Maori Battalion diary - November 1943

November 1943


The Battalion is in Taranto, Italy training and officers are undertaking Division exercises.  They pre-record a broadcast that includes a concert and messages home. Later in the month the Battalion are in reserve as the 2NZEF begin their advance on the Sangro.

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel: Monty Claude Fairbrother (CO)
  • Major: Russell Young (Bn 2IC), Chris Sorenson
    Captains: Peta Awatere, JC (James) Henare, Kereti Mariu, Jack Reedy, Tutu Wirepa, SF (Syd) Jackson, MP (Matt) Swainson
  • Temporary Captains: Harry Lambert, Peter Ornberg, Monty Wikiriwhi, Rangi Tutaki
  • Lieutenants: George Katene, George McDonald, Walter Wordley, George Tawhai, Henry Northcroft, Clarence Balzer, John Pile, Pango Munro, Moana Raureti, Lu Paul, Kingi Hetet, Wi Anaru, Riki Smith, George Tamahori, Boy Tomoana, Stephen Urlich
  • Attached: Capt. Cam D’Arcy (RMO), Capt. (Rev) WT Huata (Padre), Mr Charles Bennet (YMCA) .
  • Temporary Second Lieutenants: WE (Wally) Jones, M Mahuika, Monty Searancke.
  • Second Lieutenants: Benjamin Christy, TC Baker. Lt WH Prescott (QM)


  • 1 Nov, Mon Routine as per RO 111. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re the days programme: Coys are to allot times to packing the various clothing and equipment in battle orders, also to practice section formations (blob system) afterwards. 0830 hrs Battle orders (ordinary, light and heavy) typed and copies forwarded to all Officers and Section Commanders. 0830 – 1000 hrs Coys packing for battle orders. 1000 – 1100 hrs Coys out on training area practicing section group formations. 1115 hrs All Officers and Sigs Platoon personnel attend a lecture by Division Sigs Officer on the new Sigs procedure. 1200 hrs Issue of NAAFI goods as per table (appendix) 1330 – 1630 hrs All Coys excepting C Coy out training on area: section training and field work. 1400 hrs Football: Battalion HQ v 15 Platoon C Coy. Win for former 8 – 3. 1830 hrs HQ Coy do night training exercise. Other Coys remain in camp. P/O Bennet leave for his station. Meteorological: Likelihood of rain all day but fortunately passed by. Overcast but fine. Slight easterly breeze. Warm night.
  • 2 Nov, Tues No RO issued today. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coys parades. Coys then go out to training areas and conduct Platoon exercises – section lines of advance and sections in blob formations. 0900 hrs Padre Huata pays a visit to Taranto to see the sick. 1330 hrs Coys out training again on the training area. War correspondent visits Battalion to contact the CO re the broadcasting. CO inspects HQ Coy in Battle Order. 1430 hrs Division APM visits the Battalion re a case of alleged wine theft. CO, 2i/c and IO recce start lines for the Coy exercises tomorrow night. 1730 hrs 2i/c’s conference with Coy 2i/c’s re the broadcast by the personnel. 4th and 5th reinforcements to be given first preference – total number allocated to the Battalion 80. Battalion issue of soap on a basis of 4 men to a cake. 1800 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re the standard of training achieved to date and also the programme for tomorrow. Instructions from Brigade re camouflage and training in this type of country read out. 1900 hrs RSM and provosts visit Statte and collect a few more offenders. Meteorological: Beautifully fine day – perfect conditions. Very chilly at night, but a clear starry night. Promise of another fine day.
  • 3 Nov, Wed Routine as per RO 112. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy parades after which Coys go out to the training areas and conduct Platoon training – Platoons advancing with 0 gaps forward. CO’s Orderly room – many cases of AWL. 1200 hrs Coys return from training. 1300 hrs CO, 2i/c, Adj, IO and Sigs Officer attend wireless procedure exercise at Division and return at 1500 hrs. 1430 hrs 5 Coy Commanders, Carrier Mortar Officers and IO Regiment Sigs personnel attend same exercise at Division HQ. Return at 1700 hrs. Purpose of exercise to accustom all Officers to new procedure in W/T. 1530 hrs War correspondent and broadcasting equipment arrive at Battalion. 80 members allocated mainly as: -
    1. 4th and 5th Reinforcements first preference.
    2. Tribal or district representatives.
    Padre address for Battalion as a whole. Speeches subject to certain restrictions – mention only the Battalion in Italy. Messages would not be broadcast till after Xmas. 1800 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re the night training programme. 1830 hrs A, HQ and B Coys form up in order on Rd. Junc. 738 218 north of Battalion area 200 yards and march to start point. Whole purpose of exercise long approach march to start line and route march back. Start points of Coys in order D, C, A, HQ and B as follows: 736 227, 738 223, 744 219, 751, 215, 755 213. All Coys on 290 Mag bearing. General start line for forming up on at end of cross-country march. Trig 272 Belmonte along track to Mess a Cesse 765 244. Route march via track down main road to turn off 770 210 and along track to camp. 2200 hrs Coys arrive in from exercise. D Coy completed 9 miles. Meteorological: Overcast day mainly but clearing up by evening. Light mist in early evening very clear and starry during night. Snipers handed over to Intelligence Section for Map work. 
