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Nelson Thomas Bray

Mr Bray taken just before sailing overseas in 1939. - This image may be subject to copyright

Mr Bray taken just before sailing overseas in 1939. - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Nelson Thomas AWMM
  • Surname
    Bray AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Lofty AWMM
  • Service number
    9413 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    21 June 1915 AWMM TimaruCanterbury AWMM
    Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 13 September 1939 AWMM Fairlie, South Canterbury, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs L.M. Bray (wife), 97 Fitzgerald Avenue, Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 4 January 1940 AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and 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
    Dental, Unknown Period AWMM
    False teeth AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • He has written a book called A '39er's Story: Remembering the Mediterranean War 1939-43 which is filed in the Armed Services Collection in the Auckland Museum Library. A quote from this book appears below.

    "We in the 1st Echelon were known as '39ers because we were the only ones to join up in 1939. We were sometimes known as wife beaters, debt dodgers, and one jump ahead of the police. Because our ID numbers had four figures, like my 9413, we were also known as four figure men. All New Zealanders who enlisted in England go three-figure identification numbers (under 1000), then Auckland people went from 1000 and the south got the bigger numbers. None of the 1st Echelon had anything higher than a four-figure number. Later chaps had five, six or seven figures in their numbers. We were also known as four-finger men, because we would show four fingers when meeting other soldiers. To show the four fingers we used to bend the thumb into the palm of the hand."

    Mr Bray sailed on the DUNERA, which like the SOBIESKI, a polish boat, had been diverted from India to Lyttelton to pick up troops. They met up with other boats from Wellington which included the ORION, the EMPRESS OF CANADA, the EMPRESS OF JAPAN, the ORCADES, the STRAITHAIRD, the H.M.S. SYDNEY and the H.M.S. EAGLE (an aircraft carrier). AWMM
Read more


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



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.23 AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM

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