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Online Cenotaph

Charles Shelford

  • Service number
    39159 AWMM
  • Also known as
    Charlie AWMM
  • Force
    Army AWMM
  • Last rank
    WW2 Private AWMM
    28 (Maori) Battalion, D Company AWMM
  • War
    World War II, 1939-1945 AWMM
Portrait; original held in the Tairawhiti Museum, Gisborne - This image may be subject to copyright
Portrait; original held in the Tairawhiti Museum, Gisborne - … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Charles AWMM
  • Surname
    Shelford AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Charlie AWMM
  • Service number
    39159 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
    • Ngāti Porou AWMM
    • Ngā Puhi AWMM
    • Te Whakatōhea AWMM
  • Hapū
  • Waka
    Te Arawa AWMM
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Date of birth
    • 22 August 1921 AWMM
    • 22 August 1920 Public - Brenda - Other Relative - 13 February 2015 - NZ Dictionary of Biography. His Army Personal File gives DOB as 22 August 1919 - he had added to his age to be eligible to enlist.
  • Place of birth
    Te Kaha, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand AWMM
  • Birth notes
    Te Kaha, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
    WW2 Labourer AWMM
  • Post war occupation
    Drain layer AWMM
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 26 Jan 1940 Wainui Beach, Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Teowaina Shelford (mother), Tikitiki, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 08 Nov 1940 Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
    World War II, 1939-1945 AWMM
  • Campaigns
    • North Africa AWMM
    • Italy AWMM
  • Force
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    39159 AWMM
  • Military service
    Transferred to D Company Maori Battalion 1941 AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Miilitary decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
      London Gazette 20 February 1942 AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
      During a night attack on 14 December 1941 he showed outstanding heroism and courage. Private Shelford volunteered to cover 300 yards to the enemy firing from the rear and clean it out. He covered the 300 yards under fire from anti tank guns, MMGs, LMGs and rifle fire, walking, running and firing. AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    WW2 26 January 1940 AWMM
    Gisborne, Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
  • Age on enlistment


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  • Embarkation details
    WW2 Private AWMM
    28 (Maori) Battalion, C Company AWMM
    4th Reinforcements AWMM

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Height, Unknown Period AWMM
      5 foot 10 1/2 inches AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Brown AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Black AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Egypt, Camp Hospital 19-23 February 1941 AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Hospitalised immediately after the Gazala incident with leg injuries AWMM
    • Accidental Death, Cause of Death AWMM
      Killed as a pedestrian in a hit and run road accident AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank
    WW2 3 February 1945 AWMM
    End of war AWMM
    Private AWMM
    28 (Maori) Battalion, D Company AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • He was the son of Tame Shelford and Te Owaina Kirikiri Puihi of Tikitiki. Raised by Atareta and Paratene of Tikitiki

      Married Lilias May (known as Maisie and Blue ) Beazley in 1948

      Aged 18 years at enlistment, as he increased his age by three years to enlist his military records have his birth date as 1918

      Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal after the action at Gazala, Libya, North Africa. The recommending officer, 2nd Lieutenant Rangi Logan later recalled that he had actually recommended Shelford for the Victoria Cross. Feelings about this never really died away and were the subject of a newspaper report some 40 years later at the time of his tangi.

      Was hospitalised after the Gazala episode as his legs were giving him trouble and was transferred to duties with transport as a driver initially for Rangi Logan and later delivering ammunition to distribution points close to the front line.

      Described as a legendary figure for his exploits during service bravery, bucking authority and the rules, and for his success in collecting loot and booty for resale and trade.

      Returned to New Zealand 31 October 1944 and discharged in February the following year having served 5 years 9 days

      He was closely associated with the Newmarket Returned Servicemen’s Association. The club still holds an annual pool competition in which members compete for the Charlie Shelford trophy.

      Closely associated with the Te Unga Waka Marae, Clyde Street, Epsom, Auckland; kaumatua and one of the first Maori Warden

      Tangi held at the Te Unga Waka Marae AWMM
    • Documentary TV film of his life story Public - Brenda - Other Relative - 13 February 2015 - Maori TV. Telecast ANZAC DAY 2012.
      To view the film go to
Read more


About death

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  • Age at death
    63 AWMM
  • Date of death
    7 May 1984 AWMM
  • Cause of death
    Accidental Death AWMM
  • Place of death
    Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Death notes
    • Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
    • Coroner's Report available Archives New Zealand Public - Brenda - Other Relative - 13 February 2015 - Archives New Zealand, Wellington
  • Cemetery name
    Mangere Public Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Grave reference
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference
  • Obituary
    Death Notice: RSA Review Last Post AWMM

Roll of Honour

Remember Charles Shelford by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Charles Shelford

Leave a note

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  • He is my Nan's Father ( Huia Shelford ) , il make sure his legacy lives on !
    Public - Dallas Ray Morunga - Direct descendant - 1 May 2017
  • He is my grate gran auncle my dads dad brother he looks like my brother in this photo
    Public - Edith - 25 April 2017
  • I remeber Uncle Charlie when I was growing up when I was a little girl.He used to be in the New Zealand army.
    Public - Erin Elizabeth - Other relative - 25 April 2017



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 3: WW2 430 AWMM
    • Awatere, A. (2003). Awatere : a soldier's story. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia. AWMM
    • New Zealand Genealogist AWMM
      Joyce, B. (2004). Charles Shelford. New Zealand genealogist. AWMM
    • RSA review: the official journal of the N.Z. Returned Services' Association AWMM
      Death Notice: Last Post AWMM


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01 May 2017Dallas Ray MorungaAuckland , New ZealandDirect descendant
25 April 2017EdithAuckland Other
25 April 2017Erin ElizabethAuckland, New ZealandOther relative
13 February 2015BrendaWellington New ZealandOther Relative