  • 4 Nov, Thurs No RO’s issued. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coys after Coy parade march out to training areas and conduct field signals training and practicing the various methods of crawling. Coys return at 1200 hrs. Camp: CO and IO recce a deserted house Toretta 750 229 for exercise tomorrow – house clearing and return through the Coys during training and view Coys. 1330 CO inspects A Coy in Battle Order. 1400 hrs CO inspects B Coy in Battle Order. 1530 hrs Major Young lectures to all Battalion on the Pacific situation and the Russian front. Lecture was given by Brigadier Stewart to Officers yesterday. 1800 hrs Battalion hold a singsong between A and B areas with big bonfire. 5 Brigade Band in attendance and render items. 1630 hrs CO’s conference with Commanders re programme for tomorrow. Lecture to be given on economy of arms and house clearing. 1830 hrs 2i/c’s conference re collection of all summer wear and anti-malarial equipment and ointment. Coys now parade leave personnel at Battalion HQ. Dress laid down: Battle dress, FS caps and gaiters. All passes handed in at Battalion HQ on arrival and not to Coy Orderly Rooms. Health: Evacuations to date: total 10. Dysentery 1, Malaria 1 (Capt Matehaere), Bells Palsy 3, NYD 3, Accidental Injuries 2. Weather: A perfect day. Fine and sunny northeasterly breeze. Very chilly by 1600 hrs and cold overnight. Promise of fine day again.
  • 5 Nov, Fri Routine as per RO 113. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy Parades after which march out to training areas. Lecture on economy of ammo and fire control. C Coy detailed by CO to carry out house clearing demonstration. Coy set off and rehearsed stunt for afternoon. 0900 hrs Summer clothes called in but order counter-commanded by Brigade HQ. Summer wear to be worn till prior to move. However anti-malarial tablets and containers and veils recalled. 1000 hrs Original War diary for October forwarded to CO and Adj for passing and forwarded. Snipers on compass marching. 1400 hrs Coys go out to watch C Coys demonstration in order HQ, B and A in column of route. Scene of demonstration: Toretta MR 75002295. CO addresses Battalion on principles of house fighting followed by OC C Coy (Capt Wirepa) who then explained the method and plan of assault made by 13 Platoon under 2/Lt J Baker. All Coys go through house to see the structure etc. 1530 hrs Coys return and carry on with pay. Pay issued in Lires an allied currency, in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100. 1600 hrs NAAFI issues on a 2-week basis. (Officers and Sgts. – 2 to 1 bottle of gin). 120 cigarettes, 2 razor blades, 2 PK, 2 Matches, 3 chocolates and cake of soap issued all ranks. Pipe tobacco, shaving soap, toothpaste sold separately, as there were not enough to go around. No night training for the Coys. 1930 hrs The Adj caught more offenders at Statte. Weather: Fine during day incline to be overcast towards evening. Slight rain about midnight cleared up in the morning. Northeasterly wind slight.
  • 6 Nov, Sat 0630 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy Parades and Coys then go out to training area and conduct house and village training exercises. CO, Padre, RMO, Maj Sorenson and Capt Wirepa and Henare visited Bari for the day. 0900 hrs Parades at Battalion HQ for leave personnel. Battalion LO arrives with situation map and Intelligence Summary No 7. CO car involved in a slight accident en route to Bari. Not much activity latter part of the day as weather was adverse. Constant steady rain all afternoon. Malarial precautions now extinct. 1330 hrs CSM Kohere, C Coy OCTU candidates leave for Division to join other candidates, returning to Egypt. 1830 hrs Night training cancelled due to wet weather. Weather: Slight rain overnight about midnight and early morning.
  • 7 Nov, Sun 0630 Reveille. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights Out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy Parades for Battalion Church parade area adjacent to Battalion Orderly room. Padre WT Huata officiated. Service in English. 5 NZ Infantry Band assisted. Holy communion followed after church service. 0900 hrs CO, 2i/c, Adj, IO and Sigs Officer attended Brigade Sigs instruction at Division HQ till 1200 hrs. 1415 hrs Inter Coy football: Battalion HQ v C Coy Lost 6-3. D v HQ 2 Won 6-0. HQ 1 v A Won 5-3. Heavy rain in the afternoon and spoilt the football. 1830 hrs Night training cancelled. 1500 hrs Photos of enemy equipment received from Brigade for information of all personnel. Intelligence Summary No 7 forwarded to Coys for perusal. CO car still out. Meteorological: Conditions cleared up by morning then fine overcast sky till about 1500 hrs when steady downpour consistent. Northeasterly wind.
