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Pacific Pioneers: the story of the engineers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific

Chapter Twenty-One — Awards and Distinctions

page 125

Chapter Twenty-One
Awards and Distinctions

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Obe)

Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Murray, CRE Third NZ Division, gave valuable services as CRE Third Division during the actions which resulted in the capture of Vella Lavella, Treasury Islands and the Green (Nissan) Islands Group. Lieutenant-Colonel Murray has been responsible for the training of engineer services of this division and for their re-organisation and equipment to meet the very special conditions of tropical island warfare. In a series of operations in which the work of the engineers was always a special and difficult problem Lieutenant-Colonel Murray and his field companies performed every task with the greatest credit to themselves and to the corps to which they belong.

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Obe)

Major William Gordon McKay. OC 20th Field Company, for long and valuable services in Fiji and later in command of a field company of engineers in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and Vella; Lavella. This officer has successfully undertaken many responsible engineering projects and was for a time CRE, Third Division, in Fiji. His record is one of hard work, skilful direction and untiring energy and is a credit not only to himself but to the corps to which he belongs.

Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Warrant-Officer First Class Clifford Rae Bayley, Hq Div. Engineers, has a record of distinguished and faithful service covering a period of three years with 2nd Nzefip in Fiji, New page 126Caledonia, Vella Lavella and Nissan. At all times he had proved to be a valuable and reliable NCO, carrying the full confidence of his officers and the respect of his men.

Military Medal

Sapper Jack Keith Duncan, 23rd Field Company, NZE. For bravery in the field during the landing of a brigade group on Treasury Islands on 27 October, 1943. Beaches were subjected to very heavy shelling and mortar fire for about five hours after the initial landing had been made. This resulted in many casualties to personnel and damage to ships that were unloading. Sapper Duncan, during the whole of this time. ånd with utter disregard for his own personal safety continued to operate his bulldozer on and in the close vicinity of these beaches in constructing the tracks vitally necessary for the expeditious unloading of ammunition, stores and equipment. His fine example was a very steadying influence on unloading and carrying parties.

Mentioned in Despatches

Major S. E. Anderson, 20th Fd. Coy.,37th Fd. Park; Lieutenant H. K. Webb, Hq Div. Engineers; Lance-Sergeant F. B. Greenem, 20th Fd.; Corporal D. M. Glengarry, 23rd Fd.; Corporal W. K. Larsen, 20th Fd.; Lance-Corporal R. D. Philip, 20th Fd.; Sapper W. J. C. Hammond, 23rd Fd.; Sapper W. J. Reesby, 20th Fd.

Roll Of Honour

20th field company

  • Sapper H. Galbraith, died of sickness (Suva 14/8/41)
  • Corporal D. W. Harris, accidentally killed (Suva 13/12/41)
  • Staff-Sergeant R. Seaver, accidentally killed (Necal 11/7/42)
  • Sapper J. H. Craig, accidentally killed (Vella 26/9/43)
  • 'Corporal J. J. Tod, died of accidental injuries (Vella 5/12/43)
  • Sapper F. L. Knipe, accidentally killed (Vella 5/12/43)

23rd field company

  • Sapper L. D. Ferris, accidentally killed (Namaka 15/6/41)
  • Warrant-Officer Second Class J. L. Beehag, killed in action (Mono 27/10/43)
  • Sapper C. E. Ball, died of wounds (Mono 1/11/43)
  • Sapper J. E. Mulholland, died of accidental injuries (Mono 8/12/43)
page 127

37th field park company

  • Staff-Sergeant J. H. Harvey (24th Army Troops), died in hospital as a result of an accident (NZ 9/42)
  • Sapper I. R. Gloistein, died in hospital as a result of an accident (Necal 2/6/43)

The graves of most of these men are now to be found, not in the steam of the jungle, tended by native Christians, but in the cemetery which crowns a hill near Bourail, New Caledonia. Many other names, should be recorded here. There are sappers who shared the Pacific with us and, passing in time to other units with the Middle East or Central Mediterranean Forces, were there killed or wounded. We can but salute their memory with the engineers' legend:

Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt