Name listed under the name Porter (Poata) William in the Nominal Roll 2. Listed under the name Porter, Poata William in Nominal Roll 16
Maj W. Porter, MC and bar; Kaeo; born Taumarere, 23 Aug 1915; taxi driver; twice wounded. (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. p.58.)
'The day (the 25th) was spent by A and B, the two raiding companies, in making preparations—oiling weapons, testing magazine springs, loosening grenade pins and putting really sharp points to bayonets. It is the point that counts in a bayonet, the rest is muscle and wrist action. Battalion Headquarters also was very busy; orders conforming with the artillery programme were prepared and given; an engineer detachment to blow holes in the wire was briefed; C Company was to place a platoon in each of A and B Companies' areas while the tenants were away; two platoons from 23 Battalion were to act as covering party while the start line tapes were put out and were to remain out until the Maoris withdrew. The setting up of a forward RAP and a dozen other details were attended to. The scene where the companies assembled was, in the eyes of Brigadier Kippenberger, an impressive one: Half an hour before zero I went up to see them off. Both companies, Ngapuhi under Porter and Arawa under Pene, were ready, waiting together at the near end of the tape. I walked about among them and was amazed and amused by the number of weapons they were carrying. Every other man had an automatic, mostly captured Spandaus or Bredas, they were loaded with grenades, many had pistols, very few had rifle and bayonet only. Otherwise they were lightly equipped. The Maori padre spoke to them, most eloquently and impressively. Then he said a prayer, very moving in the utter silence. Baker asked me to speak. I did so briefly. I said how many guns would be in support—there were grunts of satisfaction—that I was confident they would do well, wished them all good fortune and concluded by saying: ‘The fame of your people and the honour of your battalion are in your hands to-night.’ There was a pause and a moment's silence, broken by a long burst from a Spandau in the salient. A man said: ‘Let her go, boy, that's your last.’ Baker said: ‘On your feet, men,’ said ‘Goodbye’ to me, and they moved silently off and disappeared into the gloom.
The ‘I’ section had made a good job of the start line, with each platoon area clearly defined and lacking only individual place cards. Captain Porter (A Company) on the right was to sweep around the lip of the depression behind the enemy wire then wheel right and return direct to his own lines, while Captain Pene (B Company) was to keep abreast of Porter, go down into the depression and up the far side, return over his own route, then back home via the gaps he had entered by.
At precisely 4 a.m. the concentrated fire of two divisional artilleries fell with an overpowering whine-roar-crash on the eastern tip of El Mreir and the raiders closed up towards the barrage. The guns lifted their range, the engineers streaked forward into the dust and smoke with bangalore torpedoes, and the Maoris leant forward like runners waiting the starting pistol. The flash of the exploding bangalores was the signal for a race for the resulting holes in the wire. The enemy defensive fire came down across his own eastern front, which was quite the wrong place. It also fell in the battalion defences, which it will be remembered were occupied by C Company, who also considered the fire to be in quite the wrong place.
The reserve platoon with Battalion Headquarters was just through the wire when the first prisoners appeared. Lieutenant Waaka writes:
One was a huge fellow, well over six feet and who appeared larger still in the dust and smoke haze. The smallest chap in my platoon, ‘Hoot’ Hapimana, who stands at five feet nothing, immediately ran forward and circling around the bloke rummaged at his clothes. The Italian looked down amazedly at this little chap apparently unconcerned at the sight of a gigantic enemy and only interested in his waist line. I was also wondering what Hoot was up to until he burst out disgustedly, ‘No bloody luger’ and kicked the Itie in the seat of his pants, or as close to the seat as his short legs could get. The old tale, loot at all costs.
The attack itself was a gory business. A Company overran sixteen machine-gun posts, half of which fell to 9 Platoon led by Sergeant Jack August, who was awarded an MM for his aggressive leadership. Lieutenant Waaka's most vivid memory is overtaking Lieutenant Hamilton, NZE, standing with his hands on his hips and swearing disgustedly because he had a spare bangalore and nothing in sight to blow up. The two sappers carrying the torpedo eventually ditched it. Thirty-five minutes had been allowed for the raid and A Company, with time on its hands, found its immediate vicinity on the far side so peaceful that cigarettes were produced and lighted one from the butt of the other, after which Captain Porter gathered up his sixteen prisoners and, hands firmly and deeply in his pockets, led his men home. A bar to the MC awarded for his leadership in the Libyan campaign was later announced.' (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. pp. 211-212.) AWMM