  • 8 Nov, Mon Routine as per RO 114. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy commanders with CO re days training Coy to carry out river crossing drill. However heavy downpour of rain all morning confined to quarters. Cleared up about 1200 hrs – thereafter fine for rest of day. 1000 hrs Division HQ move forwarded to Lucera area. 23 Battalion vehicles arrive in. 1330 hrs Coys prepare to go out to training areas but deputation arrives from Statte, headed by Italian Officer and priest witnesses and at CO’s wish all Coys parade for identification Parade. Case 1 - Italian beaten by 2 B Coy boys and also robbed with violence. 1400 hrs Coys go through identification parade and 3 Offenders picked out. Football semi-finals cancelled due to wet weather. 1500 hrs Pay in lire, pay up to 20th November. 1830 hrs Broadcasting again by War correspondent. Battalion concert programme to accompany speeches. Padre Huata announcing. Speeches by Coy Commanders, then items by each Coy. Statte declared out of bounds to all troops of the 28 Maori Battalion. Italian orphan also star in items with broadcast. 1900 hrs Adj RSM provosts visit Statte to visit injured Italian. Concert held by bonfire in B Coy area. Meteorological: Rain most of the day and night. Then cleared up about 0800 hrs. Then heavy downpour till about 1200 hrs. Clear for remainder of day and night. Southeasterly wind very cold and chilly.
  • 9 Nov, Tues Routine as per RO 115. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy Parades. Coys out training – village and street fighting. Snipers training with Battalion HQ Intelligence Section. 0820 hrs CO’s conference re days training programme. 1330 hrs Coys go out on independent route marches. 1530 hrs C and D Coys play off semi final won by D Coy 8 – 5. 0900 hrs Inquiry into injury to Statte Italian. Evidence taken by Maj. Sorenson from two accused. Interpreter from Martina procured for the case. Dr D’Arcy RMO visits the injured man for examination purposes. 1330 hrs CO, IO and I Sgt set out course for Coys exercise tomorrow. Flanking attack by Coys. Drying tent established at Battalion HQ area. 1400 hrs Tobacco and matches issue from NAAFI stores. 1830 hrs Coys out on night training – fighting patrols carried out by all Coys. Supply of Xmas air graphs arrive on basis of three per man. 1900 hrs Capt Wordley evacuated to hospital with fractured finger. Meteorological: Very changeable weather. Fine early morning then overcast during remainder of day – almost threatening to rain – very cold and chilly all day. Evening fine and bright moonlight – fairly stiff northerly breeze.
  • 10 Nov, Wed RO 116 issued. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy parades – Coys out training, field craft return at 1200 hrs. 1330 hrs Short arm inspection cancelled due to wet weather. Football HQ v B Coy cancelled also. 1600 hrs CO inspect HQ in battle order. Some of the Coys out for short route march in afternoon. 1000 hrs I Section prepare the exercise for A and B Coys. Tobacco, cigarettes and papers on issue from Unit YMCA. Capt Wirepa leaves as advance party for Lucera. CO’s car arrived from Brigade after repairs. 1830 hrs Night exercises (flanking attack by two Coys) on common objective cancelled due to wet ground. Maj Sorenson completion of evidence in Statte Italian case. Meteorological: Very cold night and morning – morning overcast and slight rain – afternoon slight rain in part but cold and fine overcast remainder.
  • 11 Nov, Thurs Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0830 hrs Coy Parades. 0900 hrs Maj Awatere president, Lt G McDonald, 2/Lt Raureti and 2/Lt Northcroft on FGCM – 21 Battalion. 1330 hrs Short arm inspection for whole Battalion. 1300 hrs CO and I Sgt recce for exercise – Battalion in defence. Coy parades and route marches. 1400 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re: - (1) Exercise tomorrow. Battalion in defence along feature Pt 272 Belmonte – 264 to Messa Cessilone on 4 Coy front: - programmes of training until Monday. 1500 hrs Semi-finals HQ (A) v B Coy – win 3 -0. No night training carried out.
  • 12 Nov, Fri RO. 117 issued. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0815 hrs CO and IO move out to Battalion in defence area (Belmonte Ridge) as per appendix, per jeep followed by OGps Coy Commanders in Platoons. 0830 hrs Coys under 2i/c’s march to Toretta, Pt 195. 0845 hrs CO allots Coy areas per diagram and Coys dig in and prepare line for defence. 1200 hrs Lunch out on defensive areas. 1300 hrs I Sgt return to Battalion per jeep and guide Brigadier K Stewart to Battalion HQ. 1400 hrs Brigadier, CO and IO move around area and view in particular C and D areas. 1530 hrs Exercise completed and Coys return to Battalion. 1730 hrs CO’s criticism re training exercise. Programme for tomorrow brought out – attacks on defence area. 1800 hrs Capt Wirepa (advance party) return having recced Battalion area in Division Staging area Lucera.
