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22nd Battalion 2NZEF
"Vrai et Fort"
The 22nd Battalion was the longest serving of the New Zealand infantry battalions that made up the 2NZEF from 1939 to 1947. Its officers assembled at Trentham Camp on 8 November 1939, were sent home for Christmas and returned on 10 January 1940 when they met the new Commanding Officer, Major Leslie Andrew VC for the first time. The first troops for the Battalion marched into Trentham on 12th January 1940. The Battalion was eventually disbanded in Japan on 7th August 1947 to become the 2nd Battalion of the NZ Army - a lifespan of 2,829 days.
This website has been set up to provide a collection of information and photographs about the 22 Battalion and its people, starting with a collection of photographs documenting the last days of the war on 2-4 May 1945 as the 22nd entered Trieste.
It is intended to add other information about the Battalion as it comes to hand, and as time permits. I am also compiling a nominal roll of all the men who served in the 22 Battalion at some stage.
I am especially interested in photographs of the life and times of the 22nd. If you have photographs that you would like to share, please contact me. I am keen to obtain copies of personal photo albums. Scanned copies preferred, but I am able to scan all formats of photos (and negatives) so that they can be electronically archived. Photos will be carefully handled and returned.
The 22nd Battalion - Vrai et Fort
NEW - 4 June 2020: The search for "George"
The search is on for "George" a member of 2NZEF who in May 1945 befriended a family in Trieste. Descendents of the family are now keen to find George or his descendents but they only have his first name, and a photo. Do you recognise this person? If so please contact me: "paul at frogs.co.nz".
The family in Italy has always understood that George was a member of the 22nd Battalion, but the uniform he is wearing in this photo is not regular infantry: the shirt is open with a wide lapel like a scarf and he does not have the red colour flashes of the Battalion on the collar. The beret suggests he is more likely to be armoured corps (tanks) or Div Cav.
The story is thus:
“It was during a concert or dance intended to bring together these two very different populations, that my aunt and uncles met an officer of the 22nd Battalion. His name was George. Despite numerous invitations to my family to travel to New Zealand, they were never able to visit for various reasons, including the great distance and lack of communications of the time.”
23 April 2018
It is with great sadness that we record the passing of LTCOL 6011 Haddon Vivian Donald, on 23 April 2018, a month after his 101st birthday. Haddon rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was the last of the wartime Commanding Officers of the 22nd Battalion. He led the Battalion through the final stages of the Italian Campaign and was the first Allied soldier to enter Trieste. Here he took the surrender of all German Forces in Italy, at the express command of General Freyberg. (see the story and photos here). Haddon was one of the last of the 22nd Battalion. With his passing we have only memories and photographs - and a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who served in the armed forces to protect and preserve our country.
The Sketch Books of CM Paterson
41334 Charles Paterson joined the 22 Battalion in 1941. He carried a sketch book and pencil and sketched the people and scenes so that he could later set them out in watercolours.
The Full Roll of the Men who served with the 22nd Battalion
After searching through many archives, files and other sources I have compiled a list of all of the men who served in the 22nd Battalion. There is no official record. My list is probably incomplete, so if you know of somewho whose name is missing, please email me the details.
Read Terry Mclean's unpublished manuscript of the Official History of the 22nd Battalion
In 1946 TP (Terry) Mclean was contracted by the War History Branch to write the offical history of the 22nd Battalion. Terry had been the Intelligence Officer for the Battalion. He made a fine start but his journalism career got in the way. The first thirteen chapters, up to the end of the Battle of Crete are with his papers in the Alexander Turnbull Library. They have been transcribed HERE.
Last updated: 14 November 2020