Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 30, 2012 23:25:01 GMT 12
Yesterday I was visiting my mate Harry who was in the Army in WWII, and he was telling me various war stories. Somehting he said was very intriguing.
He said that there was an army camp on the hill at Bastion Point and men from there used to be detailed to go into the city on a truck that picked them up and they would guard the wharf area, On this particular day the group of assigned soldiers - one of whom later served in the same unit as Harry and this is how he knows the story - were waiting at Bastion Point for the truck to pick them up, but it failed to show up at the allotted time.
Realising it must have gotten delayed the soldiers began to march toward the city, hoping to mee thteir truck somewhere along the way.
Anyway, apparently a German spy had been dropped ashore somewhere on the Auckland waterfornt and he had a bicycle, and of all things was dressed as a women. This spy was making his way along on the bike when he saw all these soldiers marching towards him It was shere chance they were marching at all, normally they'd be in a truck and gone earlier in the day.
Anyway the spy panicked on seeing the soldiers and somehow came off his bike. The soldiers realised something was up and they accosted him.
Now Harry says he first heard that in wartime from his mate who was there but he also said it came out publicly much more recently in the Herald.
Has anyone here heard this story? I knew that there were Japanese landing here from submarines in WWII, but I never knew any Germans had landed in Auckland.
Sounds like a tall story to me; these types of yarns really grew long legs in NZ during WW2 when paranoia (led in some cases by our very own Govt, who tended to always fear the worst unitl they got wise to our local trouble makers) got out of hand, and smart alec types saw an opportunity to test the gullibility of their comrades, or a bunch of young and impressionable types. I have never heard of any what I would classify as genuine tales of Japanese landing in NZ (apart from the 800 or so official POWs who were kept at Featherston), but I have heard some pretty wild stories of such things, including the milking of the cow by German U-boat men near Napier, and the holding up of a milk truck near Ashburton by Japanese submariners. Notice the emphasis on the enemy apparrently craving the products of our diary industry even then! The one (really true) story I like is the capture of a number of NZ sheep which just happened to travelling from the Chatam Islands to Lyttelton in early hours of the 25th November 1940 aboard the HOLMWOOD. This of course was purely an opportunistic capture, although I cannot vouch that the German crews had not heard of Canterbury lamb, but if they had they might have been disappointed that these were in fact of the lesser Waitangi variety. I believe the Germans maintained the steadily diminishing number of live sheep as deck cargo (meat on the cloven hoof) to supplement their rations, and I doubt that any of them ever saw Germany - but I could be wrong. The most ridiculous story of wartime German/Japanese submarine presence in NZ that I have heard told was featured on National Radio (National Radio!!) about 10-15 years ago, by a person who worked on a light house in the Marlborough Sounds (probably on a headland!) who claimed that she saw a strange submarine being replenished by a crew with "strange foreign acsents" not far from the lighthouse, and obvioiusly with the knowledge of the lighthouse staff. Apparently this information was later mentioned to somebody serving in the RNZAF, "who assured them that this vessel had been sunk in Cook Strait by our Hudsons sortly afterwards." Unfortunately the interviewer believed all this unmitigated tripe, and never thought to check up with anybody or published accounts of this extremely tall tale. None of these stories repeated by "people who were right there" ever stood up to even the slightest of official scrutiny, and no credible accounts of any landings in NZ by German or Japanese (or even Italian!) crewmen seems to exist in official sources of information. ("They would say that though, wouldn't they, to cover up their own incompetence!") David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 1, 2012 18:25:11 GMT 12
From what I have gathered from veterans there certainly were believed to be landings by enemy personnel from submarines both in Northland and on the coast near to the radical area of Ratana, because troops (including people I have personally spoken to) were made to patrol specifically because of this, and in the case of Ratana Pa a deliberate and prolonguesd stake out by the Army, hidden from Ratana's view, took place. Funny how 70 years later people from Ratana Pa were again involved in a stake out as members of the infamous baddies in the Urewera bush. I personally would not be at all surprised if there was such activity planned, if not actually happening.
I wonder if this particular story above was actually some sort of exercise or something and was misconstrued by the troops? Or perhaps it was one of the officers cross dressing so they covered up his shame by saying he was a spy? haha