  • 13 Nov, Sat RO 118 issued. Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. Tattoo 2115 hrs. Lights out 2130 hrs. 0815 hrs HQ Coy split up to 4 represent A B, C and D Coys march out to defence area and take up positions. 0845 hrs A, B, C and D Coys moved out and attacked the various positions as below: A (D) 2/Lt Urlich. B (C) 2/Lt Balzer. C (B) 2/Lt Christy and D (A) 2/Lt Hetet. Coys attacked independently and infiltration carried out. Coys return for dinner. 0815 hrs 2i/c, Capt’s Reedy, Henare, Ornsberg, Wikiriwhi, Tutaki and Huata leave per 2i/c’s instructions and PU for Bari for days leave. Lt- Col McIlroy’s car pinched last night. 2/Lt Taylor 23 Battalion i/c plonk house report to CO, sheep sticking incident last night. 1000 hrs CO visits brigade to attend Brigadier conference re the staging areas and move up. IO visits Brigade also with court matters re 21 Battalion Case and general Intelligence methods. IO and section recce range adjacent Statte. Afternoon free: - washing of clothing and cleaning up of areas. 1400 hrs CO, IO and Coy Commanders recce to range (704 226) return per route to clear town (south). 1630 hrs On return to camp CO hold conference on nights exercise – compass and pincer move on two fronts. 1830 hrs Coys leave on exercises – converging attacks by 2 Coys on a common objective. 2030 hrs A and B Coys return. 2130 hrs – 0500 hrs IO and A Coy PU went to Bari to pick up D Coy PU, but did not meet or see D Coys PU on the road. Weather: - Fine day – fairly warm in the evening. Bright evening moonlight.
  • 14 Nov, Sun 0800 hrs No RO issued. Coys formed up in hollow square in front of Battalion HQ. Service conducted by Padre Huata. Holy communion afterwards in same area. 0930 – 1230 hrs All Officers attend at HQ Coy W/T procedure supervised by CO. 1330 – 1400 hrs Officers again conduct W/T exercise. 1500 hrs Football: 28 Battalion HQ v 23 Battalion HQ – win 8-3. A v C – win C Coy 9-3. Finals for Coy matches D Coy v HQ – win for D Coy 11-3. Free night. Washing of clothes etc. during day. Cleaning weapons in preparation for firing at range tomorrow.
  • 15 Nov, Mon Routine as per RO 119. 0830 hrs CO’s orderly room dealing mostly with AWLs. 0900 hrs FGCM held at Battalion HQ, Pte A Paul and SV Anderson assault and robbery – Maj Ross 23 Battalion President, Capt Reedy prosecutor while 2/Lt Smith and Capt Wikiriwhi under instructions. 0830 – 1200 hrs Rifle Coys marched out to range ten rounds per rifle and one mag each Bren were fired. In the afternoon 28 Battalion Sig Platoon played 23 Battalion Sig Platoon at rugby and were beaten 10 – 9 also 12 Platoon B Coy played A/Tk Platoon and won. CO holds Coy Commanders conference; further maps were received from Brigade.
  • 16 Nov, Tues Routine as for Monday. CO, IO and batman leave Taranto to link up with Brigade Orders GP which left to make a recce of the forward area (battle front). They took six days rations with them. Coys out on route march all the morning. Maj Sorenson and party went to Bari for the day. In the afternoon, football. A team was picked from 4 – 7 reinforcements playing one picked from 8 – 10 reinforcements and after a scintillating and grueling game the former came out winners by 12 – 10.1830 hrs Sing song in camp area 5 Brigade band was in attendance. B Coy arranged the bonfire and supplied the supper. HQ Coy made use of the range at Pt. 704 226 (Taranto) all the morning. 0800 hrs 2i/c’s conference at Battalion HQ re details for leaving the camp area clean and tidy. Codex, keywords, strips and map reference code received from Brigade. Maj Young during the absence of the CO is acting CO. Capt Lambert is acting TO for this move.
  • 17 Nov, Wed Routine as per RO No 119 (16/11/43). 0800 hrs 2i/c in Conference with all Coy Commanders (Order GP) re details for tomorrows move (see movement order) after which the Coys set to packing and getting ready. There was no training. Lt Prescott (QM) left for Bari this morning to arrange to pick up boots etc from orderly. 1500 hrs 30 RMT vehicles, i/c Lt Todd, reported to Battalion HQ and were allotted to Coys as follows: - 8 to each Rifle Coy, 6 to HQ Coy. Lined for night along Rd east of Battalion area. Weather: Cold day – showery during evening.
  • 18 Nov, Thurs 0500 hrs Reveille. 0600 hrs Breakfast after which the men packed up and loaded the trucks, cleaned area and the road. 0730 hrs Battalion moved off in rear of 5 Field Ambulance. Battalion order of March: - 2i/c’s PU, Battalion HQ (7 trucks), A Coy (8), B Coy (8), C Coy (8), RMT HQ (5) and QM (5) and followed instructions in 5 NZ Infantry Brigade movement order, reaching staging area northwest of Altamura at 1245 hrs. All had haversack lunch and tea supplied by the cooks. Owing to the late arrival of tpt allotted to HQ Coy they did not leave till 0900 hrs and did not arrive at the area till 1500 hrs. The Battalion bivouacked for the night. 1430 hrs Tea. 1800 hrs Acting CO Maj RRT Young held conference with all Coy Commanders re details for tomorrow’s move. Weather: Cloudy but fine, though noticeably colder as we rolled further north and inland – roads very fair considering nature of country traversed.
