Headquarters: a brief outline of the activities of headquarters of the third division and the 8th and 14th Brigades during their service in the Pacific
Honours and Awards
Honours and Awards
Following are the awards made to members of Divisional Signals, Third New Zealand Division, in recognition of distinguished service in the South Pacific:—
Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Captain O. A. Gillespie, MBE, MM
Captain Gillespie, a journalist by profession, was born at Cust, Canterbury, in 1896. He served in the Great War, leaving New Zealand in 1915 as a private in the 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He won the Military Medal and was twice mentioned in despatches. In May 1918 he was given commissioned rank while on active service. Captain Gillespie reentered the army in October 1940, leaving immediately for Fiji with the original 8th Brigade Group as intelligence officer. When the brigade was increased to divisional strength he became GSO3. Returning to New Zealand with the division in July 1942 he was appointed cipher officer, and as such went through the Solomons campaign. He was awarded the MBE in 1943 and afterwards appointed divisional historian, and on his return to New Zealand in 1944 he was transferred to archives branch, Army Head-quarters, to write two surveys of the work of the Third Division and to supervise the production of unit histories.
British Empire Medal
Sergeant A. T. Blampied, BEM
Sergeant Blampied was born in New Zealand in 1919, and in civilian life was employed by the Post and Telegraph Department page 267as a linesman. He served with the New Zealand territorial forces as a member of the Corps of Signals in Burnham from October 1940 until transferring to the overseas forces as a member of the fifth reinforcements in April 1941. The following month he embarked for Fiji, where he served as a despatch rider and in the signals office, until the force returned to New Zealand for reforming. His services were thereafter employed with the cable section until the disbandment of the division in August 1944. The citation to his award reads as follows:—'42726 Sergeant Arthur Thomas Blampied, 3 NZ Divisional Signals, was in charge of field cable detachments in Vella Lavella, Treasury Islands and Green Islands during the period September 1943 to March 1944. Cable work on these islands has been most difficult and arduous. It has involved very long periods of sustained effort in a thick jungle and in a trying climate. Line faults due to many causes, including enemy action, have been so numerous that there have been many occasions when Sergeant Blampied and his men have been called upon after a hard day to go out and work for long hours at night under all weather conditions. During all these operations Sergeant Blampied's work has been of a uniformly high technical standard. He is an excellent type of NCO, and has been able to get the utmost out of his men by his enthusiasm and personal example. Before the division entered the combat zone he had an excellent record as a signalman and junior NCO engaged on similar work in Guadalcanal, New Caledonia and Fiji.'
American Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer)
Lieutenant-Colonel D. M. Burns
Lieutenant-Colonel Burns was born in New Zealand in 1910 and educated at Wellington College, Wellington Technical College, and Victoria University, graduating as a Bachelor of Science. In civilian occupation he was assistant telegraph engineer to the Post and Telegraph Department. He was first commissioned with the New Zealand Corps of Signals in 1938 and entered Trentham Camp with 'Special Force' in September 1939. Embarking with the advanced party of the first echelon, Colonel Burns saw varied service in the Middle East, including the Greece and Crete Campaigns, until he returned to New Zealand in November 1941 with the rank of major to take command of the page 268signal squadron, 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade. He visited Fiji as a representative of the signals branch, Army HQ, in March 1942 to investigate and report upon the island's communications system. On the reforming of the Third NZ Division in August 1942 he was appointed commanding officer, Third NZ Divisional Signals, which position he filled throughout the Solomons campaign until the unit's disbandment. In December of 1944 he was appointed Senior Staff Officer, Signals, Army HQ, Wellington. Colonel Burns was mentioned in despatches for his services in the Solomons.
Mentioned in Despatches
Major G. W. Heatherwick, EM
Major Heatherwick was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1910, educated at the Wellington Technical College, and later joined the Post and Telegraph Department, where he was employed as a mechanician. He first saw military service with the Wellington Technical College Cadets as early as 1925. After continuous service with the territorial forces and the New Zealand temporary staff, during which time he rose to the rank of captain as DAQMG, 4th NZ Division, he was transferred to the NZEF in October 1942. On joining the Third NZ Divisional Signals in that month he was appointed officer commanding, artillery signals company, which position he held until the company was disbanded in February 1943. He was then appointed administration officer ofdivisional signals and OC, HQ company, with the rank of major. He served with the unit through the Solomons campaign to its windingup in Mangere Crossing Camp, New Zealand. In May 1945 he was appointed DAG, Fiji Section, 2NZEF and embarked for his second trip overseas. Major Heatherwick was awarded the King George VJ Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Efficiency Medal in 1941.
