Husband of Pat; father of Dianne, Yvonne, Karen, and Shirley
Private I. Tolich, MM; Te Awamutu; born Yugoslavia, 6 Nov 1922; restaurant assistant; wounded 6 Apr 1945. (Source: Cody, J.F. 21 Battalion. p.415.)
'That night was of the same pattern as the others and in the morning it was D Company's turn. Two tanks arrived to support a platoon attack on the railway strongpoint. They were to fire a ten-minute concentration of armour-piercing and high-explosive shells into the ground around the position in the hope of exploding some of the mines in the area. While the tanks were trying to get into a position to fire, one of them ran on to a mine and was put out of action. The other fulfilled its programme, but the volume of fire in return was too much to face without the certainty of very heavy casualties. Major Fleming thought that a quick dash by a few determined men might take the enemy by surprise. He rang the CO and told him that he contemplated leading the party himself. Colonel McPhail told him that the task did not warrant such a course, but left the matter to the Major's own discretion as the post had to be taken. Fleming decided to lead the attack and called for volunteers. Sergeant Rae, Privates Griffiths, Tolich, and Stephens offered to accompany him. They waited until what appeared an auspicious moment, when the enemy post had been silent for some time, and on an agreed signal streaked across the open space dividing them. The raiders were among the enemy before he knew what was happening and captured ten prisoners and two machine guns.; The Pacific - For the next two hours Taylor's men pressed slowly round the Japanese, who had secured themselves to resist such an attack. Taylor himself, while engaged in a brief duel, was shot in the boot, but killed the Japanese who had shot Private I. N. Tolich.6 When a Bren gun jammed, the leader of the enemy detachment leaned from behind a tree, shot the gunner, and hurled a grenade which wounded two of Taylor's men. Private I. N. Tolich; born NZ 3 Sep 1919; clerk; killed in action 17 Feb 1944.
One section from 17 Platoon (Lieutenant Lockett) occupied the captured post, while a second section dug in on the lower slope of the bank, and the third section, led by Sergeant Rae, went through a culvert under the railway line and dug back on an angle close to the other sections. By midday D Company had the position secure, with two platoons on the bank and 16 Platoon (Second-Lieutenant Boys) in reserve. Major Fleming was awarded an immediate DSO for his exploit, Sergeant Rae a DCM, and Private Tolich an MM. Private I. Tolich, MM; Te Awamutu; born Yugoslavia, 6 Nov 1922; restaurant assistant; wounded 6 Apr 1945.; Italy II - In the evening of the 5th a German raiding party took three prisoners from 18 Platoon. Sergeant Gardyne and others from the same platoon dug through the stopbank and emerged above an enemy post, from which they took five prisoners. Next morning Major Fleming led four volunteers (Sergeant Rae and Privates Griffiths, Tolich and Stephens) from D Company in an audacious dash across open ground to the enemy post near the railway bridge site, where they captured 10 Germans and two machine guns. Early in the afternoon five more Germans surrendered to 21 Battalion after waving a white flag at the exit of a tunnel they had cut through the bank for the purpose. The prisoners and deserters gave invaluable information about the enemy dispositions and defensive-fire plans. On 7 April the Surreys took charge of the part of the stopbank D Company had cleared in 78 Division's sector. Private I. Tolich, MM; Te Awamutu; born Yugoslavia, 6 Nov 1922; restaurant assistant; wounded 6 Apr 1945.' (Source: Cody, J.F. 21 Battalion. pp. 415-16.; Gillespie, O.A. The Pacific. p. 183.; Kay, R. Italy Volume II : From Cassino to Trieste. p. 409.) AWMM