  • 19 Nov, Sat Reveille 0400 hrs. Breakfast 0500 hrs after which the men packed and loaded their trucks, embussed and were lined up with the head of each Coy GP resting at right angles to exit from Battalion staging area – this was completed by 0600 hrs. 0615 hrs The Convoy moved off in rear of ADS (5 Field) headed by the acting CO Maj Young in his PU followed by Battalion HQ vehicles then A, B, C, D, HQ Coys, RMT Coys and Platoon HQ, then came the QM trucks with two water carts bringing up the rear of the column with TO Capt Lambert (acting). The Convoy made good progress all the way to the Brigade staging area southwest of Lucera. Though numerous stops were made they were due mostly to one-way bridges and demolitions, however we arrived safely at 1130 hrs at HO 63192 with the exception of two – 3 tonners from HQ Coy due to engine trouble. They turned up two hours later. The route followed was as laid down in movement order that is: Via Corato, Andria, Canosa, Cerigno Las Santerano, Foggia, Lucera and onto the staging area at HO 63192. 1330 hrs Light lunch. The men set to making themselves as comfortable as possible as we were to spend two days and nights in the present area. Battalion arrived to find Capt Mariu and 2/Lt Pile had already established in the area with a number of the Battalion tpt which had moved out to the area directly, they were unloaded off the Boats at Bari. The Bren Carriers however had moved off further forward on TK Trpts and will be waiting for us at Furci. 1400 hrs Battalion 2i/c and acting CO Maj Young holds OC’s conference releasing a certain amount of grief about the situation forward. We are to stay in the present area till the morning of 21 Nov. 1415 hrs Collection was made to purchase NAAFI goods, 4 per Other Rank and 7 per Officer. Sgt Maurice with one I Section personnel left for Foggia to do the buying. Weather: Very damp and misty during the early morning – remainder of the day overcast and cold (1500 hrs 2i/c reports to Brigade HQ conference with BM re details for continuing move to battle area). 2130 hrs Lights out and all quiet.
  • 20 Nov, Sat Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. OGP conference by Battalion 2 i/c at 0900 hrs dealing with details for further move tomorrow and admins for same. 5 NZ Infantry Brigade now to move to area around Furci. Move to take place during daylight on 21 Nov 43 and the Rd is via main Coast Rd to crossroads south of Vasto then south to Furci.Brigade order of march will be: - 5 NZ Brigade HQ, ADS, 23 Battalion, 28 Battalion, 21 Battalion, and attention to each Battalion will be 1 Platoon MMG's. 1000 hrs 30 Vehicles from 4 RMT reported to Battalion and after lunch were detailed to Coys – each getting 6 – 3 tonners. 1100 hrs 5 days reserve rations were collected from SP and 3 days will be carried on Battalion 3 tonners while the other two days rations were issued to Coys. 1130 hrs Ammunition was issued to various Coys. Reserve being carried on 2/3 tonners under care of RSM. 1230 hrs Lunch. NAAFI goods issued, cigarettes, chocolates, razor blades, soap, matches, and half a bottle of beer per man, less Sgts. and Officers who were issued with 1/3 bottle of whiskey each instead. Some of the Coys took the opportunity to buy pigs from the surrounding farmers. 1630 hrs Tea. 1800 hrs I summary No 192 received from Brigade HQ. 2i/c visited Brigade HQ this afternoon and was informed that ST tomorrow has been put back 45 mins. 2/Lt H Tawhai. M/O to advance base. 2/Lt Christy from HQ Coy took over No 9 Platoon. 2-2” Mortars and 4-2” mortars received by Battalion. Weather: Showery all day.
  • 21 Nov, Sun Reveille 0615 hrs, completed packing, loading and embussing onto tpt and the latter lined up on outlet to main road by 0745 hrs, in the same order as for the move up from Taranto i.e.: - Battalion HQ, A, B, C, D and HQ Coy with MG Platoon bringing up the rear of the column. 0815 hrs Head of column moved off following 23 Battalion. Brigade order of march was: - Brigade HQ, ADS, 23, 28 and 21 Battalions, followed by the various att support arms. The route was laid out as in Brigade Movement Order i.e.: Lucera, S.Severa, Termoli, S. Salvo, crossroads South of Vastoa and onto staging area Furci. The Rd was windy, wet and greasy. VTM 30 MIH 12 1/2 - it rained steadily all day. 1930 hrs Battalion arrived at its destination and were met by the Coy guides from advance party, who arrived in the area at 1600 hrs that afternoon. Owing to the wet nature of the area half of the Battalion tpt were unable to get off the road, so they parked up on the side of the road which by now had cleared up. The cooks set to and by 2100 hrs Battalion had all partaken in a hot meal and immediately after bedded down the best way they could under the circumstances. 2130 hrs The Battalion IO who had arrived with the Brigade OGP a few days precious reported back from Brigade to own unit and was soon in conference with the Battalion 2i/c Maj Young Acting CO. The IO also brought back favourable reports from the front line – we are to rest all day tomorrow and proceed forward the following day.
