Battledress : the uniforms of the world's great armies, 1700 by Michael Barthorp; I T Schick; et al

By Michael Barthorp; I T Schick; et al

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C: NORTH AFRICA, 1941–42 C1: Lieutenant Charles Upham, VC, 20th Battalion; November 1941 Charles Upham remains New Zealand’s most famous soldier, and is renowned internationally as being one of only three men in history – and the only combat soldier – to have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice (Capts Martin-Leake and Chavasse, awarded Bars in the Great War, were both medical officers). Leading his platoon as a lieutenant in C Coy, 20th Bn during the battle of Crete, Upham personally destroyed a number of German machine-gun posts that had pinned down his men during the failed counter-attack on Maleme airfield, and he continued to display outstanding courage in actions during the retreat to Sfakia.

The GS cap was worn pulled to the right, with a black diamond patch behind the ‘Onward’ badge above the left eye. The NZ Armoured Corps were allowed to wear the British RAC black beret, and on this the 4th NZ Armd Bde wore red backing behind the ‘Onward’ badge, and the Divisional Cavalry green backing. A khaki beret was worn both by field-grade officers, and members of the 22nd (Mot) Bn; this unit wore a red flash behind the badge. Early in 1941 the New Zealanders in the Long Range Desert Group were issued with the traditional Arab keffiyeh headdress and black cord agal, which were worn both as practical desert wear and with formal dress.

The New Zealanders ended the Italian campaign by securing the city of Trieste from Tito’s Yugoslav Partisans. The losses to the 2nd NZ Division during the whole Italian campaign had been significant: a total of 8,668 casualties, including 1,825 killed. 3rd NZ DIVISION IN THE PACIFIC This bivouac on a South Pacific island is dug into the ground and covered with coconut logs, shelter fabric and palm leaves. Keeping the incessant tropical downpours out was almost as important to the men of 3rd NZ Div as overhead cover from Japanese fire.

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