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William Allan Derrett

Mangere District War Memorial, 23 Domain Rd, Mangere Bridge, Auckland 2022. Image provided by John Halpin 2012, CC BY John Halpin 2012

Mangere District War Memorial, 23 Domain Rd, Mangere Bridge, Auckland 2022. Image provided by John H …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Allan AWMM
  • Surname
    Derrett AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 25542 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    18 October 1914 Mangere Historical Society PateaTaranaki Mangere Historical Society
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Ambury Road, Mangere AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs Ruth Derrett, Ambury Road, Mangere AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 1940 AWMM Single/WWII AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Clerk 2NZEF Nom Roll 3
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • He was the son of William and Ruth Derrett (Source: Mangere Historical Society)

    His last address was at Freeman Home, Te Awamutu.(Source: Mangere Historical Society)

    Sergeant W. A. Derrett, MM; Auckland; born Auckland, 18 Oct 1914; clerk; wounded 30 Aug 1942. (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd NZ Divisional Artillery. p.358.)

    'On 30 August 5 Brigade changed places with 132 Brigade within the NZ Box and the 5th Field and 58th Field did likewise that night, while 32 Battery, already at Halfa, stayed where it was. Enemy shelling as 30 Battery got ready to move killed two men and wounded two and the 58th also suffered loss. Gunners Carew and Derrett of 30 Battery both won an MM this night. Several drivers were hit and their quads were therefore immobilised under heavy fire, a desperate situation. Volunteers offered to drive, Derrett among them, though he was ‘badly and painfully wounded in both feet and the chest’ (to quote his citation). He had to be lifted into the driving seat and mustered his waning powers sufficiently to drive the gun crew together with some wounded drivers, as well as the gun and trailer, through the curtain of fire to an RAP. When he reached there he was on the verge of collapse. Carew's action was less dramatic, but it was typical of the selfless devotion he showed throughout the campaign. He went from his own E3, of which he was a crew member (as well as being the troop medical orderly) to E1 as soon as he heard there were casualties there needing attention. In so doing he had to pass through the thick of the shelling and did so unhesitatingly. He administered first aid and stayed until the wounded could be evacuated, when he managed to get on the last truck of his troop to depart for the new area. Sergeant W. A. Derrett, MM; Auckland; born Auckland, 18 Oct 1914; clerk; wounded 30 Aug 1942.; Alam Halfa and Alamein - The enemy shellfire also caught the artillery reliefs. Careful liaison had been made on the CRA's direction to ensure that the exchange of gun positions between 58 Field Regiment, RA, and 6 NZ Field Regiment should take place in such a way that the maximum possible number of guns would be able to fire in support of the front at any moment. One of the NZ batteries, the 29th, had been set a task in 6 Brigade's raid and its relief was to wait until this task had been completed. With the other two batteries, the 30th and the 48th, the exchange of guns with 58 Field Regiment had begun on time and was proceeding smoothly when shells began to drop around 30 Battery's gun pits. Some of the relieving guns had just been wheeled into the pits, others were still on tow, while several NZ guns and quads were being lined up in convoy ready for the journey out. The first shells caught many of the gunners above ground, causing several casualties, principally among the drivers standing by their vehicles. NZ casualties were two killed and four seriously wounded, but this total might have been higher had not two of the gunners, C. P. Carew and W. A. Derrett, the latter himself wounded, braved the shellfire to clear both guns and wounded from the danger area. The English gunners suffered more severely and several guns and vehicles of both regiments were damaged.' (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd NZ Divisional Artillery. p. 358.; Walker, R. Alam Halfa and Alamein. p. 75.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    1 February 1999 Mangere Historical Society
    Age 84 AWMM
    Te AwamutuWaikato Mangere Historical Society
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Hamilton Memorial Park, Memorial Drive, Hamilton East, 3216 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Mangere Memorial Hall, Domain Road, Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • 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
    • Sutherland, J. (1989). Gallantry awards to New Zealanders in World War Two. Christchurch, N.Z.: Regal Medals. AWMM
      p.71 AWMM
    • Mangere Historical Society: This record was kindly researched by the Mangere Historical Society. AWMM
    • Murphy, W. (1966). 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
    • Walker, R. (1967). Alam Halfa and Alamein. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
    • L.R.D.G. Membership Roll February 1970. Long Range Desert Group (N.Z. Association). Auckland Museum EPH-W2-11-27. AWMM
    • O'Carroll, B. (2000). The Kiwi scorpions : the story of the New Zealanders in the Long Range Desert Group. Devon, England: Token Publishing. AWMM

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