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Maxwell Ray Blacktopp

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Maxwell Ray AWMM
  • Surname
    Blacktopp AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 441132 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    19 March 1922 AWMM GreymouthGrey District AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 1944 AWMM 4 Martimer Tce., Wellington AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mr. W. Blacktopp, 4 Mortimer Tce., Wellington (f) AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 441132 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    18 October 1945 AWMM
    'On the night of 18-19 April 1945 when the attack was continued across the GAIANA and QUADERNA canal systems, Italy, Sapper (temporary Lance Corporal) Blacktopp was called out from the reserve platoon to operate a dozer on the clearing of the main road. The enemy appeared to have the demolitions accurately registered and as the dozer moved in to work at each site it was subjected to heavy shelling and mortar fire, together with machine-gun fire in the earlier stages of the battle. With steadiness and courage Sapper Blacktopp kept his machine working to full capacity. At the crossing of the last canal his platoon officer was wounded and the blast of the same shell lifted his machine off the road and damaged some of the mechanism. Although considerably shaken, Sapper Blacktopp quickly affected temporary repairs and in spite of the continued heavy shelling carried on for another twenty minutes to complete the final crossing for the passage of the tanks. As he was moving his machine clear of the road it was again put out of action by shell-fire but later evacuated. Sapper Blacktopp displayed courage and perseverance of a very high order in opening up the road before daylight he rendered invaluable service.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Blacktopp, Maxwell Ray. (Ref. WO 373/14/291). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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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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  • Lance Corporal M. R. Blacktopp, MM; Wellington; born Greymouth, 19 Mar 1922; PWD employee. (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p.701.)

    'It was decided to open the main highway, and Captain Keller, detailed to make a ‘recce’ of the new axis, returned for a tank to remove an enemy post that had been overrun. A reserve dozer made a crossing at the demolished bridge site and the party pushed on to the Acquarolo, where they found the bridge intact. The next obstacle, the Fossatone, was a branch of the Quaderna and needed a lot of work.

    The area was under defensive enemy fire, and the blast of a shell that wounded Captain Keller lifted the dozer into the air and damaged its mechanism. The operator, Sapper Blacktopp, was very shaken but made repairs while Keller, propped up on the side of the road, directed the work until the crossing was through. They were later decorated with MC and MM respectively. The soft-skinned machines were left at this point and an armoured dozer from an attached section of 28 Assault Squadron, driven by Corporal C. H. Anderton, took over. Owing to the lack of experienced Sherman dozer operators he had been working his machine with a minimum of sleep since he was blown up on the Senio, and he received a well merited MM in the next honours list. L-Corporal M. R. Blacktopp, MM; Wellington; born Greymouth, 19 Mar 1922.; Italy II - The sappers of 6 Field Company, assisted by the bulldozers of 27 Mechanical Equipment Company, had difficulty in opening routes for the tanks and supporting arms of 9 Brigade because of the defensive fire which delayed them at the start and because of the German snipers and machine-gunners who had survived the infantry attack or had infiltrated from the right flank. The first obstacle, the Gaiana, had not been cleared in Divisional Cavalry's sector by 3.30 a.m. It was decided, therefore, to open the Budrio road instead. A crossing of the river was bulldozed at the demolished bridge site, and a party rushed on to the Acquarolo, where fortunately the bridge was still intact. The next obstacle, the Fossatone, was under defensive fire, and while working there Captain Keller was wounded and a bulldozer damaged by shellfire. Although very shaken, the bulldozer operator (Lance-Corporal Blacktopp) repaired his machine and carried on with the work, which Keller continued to supervise.' (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p. 701.; Kay, R. Italy Volume II : From Cassino to Trieste. p. 477.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.' (London Gazette, 18 October 1945, p.5102.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/37310/supplements/5102
      Further Reference
    • 'On the night of 18-19 April 1945 when the attack was continued across the GAIANA and QUADERNA canal systems, Italy, Sapper (temporary Lance Corporal) Blacktopp was called out from the reserve platoon to operate a dozer on the clearing of the main road. The enemy appeared to have the demolitions accurately registered and as the dozer moved in to work at each site it was subjected to heavy shelling and mortar fire, together with machine-gun fire in the earlier stages of the battle. With steadiness and courage Sapper Blacktopp kept his machine working to full capacity. At the crossing of the last canal his platoon officer was wounded and the blast of the same shell lifted his machine off the road and damaged some of the mechanism. Although considerably shaken, Sapper Blacktopp quickly affected temporary repairs and in spite of the continued heavy shelling carried on for another twenty minutes to complete the final crossing for the passage of the tanks. As he was moving his machine clear of the road it was again put out of action by shell-fire but later evacuated. Sapper Blacktopp displayed courage and perseverance of a very high order in opening up the road before daylight he rendered invaluable service.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Blacktopp, Maxwell Ray. (Ref. WO 373/14/291). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7355728
      Further Reference
  • Documents
    • Cody, J.F. (1961). New Zealand Engineers, Middle East. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.701. AWMM
    • Kay, R. (1967). Italy. Volume 2. From Cassino to Trieste. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.477. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 14 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1944 to 31st December, 1944). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.11 AWMM
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