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Eric John Brennan

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Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Eric John AWMM
  • Surname
    Brennan AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 519802 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    22 June 1911 AWMM KakahiManawatu-Wanganui AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 1943 AWMM Kaitaia AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs. E.L. Brennan, North St., Kaitaia (w) AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 519802 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    6 April 1944 AWMM
    'On 18 December 1943 Trooper Brennan drove his tank in the advance on ARIELLI, Italy, under heavy shell and mortar fire. When his tank reached the outskirts of the village it was hit five times with armour-piercing shells and although the Shells did not pierce the armour the tank was seriously disabled, having the traversing gear damaged and the gun put out of action. A shell struck the cupular ring and decapitated the commander and as it appeared the tank might burst into flames the crew abandoned it. After reaching comparative safety at some 1000 yards distance it was decided that the tank was not aflame and Trooper Brennan voluntarily returned to it under shell mortar and small-arms fire, managed with difficulty to start it and drove it safely back out of action. He then went forward into the same fire on foot and assisted a wounded comrade back. His gallant action under very heavy fire not only helped to save the life of a wounded man but prevented the loss of valuable equipment and documents which otherwise might have fallen into enemy hands.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Brennan, Eric John. (Ref. WO 373/5/459). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Embarkations

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  • Embarkation details
    WW2 Trooper AWMM

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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  • Capt E. J. Brennan, MM; Kaitaia; born Kakahi, 22 Jun 1911; clerk, P & T Dept; twice wounded. (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p.410.)

    'We opened up on the houses with HE and Co-ax. The leading tank was then hit by an anti-tank weapon, which tore off the cupola ring, killing Sergeant Laird. The rest of the crew bailed out successfully. The tanks that were on the road then retired and took up a hull-down position and shot up the houses and the road. A wounded man was reported a hundred yards short of the railway crossing. Lt. cullinane took his tank to rescue this man. His tank was bogged. He called me up to tow him out and… the towing bogged me.

    Luckily, nothing more was heard from the gun that had done this damage, which was well hidden away among the jumble of buildings in Arielli and would have been almost impossible to dig out. But mortar bombs were still falling along the road, and more tanks were sticking fast as they tried to manoeuvre across the fields. So about 4 p.m. the advance was called off and the tanks were ordered back to 21 Battalion's lines. Laird's tank was recovered by Trooper Eric Brennan, its driver, who ran back to it and drove it off down the road, covered by fire from Sergeant Ron Sweet's tank. Cullinane's and Edmonds's tanks had to be left behind, locked down, with all portable gear removed. Others were dug free or hauled back on to the road, and the whole force filed back along the Orsogna road, still alert for trouble, which, happily, did not occur.' (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p. 410.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    1 October 2004 Noel Smith Research Project
    Age 76 AWMM
  • 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

Roll of Honour

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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, 6 April 1944, p.1588.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36456/supplements/1588
      Further Reference
    • 'On 18 December 1943 Trooper Brennan drove his tank in the advance on ARIELLI, Italy, under heavy shell and mortar fire. When his tank reached the outskirts of the village it was hit five times with armour-piercing shells and although the Shells did not pierce the armour the tank was seriously disabled, having the traversing gear damaged and the gun put out of action. A shell struck the cupular ring and decapitated the commander and as it appeared the tank might burst into flames the crew abandoned it. After reaching comparative safety at some 1000 yards distance it was decided that the tank was not aflame and Trooper Brennan voluntarily returned to it under shell mortar and small-arms fire, managed with difficulty to start it and drove it safely back out of action. He then went forward into the same fire on foot and assisted a wounded comrade back. His gallant action under very heavy fire not only helped to save the life of a wounded man but prevented the loss of valuable equipment and documents which otherwise might have fallen into enemy hands.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Brennan, Eric John. (Ref. WO 373/5/459). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C8907578
      Further Reference
  • References
    • Dawson, W. (1961). 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.410, 573, 575, 620. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 12 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1943 to 31st December, 1943). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.22 AWMM
    • This record was partially completed by information provided by Noel George Smith (2020-2021). AWMM

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