Captain J. A. Redpath, DCM, MM; Kerikeri; born Christchurch, 2 Feb 1904; company manager; p.w. Jun 1941; escaped Jul 1941; returned to Egypt Oct 1941; wounded and p.w., Antiparos, 17 Feb 1942; escaped, Italy, Sep 1943; served in ‘A’ Force (MI 9) in Middle East, 1941–45. (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p.50.)
'The Company was called on for a multitude of duties, for with the Wavell offensive in full swing, Baggush was a hive of industry; one detachment was kept busy with the unloading and checking of supplies at Sidi Haneish, another was working on an aqueduct at Burbeita; another was helping Workshops Section to get established. Thirty sappers with diesel experience were sent to Sidi Barrani to salvage abandoned Italian vehicles; a second party was scouring the late battlefield for enemy water-carrying trucks. Sometimes the trucks were found in going order but generally they had to be towed to the repair shop that Bill Gourlick and Arthur Roberts had liberated.
Sergeant John Redpath piloted the convoys of repaired Italian water carts up to Sollum where Cypriot drivers, under command of an RASC Water Supply Company, took them over. The small one-jetty harbour at Sollum was already being used for the unloading of stores and water transported by sea from Alexandria.
There was nothing to keep the curious at the jetty, which was also the point where the road left the coast and climbed an escarpment that had now turned north to the coast. The few stone sheds and huts scattered around the jetty marked where Egypt, to all military intents and purposes, ended and the top of the escarpment was practically the beginning of Italian Libya. The Sollum-Bardia road snaked up the near precipice and passed the white buildings of the Egyptian frontier garrison barracks near the top. The whole area was pitted with caves, a fortunate circumstance because of the air raids and occasional heavy shells from a long-range gun in Bardia. Australian troops were squaring up for an assault on the 17-mile perimeter defences of Bardia about ten miles inside Libya—and 20,000 men use a lot of water.
Prisoners of War - Among the first to reach the Allied lines near Naples was a NZ sergeant from Campo PG 5, who had jumped from the train taking him to Germany and had wasted no time making his way south. Sergeant J. A. Redpath, DCM, MM (19 A Tps Coy). He had previously escaped from Galatas camp on Crete, made his way to Greece, and led a party of 17, which he brought back to North Africa. He then joined ‘A’ Force for operations in Greece, but was captured by Italians on the island of Antiparos. Involved in a tunnel escape at Campo PG 35, he was sent to Campo PG 5 and was there at the time of the armistice.
' (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p. 50.; Mason, W.W. Prisoners of War. pp. 312.) AWMM