Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 25, 2018 0:29:28 GMT 12
I wonder if any soldiers in the NZ Army served in on the front lines during all these big conflicts - WWII, the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), the Korean War (1950-53), Borneo Confrontation (1964-1966), and the Vietnam War (1964-1972)? Could it have been possible? The career of a 25 year serving NCO could encompass them all I'd think?
I am aware of one officer who served in the last year of WW2 in the British Army as a very young soldier. He told the horrific story of being one of the first in an armoured reconnaissance unit to arrive at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He later served in Korea with the NZ Army as Centurion tank commander attached to the British Army. I believe he was also later posted to Malaya but not during the Emergency or confrontation.
I have another story of long service. While attached to the Australian Army I attended an ANZAC Day parade on the camp. At the Sergeants mess later I was surprised to see the Regimental Sergeant Major of one of the major camp units wearing Vietnam medals and a German Iron Cross. I asked a work colleague what the story was. Turns out he was very young boy soldier in the Hitler Youth in the final days of the war in Europe when someone came around handing out medals. He later immigrated to Australia and joined the Army. Apparently he only wore the Iron Cross at special on base occasions (as it probably was breaking some rule).
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 25, 2018 19:38:09 GMT 12
Very interesting. I vaguely recall reading of a British Army soldier, or was it a sailor, who dived into water to save a German POW or two who was/were drowning, and he was awarded both the George Medal and an Iron Cross.
I have to admit I never even knew the British had tanks in Korea. You see so little on that war, all i really know about is M*A*S*H and No. 161 Battery RNZA there. It would have been interesting to talk with that chap.