  • 22 Nov, Mon Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. 0900 hrs Acting CO Maj Young in conference with Coy commanders. IO visited Brigade HQ and reported back to the Battalion in time for conference. He also brought back further news of the activities forward and also details for tomorrows move. We are to move to the next staging area about 7 miles further north tomorrow in convoy under the same arrangements and order was we came up from Lucera but the starting time will not be till 1130 hrs for the Battalion. Starting Point: Red House Rd Junc. MR 4677, Battalion HQ is set at present located in farmhouse at (R) H4977 approx 1 mile northeast of the village in Furci. During the day the men took the opportunity of the fine weather to wash and dry wet clothes. 1200 hrs Lunch. The pioneer Platoon had rigged up showers during the morning and with the help of a hand pump (water) 3 44-gallon drums and a liberal supply of clean water from a natural spring, the men were able to have a hot shower during the afternoon. At 0830 hrs 6 RMT 3 tonners and a party of 12 men from A Coy left to shift petrol from SP 4677 (S. Severa) to Brigade reserve dump near the front line. Owing to the amount of traffic on the road they did not report back to Battalion till 0130 hrs 23 November 43. 1730 hrs The acting CO Maj Young and the IO and Sgt left on the jeep for Brigade HQ which was parked on the Rd about 2 miles southwest of Furci – the Battalion 2i/c to attend BM’s conference and IO and Sgt to attend Brigades IO’s conference. 2030 hrs Party return from Brigade bringing a wide range of maps covering the 2 NZ Divisions front in three series. 1/250.000, 1/100.000, 1/50,000. Weather: Fine all day (Tea 1700 hrs.).
  • 23 Nov, Tues Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. 0800 – 0900 hrs Packing and loading of vehicles and forming up on road with the head of the Battalion resting opposite houses where Battalion was (H4977). By now the weather had turned for the worst and a steady drizzle had set in making conditions on the road very greasy and difficult. Quite a few of the laden 3 tonners were hard put to get back in the road and quite a few had to be towed back onto the road out of the mud. 0930 hrs Battalion had embussed and formed up ready to move in the side of the road. In spite of a heavy shower the convoy moved off slowly but before it had gone any distance at all a traffic jam was set in and the convoy was separated in two with only Battalion HQ moving. The head of the Battalion passed SP (H4677) at 1015 hrs and continued on in rear of Brigade HQ. With the exceptions of three stops to allow oncoming traffic to pass, the convoy made slow but steady progress in the rain and in greasy roads. 1200 hrs The convoy pulled off the road and reached the staging area on the banks of the Senela river (H4380) S. Severo 1.250.000 at which stage also the rear of the Battalion caught up with the head of the convoy. Coys proceeded to their bivvy areas with Battalion HQ and part of HQ Coy on the right bank of the river and the balance of HQ Coy with the four rifle Coys on the left bank. Bivvys were erected and the men soon made themselves as comfortable as possible, by this time the rain had cleared and the sun was making an appearance. The CO, Lt-Col Fairbrother who left us on the 16 Nov 43 to come forward with Brigade “O GP” was waiting for Battalion at the area. 1330 hrs Lunch. 1500 hrs Brigadier Stewart visited the area. 1600 hrs Coy Commander conference and lines were laid out to all Coys and Brigade. Weather: Cold overnight. Steady drizzle during the evening.
  • 24 Nov, Wed Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. 0900 hrs A, B, C, D and HQ Coys armed with picks and shovels marched out to Rd (section allotted to them) opposite Battalion HQ and carried out Rd maintenance work until 1530 hrs. Lunch out on road. Ammunition was issued to all ranks thus making a total of 200 rounds per man, for automatics and rifles. Balance of Battalion tpt arrived from Bari and reported to Battalion HQ, (1 – 3 tonner and 5 Jeeps). 1100 hrs IO left with RMT convoy – moved forward to Main Division, picking up 5 Brigade petrol and moving it forward to 5 Brigade PP (Perano). Returned to Battalion at 1900 hrs. 1230 hrs Lunch for remainder of Battalion. 2/Lt Anaru took over tpt Platoon and 2/Lt Pile was transferred back to B Coy as Platoon commander of No 12 Platoon. Coys drew three days rations today. 1500 hrs Conference by CO with Coy commanders. 1600 hrs CO addresses all drivers (tpt) at Battalion HQ on maintenance and care of vehicles. 1630 hrs Small issue of South African gift parcels handed out to men: - handkerchiefs, socks, toothpastes, sweets, razor blades and shaving soap. 21 Battalion moved forward into line today taking up positions on M. Marcone and to the right. Brigade HQ Main moved forward to Attessa area today. Weather: Slightly overcast during morning – fine for the rest of the day – fine cold starry night.
