daylight attack. 0945 hrs Battalion leave on the way to the eastern end of Cover Hill and arrive at 1040 hrs, disperse and await start time. Zero hour was 1100 hrs and at 1050 hrs the barrage was opened from the north side of Cover Hill (four 3-inch Mortars firing smoke bombs, two bombs each) and again at 1055 hrs and again at 1100 hrs when the Battalion set out on the attack with two Coys forward, A Coy on the left and D Coy on the right flank, each with a frontage of 550 m, while B Coy and C Coy were in left rear and right rear as reserve Coys. Though the day was brilliantly fine with a strong sun overhead a fairly strong wind marred the effectiveness of the smoke barrage. After the attack had covered about 460m the supporting arms, MG and A/Tk opened out onto points forward with very accurate shooting giving a realistic atmosphere to the exercise. 1120 hrs advance halted on the firing of a red tracer by Capt. Henare to allow the barrage to lift and also to allow the supporting weapons to come forward approximately 1100mand thus give support fire for the attack on the final objective of the day. 1140 hrs attack gets under way again and by 1215 hrs objectives had been captured. A and D Coys halt and go to ground while the reserve Coys passed through and exploited the country forward for a distance of 360m, before they went to ground and all Coys dug in on the features south of Pt. 409. All of the afternoon till darkness the Battalion sat dug in as if under direct enemy fire. Movement was reduced to a minimum. 1800 hrs “O” Gp. conference at Battalion HQ. Details for the dawn attack were then released by the CO. Previous to the conference the CO, 2i/c and I Sgt had made a quick recce of the area in B Coys forward defensive lines where the start line was decided on. 2030 hrs a hot meal prepared in Leaguer Area
  • 31 Aug, Tues 0200 hrs I Sgt and his section moved out from Battalion HQ to lay the tape to mark the start line for beginning of the Battalion’s dawn attack. The start line was 550mlong and on a bearing of 344 degrees from Map Reference 691794. After laying the start line tape the party moved forward 640 m on a compass bearing of 244 degrees and then proceeded to mark and light a gap in an imaginary mine field about 180 m away from the foot of the Gebel. By 0400 hrs all the Coys were waiting and dispersed behind the start line. 0415 hrs was Zero. At signal from the CO the Battalion moved forward with B Coy on forward left, C Coy on right forward, A Coy left rear reserve and D Coy right rear reserve, with the I Sgt on the centre of the advance navigating by compass. The night was dark and cloudy. The advance was maintained but at a very slow pace due to the roughness of the ground. Supporting fire was given by the three-inch mortars and two sections of MMG, while the other section kept up a steady stream of red tracers to mark the Battalion boundaries of advance which was on a bearing of 244 degrees and in the general direction of Pt. 459. By 0445 hrs the ‘minefield’ had been safely negotiated and the advance continued. 0510 hrs the top of the Gebel was taken where the two forward coys halted and went to ground to allow the reserve to pass through and continue the advance. 0535 hrs the Battalion had advanced 1400m when word was received from the CO to halt and consolidate in area approximately along eastern side of Wadi. At 0545 hrs signal to return to the Leaguer area was given and the Battalion started back on a route march of about 8 km in the soft sand. 0730 hrs Battalion arrives at Leaguer area, the men wash and clean up. 0830 hrs Breakfast. 0900 hrs CO calls up “O” Gp. to his car for a short conference when he gave out details about the move back to Maadi. The men spent the remainder of the morning cleaning arms and weapons. 1230 hrs Lunch then cleaning up of area and filing in of silt trenches. 1400 hrs head of column moves off and rests on road. 1415 hrs Battalion moves off on the journey to Maadi. 1415 hrs Battalion arrives back in Maadi and settles down quickly to its base routine.

Topography:during the greater part of the month Battalion trained on area in and around Maadi Camp over easy, undulating and sandy country while the area east of BirHindali, over which the recent manoeuvres were held, was of a more undulating and broken type with numerous wadis running through it.

Weather: during the past month was as usual typically Egyptian – fine, dry and warm during the day whilst by night it was cool and refreshing with low clouds around dawn. Winds were mostly north-westerly.

Equipment: steadily being brought up to establishment.

Rations: usual base standard.


Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
28 (Maori) Battalion War Diary, WAII 1 1666 DA 68/1/44

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