Battalion Diary

Their Stories

  • With the numbers in the unit now close to full strength (i.e. 780 men) the Battalion began training for a new kind of war― highly mobile fighting across the huge spaces of the North African desert.
  • The five months between the evacuation of Crete and the Māori Battalion’s next action was a period of adjustment, consolidation and more training.
  • On Anzac Day 1941 over 500 members of the Māori Battalion were among 16,000 troops who reached Crete after the Allies’ failed campaign in Greece.
  • In late March the 2nd New Zealand Division was sent from Egypt to Greece. Just over 700 members of the 28th (Māori) Battalion disembarked at the port of Piraeus and after two days at Athens they travelled by train to the town of Katerini in a doomed attempt to halt the German invasion.
  • The Battalion had set sail from England for Egypt back in January. At the beginning of March they reached Port Tewfik near the entrance to the Suez Canal. Most of the month was spent adjusting to the new environment and getting fit enough to cope with the hotter climatic conditions.