  • 25 Nov, Thurs Reveille 0600 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1600 hrs. 0800 hrs CO, 2i/c, IO and Coy commanders move per jeeps to the front line first to Brigade HQ where all met Brigadier Kippenberger recently returned from NZ in Furlough. Conference by Brigadier Kippenberger with all Battalion Commanders after which the front was viewed from M. Marcone. Artillery OP – much shelling by enemy from Casoli area and Lanciano front – harassing fire mainly on Division Ammo Dump and 5 Brigade HQ. 1630 hrs Recce party return to Battalion HQ. 0900 hrs All Coys again set out on road maintenance area west Gissi to blown bridge. 1330 hrs Adj Capt Tutaki evacuated to hospital – Capt JC Reedy took over Adj position. 1700 hrs Coy Commanders conference at Battalion HQ re move forward to Attessa tomorrow. Battalion divided on two: A and A Echelon. A to go to Attessa and A echelon to go to Casalanguida. 2000 hrs All tracked vehicles moved over the river to Battalion HQ area as a safeguard against rise in river. Weather: Fie and clear morning. Rain about 1600 hrs and cold overnight. (0900 hrs All Roman Catholics paraded under 2/Lt Urlich and services conducted at Division Calvary lines).
  • 26 Nov, Fri Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0730 – 0830 hrs Men prepare to move – embus and vehicles moved off into line with Battalion HQ leading. 0900 hrs Battalion lined up with the head of column resting 200 yards from blown bridge and opposite HQ NZ Division Calvary. The convoy then moved off led by Maj Sorenson who was left in charge of the convoy then followed by Battalion HQ, followed in turn by A, B, C, D Coys respectively. HQ remaining in area until 1100 hrs. Maj Young also moved out in the rear of the convoy to recce area for HQ Coy. The convoy made splendid progress under the circumstances and by 1200 hrs Battalion HQ arrived and established itself off the road at H385865 (Lanciano 1.100.000) northeast of Attessa H3785 while the Coys bivvy down just off the road northeast of Battalion HQ with D Coy nearest Battalion HQ followed by C, B, A Coys. HQ Coy arrived later in the day and is located at di Francesco H412881. Most of the vehicles were parked along the road. The CO and IO returned from Brigade at 1430 hrs and reported that 28 Battalion is in reserve to 5 NZ Infantry Brigade until called for. During the afternoon the men erected their bivvys and with the aid of the numerous haystacks in the area they made themselves as comfortable as possible. At this stage information was received from Brigade that operation for the coming night was cancelled. 1630 hrs Tea. Weather: Fine all day but overcast at times. Allied air support working very well. 1 ME 410 was forced down by our fighters and crashed landed on our side of the R. Sangro. Crew taken by MG Coy night 26/27 dull and overcast – intermittent shelling by both sides.
  • 27 Nov, Sat Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. Battalion church parade in Battalion HQ area. 0930 hrs Padre Huata conducted the divine service and also gave an inspiring sermon to all. He spoke in Maori but finished off by addressing the CO in English. After the service the Battalion formed up in an open square and a court martial promulgation was made by the CO himself. Pte A Paul and SV Anderson were both sentenced to 1-year imprisonment with hard labour for committing an offence against an inhabitant of the country. The CO then took the opportunity of explaining the situation on our own front. Due to the fact that we were located on a high feature over looking the front he was able to point out the prospective objectives for the NZ Division but meanwhile we were still in reserve. 1030 hrs CO’s Orderly Room. 1230 hrs Lunch. 1300 hrs CO and IO visited Brigade HQ for conference with Brigadier. During the afternoon RSM Rangi exchanged loose ammunition held by Coys for ammunition already in clips and in bandoliers, also grenade and mortar bombs. Unit YMCA under Mr Perry N Connelly of the 2 NZ (Maori) Battalion arrived at the Battalion at 1600 hrs. 1615 hrs IO returns from Brigade with the news that we are to sleep in the present area for the night. Mobile cinema arrived and prepared to show for the night. 1630 hrs Tea. 1800 hrs Pictures were shown in the area “There Ain’t no Justice” and it was quite a good show. 1900 hrs CO and Colonel Harding return to Battalion – the latter to stay the night only. 2000 hrs CO’s conference, also operation order secured and read at conference. IO and Sgt making up maps till 2230 hrs. Heavy concentration on whole 8 Army Front by our Artillery. 1630 hrs 17 A/Tk guns opened up on houses immediately across the R Sangro opposite 5 Brigade Front, supported by MMG's’s on M Marcone and features to the right. Houses suspected to contain enemy MG's. Proposed attack by NZ Division is to take place tonight at 0300 hrs (refer to operation appendix). General War Information: After vigorous patrolling NZ Division now ready in conjunction with flanking units of the 8 Army to break the Sangro defences – see operation order. Tonight bombing by Air Force – 12 Bomber every 1/2 hr. Sangro line bombed incessantly all day and L of C’s. Weather: Fine and sunny but decidedly chilly towards evening.
