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Bartholomew Roach

Photo was found in amongst family photo albums

Bart Roach

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  • Title
  • Forenames
    Bartholomew AWMM
  • Surname
    Roach AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Bart Roach AWMM
  • Service number
    63209 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    12 January 1919 AWMM HamiltonWaikato AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 22 January 1940 AWMM c/o Savings Bank, Accounts Branch, CPO, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
    New Zealand Post Office Employee/Civilian AWMM
    Resumed working with the Post Office Savings Bank Auckland AWMM
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr Patrick Roach (father), 172 Galloway Street, Hamilton, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 7 April 1941 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    Infantry training AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 22 January 1940 AWMM
    Age 21 AWMM
    Civil servant/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on 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
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Chest and head injuries AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Admitted to the 26 Scottish Hospital Israel and No.2 NZ General Hospital Helwan Egypt. AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • When Mr Roach was 20 years, September 1939, he enlisted with the Air Force but failed the medical examination. He then enlisted in the Army in early 1940.

    He described in a letter what happened to his Battalion:

    " My unit 21 Infantry Battalion was captured at Sidi Rezegh because the Germans advanced at noon with British 2 ton trucks lined across the front. We were expecting to be relieved by the 5th South African Brigade and when we saw this large mass of transport, raising clouds of dust my commanders were deceived into believing this column was our relief on time. The 5th South African Brigade had in fact been demolished by the Germans in a very bloody battle.

    When the Germans pointed guns at us at very close range my company commander gave the order "Every man for himself". I heard this and escaped over the escarpment with all my gear and was pulled onto a retreating British anti-aircraft unit that had heavy losses. The British major had been killed and I was given the use of his sleeping bag for the night. I was taken to Divisional or Brigade Headquarters in the morning. Thenceforth I was called a name I have forgotten.

    Only one other 21 soldier escaped capture. All the officers had been captured and immediately taken by air to Athens as Prisoners of War. The other survivors, minus any officers, were returned to New Zealand lines by, and thanks to the Royal Artillery ten days later.

    I was wounded at Minqar Qaim and for keeps at El Alamein.

    It has been a major disappointment to my contemporaries that they did not receive recognition for the very difficult circumstances and high casualty rate at Ruweisat Ridge. These casualties chide me on the (word unclear)." (The above information was received in a letter from Mr Roach to the Auckland War Memorial Museum Armoury in March 1999.)

    In a further letter to the Armoury : "It may be of interest to you that during our service in Aleppo, Syria, we used to listen to Berlin Radio which seemed to know about our forward movements before we did.

    About 16th June in the Berlin broadcast by Boxer, ex-paratrooper, then radio Broadcaster Max Schmeling that "hullo New Zealanders we are soon going to meet in the Western Desert."

    This caused great amusement at least for a few days until we heard on the BBC to our great concern that the Germans had outflanked the British line in Libya and Rommel was in full and unimpeded progress to Alexandria. We were in the Syrian desert on manoeuvres when we got the word. back to the Western Desert Boys. That ruined a good holiday in historical Syria."

    Husband of Esme; father of Bryan

    7 April 1941 The 5th Reinforcements of 2 NZEF (222 officers and 6066 other ranks) embarked at Wellington for the Middle East in Mauretania and Nieuw Amsterdam. The troops in the latter ship transferred to Aquitania at Singapore on 25 April. They reached Egypt on 13 May 1941. From 'CHRONOLOGY New Zealand in the War 1939-1946' compiled by R Kay, 1968. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    12 May 2007 AWMM
    Age 88 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Leave a tribute or memory of Bartholomew Roach

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  • Peace - Love. Thank you for your contribution to our country. You are always remembered with great fondness. RIP, Pauline xx
    Public - Pauline - Other Relative - 23 April 2015



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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 300 AWMM
    • Veterans' club : the comradeship and memories of Auckland's 21st infantry battalion. Auckland War Memorial Museum : Auckland. Accompanies exhibition held in the Pictorial Gallery, second floor, Auckland War Memorial Museum, 24 March-21 May 2006. AWMM
    • 21 New Zealand Infantry Battalion Association Inc. Records, 1955 - 2005. Auckland War Memorial Museum. MS-2008-42. AWMM
    • 21 Battalion (Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45) AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
13 March 2017PaulineHamiltonChild
23 April 2015PaulineHamiltonOther Relative

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