Author(s): J. F. Cody
John Douglas Publishing is delighted to be able to produce this work with kind permission from Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the 28 Maori Battalion Association. This is the official history of one of the greatest fighting infantry units of World War II, the 28(Maori) Battalion. We have done everything possible to ensure the book is as close to the original, printed in 1956. As Lieutenant-General Bernard Freyberg wrote in the Foreword to the book: "In this history you will read the whole story - how they went overseas from New Zealand in 1940, with the Second Echelon to England, to take part in 'The Battle of Britain'. When the threat of invasion diminished they re-embarked for the Middle East, and arrived in time to take part in the disastrous campaigns in Greece and Crete. Later they fought in the 1941 Libyan Campaign and in the battles in 1942 in defence of Egypt. Later, when the tide changed, they took an active part in the victorious Western Desert Campaign, under Generals Alexander and Montgomery. They finished the war in Italy on the 2nd May 1945. "In all these many campaigns this Battalion took a great part, often a decisive part, in the fighting, as in the counter-attacks at Maleme and 42nd Street in the Cretan Campaign, or again in the Battle of Tebaga Gap, where gallant and young Ngarimu gained his posthumous Victoria Cross, or in the capture of Takrouna. But as glorious as these battles were, and as gallant and brave as was the Maori part, it is not only of their bravery but what fine fighting men they were. "To know and appreciate their great qualities you must understand their background and their tribal traditions. Maori are a fighting race, and according to their traditions and in keeping with the laws of New Zealand, they did not come under the National Service Act, which called up men when they reached the military age. The Maori was always a volunteer. For them it was an honour to serve.