1st of June 1941 at the port of Alexandria and straight off the boat from Crete, a Maori soldier revealing understandable emotion after the Crete debacle..that knife has no doubt "done the deed"
I think if you look closely you can see the exhaustion in this young fella's eyes..only 8 weeks ago on the 27th of March 1941 he left this port at Alexandria on the ship "Cameronia" as a fresh "rearing to go" soldier from his beloved native Aotearoa (New Zealand) land and no doubt excited at the prospects of getting at the enemy..
His unblooded 28th Maori Battalion unit as part of the 2nd NZEF Division against the valid wisdom and advice of their Commander in General Bernard Freyberg VC who of course obeyed his orders from the British High Command and English prime minister Winston Churchill to under take a campaign in Greece in an attempt to stop the Nazi Axis forces advancing East through Greece.
What a bloody waste it proved to be.. validating every concern our General Freyberg had into reality and costing the Combined Commonwealth Allied forces massively..in every sense of the word..Proving once again that politics and all out war are not compatible..being the second time Mr Winston Churchill has painfully heeded this question..did the WW1 Gallipoli disaster not teach him anything!
As far as our extremely lucky and rather happy surviving Maori soldier above..he saw war at its worst and its most technologically advanced..and of course he now knows the true brutal cost of war..very often the blood of your brothers, cousins and mates..
Of the combined 28th Maori Battalion on return to Alexandria and North Africa his unit suffered 353 casualties..
5 officers and 79 other ranks Killed in Action.
269 either wounded or wounded and Prisoner of War.
Photo George Silk. Denis Clough archive