Warrant-Officer (2nd Class) R. C. Orme
Members of the maintenance section in their workshop on Nissan Island. Instruments and equipment, victims of the climate, were repaired here
Operators on Nissan receiving messages from a station operating from Guadalcanal, five hundred miles away
Members of A wireless section who formed themselves into an entertainment group and gave impromtu concerts which helped greatly to relieve the boredom of many jungle evenings
Blasted and dug out of solid coral and protected by layers of coconut logs, this large dug-out housed a remote controlled No. 33 high power transmitter on Nissan Island
Sergeant H. G. Jamieson
Prior to entering Trentham Camp as a member of the sixth reinforcements in May 1941, Sergeant Jamieson was a marine engineer in the employ of the Gisborne Harbour Board. In January 1942 he embarked as a corporal with K section, Third Divisional Signals, for Fiji. He remained with this section until March 1943, when he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to E section, attached to the 17th Field Regiment. Taking part in both the Vella Lavella and Nissan landings, he returned with the rest of his section to New Zealand in August 1944. Although 42 years of age, Army Headquarters decided to retain his services, and utilised his vast store of signals knowledge by posting him to the instructional staff of Army School of Instruction, Trentham, in November 1944.
Sergeant J. H. Oliver
In civilian life Sergeant Oliver was employed by C. and A. Odlin, Ltd., working in that firm's radio section. On entering Trentham camp in September 1941 he was posted to regimental signals, and later transferred to artillery signals. He served in Fiji, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, and Treasury Islands with J section, Third NZ Divisional Signals, rising to the rank of sergeant, before being transferred to D section on Vella Lavella in January 1944. After landing on Green Island with the first flight he was in charge of the divisional report centre and later in the signals office at headquarters, where he remained until he returned to New Caledonia and New Zealand with the first essential industry draft in June 1944.
Lance-Sergeant L. J. Bennett
Born in 1913, Lance-Sergeant Bennett was in civilian life a page 270linesman and cable jointer in the Post and Telegraph Department. He served with the territorial forces for two and a-half years with the 16th Battery, three months with the 11th Infantry Brigade Defence Platoon, and 13 months as linesman with 5th NZ Divisional Signals before being posted to X section in the Third Divisional Signals with the rank of corporal. He saw service in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Treasury Islands and Nissan. Corporal Bennett had charge of a party comprising himself and two linesmen which landed with commanding officers of a reconnaissance party on Treasury Islands, being detailed for duty running lines between advanced report centre and AA batteries on Mono Island. Extracts from the report made by the commanding officer of the 29th Light AA Regiment on Corporal Bennett's work read as follows:—'He was employed immediately on running lines to 208th Battery, 214th Battery, and later to D battery of 198th (US) Regiment. He carried out this work with speed and determination, as well as thoroughness and a complete disregard of danger from enemy snipers or other sources. Lines once laid were broken continuously by enemy action and our own vehicular traffic. On subsequent days he was employed laying cable from Mono Island to Watson and Shirley Islands, and in further communications to the batteries. It is considered that it was due largely to the determination and enthusiasm of Corporal Bennett and to the thoroughness of his work that communications with AA units was as good as it proved to be at that stage.'
Signalman J. A. Casey
Signalman Casey was by trade a shepherd. Prior to joining the overseas forces at Papakura Camp in April 1941 he already had a year's territorial service to his credit. He sailed with an early infantry draft to Fiji and later, while the divison was located in New Caledonia, transferred to Divisional Signals in July 1943, being posted as linesman to D section. He remained in this capacity through Guadalcanal, Vella Lavella and Nissan, and for the continued tireless and efficient manner in which he performed his many difficult duties was mentioned in despatches, at the age of 25.
Signalman A. E. Richardson
Signalman Richardson, who prior to the war was a surface-page 271man in the New Zealand Railways Department, first entered camp at Wingatui in August 1942. After serving in the Corps of Signals as a heavy truck driver at Riccarton and Washdyke he was transferred to the overseas forces and sailed from Papakura in April 1943 for New Caledonia as a reinforcement for Third NZ Divisional Signals. He was posted as a linesman driver in B cable section. He saw action in Vella Lavella and Nissan before returning to New Zealand in an essential industry draft in June 1944.