Sons of the Bishop: Captain Frederick Tiwha Bennett

This article appeared in the April 1992 NZ 28 Maori Battalion Reunion booklet.   

Captain Frederick Tiwha Bennett

Tiwha, because of his previous experience in transport, was posted as 2nd lieutenant to the Battalion in Palmerston North as Transport officer, a position he held until after the Campaign in Greece.

On the 16th December 1940 Tiwha left England for Egypt in charge of an advance party of 82 personnel from the transport and carrier platoons and an anti-aircraft section. This group took with them the Battalion vehicles and unwanted baggage.

Tiwha was with the Battalion in Greece and Crete and the position of Transport officer was an exactingly difficult one, especially during the retreat from the Olympus Pass. There his platoon succeeded, under great pressure from the enemy and in the face of atrocious night time weather, in evacuating the troops.

In Crete, Headquarters Company was organised into a rifle company and Tiwha was given command of the three platoons. He was severely wounded in a rearguard action near MALEME aerodrome during the Battalion's evacuation, wounds notwithstanding he managed to organise, along with the Bn Medical officer, Charlie Mules, a group of other wounded to make their way over the White Mountains to the evacuation point at SFAKIA and in this way got themselves out of Crete. Members of the group credit their survival to Tiwha's leadership.

After the return to Egypt Tiwha moved from Transport to a platoon commander in B. Coy. At one stage he was acting O.C. for B. Coy during the Libyan Campaign of late 1941.

At the end of the Campaign he was appointed to a senior position at Base Camp, Maadi. He completed his military service and returned to N.Z. with the first furlough draft.

On his return to civilian life, he completed a degree in dentistry and had a thriving dental practice in Auckland until his death in 1967.

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Comments (1)

He tamaiti a Tiwha nā te wahine tuatahi a Pihopa Bennett arā a Hana Park me te Pihopa.