Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


The Kiwi soldier who became an American GI

The strange story of the Second World War Kiwi soldier who became an American GI


Jack with US Army in Germany 1945

It is April 17, 1945 when Jack Elworthy walks free from German POW camp Stalag XIIID in Nuremberg.

He has been a prisoner for four years since being captured on Crete, one of 5,000 Allied soldiers left behind on the island after a hasty and bungled evacuation at the end of May 1941.

Unlike most POWs, who are desperate to get out of Germany and back home, 32-year-old Elworthy is thirsting for adventure. He’s missed most of the war – but there is still a chance he can see some action.

He and his fellow POWs have been liberated from the German POW camp by the 45th (Thunderbird) Division of the US 7th Army. The next evening some of the American soldiers invite him and a mate for a drink. ‘After a few bottles of schnapps, we were cordially invited to join them and help finish the war,’ Elworthy reveals in his engrossing book Greece Crete Stalag Dachau (Awa Press, $40).

The next day ‘nobody wants to remember their promises’ but Elworthy is not about to give up. After the battery commander turns him down, a top sergeant agrees to let him travel with the division for a few days if he keeps out of the commander’s sight.

The GIs rally around and cobble together a uniform for the New Zealander. ‘Within ten minutes I was indistinguishable from an American soldier – as long as my mouth stayed shut so my Kiwi accent wouldn’t give me away.’ For three months Elworthy stays with the Thunderbirds as they patrol devastated German cities, routing out the last pockets of resistance. On April 30 he enters Dachau concentration camp, which has been liberated the previous day. It is an experience he will never forget.

Back home, Jack Elworthy writes about his wartime experiences for his family. In 2012, twelve years after his death, his daughter Jo realises his story is a unique contribution to New Zealand’s wartime history and edits his manuscript for publication.

Greece Crete Stalag Dachau: A New Zealand soldier’s encounters with Hitler’s army will be released on May 20, the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Crete. For advance proofs, contact Harriet Prebble: publicity@awapress.co.nz;


Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

TV3 Video: NZ Praised For Sportsmanship After Cricket World Cup Final Loss

New Zealand may have been outplayed in the Cricket World Cup final by Australia, but received praise worldwide for their graciousness in defeat. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Werewolf: Finding Love In Hell

Will it really be 25 years in May since David Lynch’s Wild at Heart won big at Cannes, nabbing no less than the Palme d’Or? Amazing but true, and yet the film that was briefly Lynch’s most feted, now seems to be his most forgotten. More>>

ALSO:

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news