  • 28 Nov, Sun Reveille 0630 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0300 hrs Advance on Sangro preceded by timing bombardment by Division Artillery. 0500 hrs Col. Harding, CO and IO went to Brigade HQ to get the news. Advance going well, all successes by 0700 hrs and consolidated thereafter. Division Calvary and tanks fail – floundering about in the Sangro. Ineffective fire from the enemy. 0900 hrs Return to Battalion HQ. 0930 hrs CO and IO again visit Brigade HQ. On return CO held conference re situation and the Day’s programme. Coys try out Piat Mortars, tommy guns and Bren guns on old houses. Coy arrangements for the day. 1600 hrs Capt Reedy, 1 Provost and 2 Guards conduct Pte A Paul and SV Anderson to S. Severo to serve imprisonment. 1400 hrs 2i/c take over 24 miles through arrangements with Brigade staff Capt. Without muleteers they were then taken over by HQ Coy. Battalion hot showers were in operation in the afternoon. Weather: Fine and ideal for aerial warfare. Slight rain but cleared up. Cloudy in morning and clear in the afternoon. Mild night.
  • 29 Nov, Mon Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0800 hrs IO and 4 I Section personnel visit Brigade and view the enemy front and own positions from M Marcone feature. Sitreps received and general information gained. Returned at 1100 hrs. 100 hrs NZ Division (Main) moved into positions previous Brigade area. 0900 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re promotions and sub ranks of NCO’s. 1300 hrs Battalion HQ take hot showers at HQ Coy area. CO and 2i/c visit Brigade and were away all afternoon. Two men reported in from S Servero and were away for three days, as their carrier broke down en route. 1300 hrs CO and 2i/c visited hill feature 208 and view probably objective for attack: Pt Elici. 1630 hrs BBC Broadcasted first news of 2 NZ Division in action. 1600 hrs 2 Brigade Sitreps and Division I Summaries were taken by I Sgt to all Coy Commanders for general information. 1300 hrs 2/Lt Hetet dispatched by 2i/c to return to Rear Division (Gissi) to collect pay (BMA and Italian Currency). General War information: Little activity in NZ Front. Consolidation to full and moving up of supplies and B Echelon etc across the R Sangro during day. Much bombing gunfire and straffing on 8 Ind and 78 Division front. Aerial bombardment of areas: - Lanciano, Castilfrutano, Guardi – gicle and L of C’s. Fighter support. No German fighters at all today. Fair A/A by enemy defences – no plane casualties. Coys sharpening bayonets all day through Battalion arrangements. 1817 hrs 36 boxes of ammunition 4.2 Mortar arrived from 21 Battalion. 1830 hrs Capt Reedy and party return from S. Severo. Pay collected by CO and 2i/c. Weather: Very fine day – chilly in the afternoon.
  • 30 Nov, Tues Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0730 hrs. RAP 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0900 hrs Battalion HQ bayonets collected and sharpened at HQ Coy, also pay was made available to all ranks. CO and IO visit Brigade HQ on call from Brigade HQ: - decision made to move Battalion over Sangro to vicinity of 23 Battalion area Hill 208. CO called Battalion for an early move and Coys were recalled from Route march. 1030 hrs CO and IO and Brigade Commanders moved over the Sangro to 23 Battalion area and recce from Hill 208. Conference with 21 and 23 Battalion decision being made to put both Battalions forward and 28 Battalion to take up positions on Hill 208 as a firm base. 1230 hrs CO returns from Brigade and had a conference with Coy Commanders and order for move laid out: CO and Coy commanders to go forward in jeeps at 1500 hrs to recce the area. 1600 hrs Big meal for troops. 1630 hrs Move forward in the following order: - 4 RMT not allocated to lift troops to crossing 348942 (Division Calvary) crossing as occupied carrying ammunition for artillery, so own tpt all three tonners were allocated the task in order: - D, C, B Coys in one lift and A Coy in second lift. Order of march: - troops supporting Group all A Echelon vehicles move at 1630 hrs and move per Bailey Bridge to are 208. B echelon to move tomorrow morning to area 5 Brigade M Marcone. 1300 hrs Coys preparing to move. Ammunition trucks and Orderly room trucks and cook houses unloaded to carry troops to Division Calvary crossing. 1500 hrs Urgent message from Brigade HQ cancelling move. CO, 2i/c and IO moved to Brigade to make investigations followed by all Coy Commanders purpose later to move forward and recce the area and also crossing. Reason of cancellation of move to avoid congestion of traffic as both field regiment were moving across the Sangro. 1700 hrs Party return to Battalion HQ and preparations were made for an early move tomorrow morning. Programme as follows: - Reveille 0600 hrs. Breakfast 0630 hrs. CO and Coy Commanders jeeps move off at 0700 hrs. Starting point GP led by the IO will leave at 0730 hrs. RMT carrying troops to Division Calvary crossing will leave at 0800 hrs while B echelon vehicles remain in present area. Weather: Fine and Sunny – 5th day of ideal allied fighting weather.        


Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
28 (Maori) Battalion War Diary, WAII 1 1666 DA 68/1/47


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