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Thomas Moir

Group of POWs in Stalag XVIIIA, Germany, December 1941, received in New Zealand in January 1942. Vincent Hayes is third from the left in the front row. He is believed to have been the oldest in the group. The others in the photograph have not been identified. - This image may be subject to copyright

Group of POWs in Stalag XVIIIA, Germany, December 1941, received in New Zealand in January 1942. Vin …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas AWMM
  • Surname
    Moir AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 1481 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    4 January 1917 AWMM GisborneNew Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 16 September 1939 AWMM 449 Victoria Street, Hamilton, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs I. Moir (mother), 449 Victoria Street, Hamilton, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 5 January 1940 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 1481 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
      London Gazette 9/9/1942 "Sgt. Moir was one of a party of nine which escaped from Crete. They were all captured immediately after the fighting but escaped within a month and then like other odd prisoners of war at liberty on Crete they wandered in twos and threes from village to village, living as long as they could in each place, generally in the district west of Maleme. They found a boat, only to discover it was not seaworthy. They tried a second time, but this time the weather defeated them. They then heard of two diesel-engined and several sailing boats at the village of Mesoyia. They stole the best-looking sailing boat, as the owner might have removed a vital part of the diesel-engined cradt, and the noise of engines at might attract the Germans. There was also the problem of fuel. They spent the next two days collecting olives and bread from their friends in the hills, but many others must have known they were going as they were caught as they set of. Though the cretans were sympathetic, robbery was not taken lightly; protests and warning of weather and certain shipwreck were flung at them. But nine determined me, hardened by months of rough living, were not easily thwarted and they sailed at midnight on 8 April 1942. They had a little water and put in at a sheltered creek where they knew of a brackish but drinkable well in the hills above and left again that night hoping to reach Mersah Matruh. Two days later the mountains of Crete could still be seen about sixty miles away. German aircraft passed but paid no attention. Sgt. Moir had had some experience of navigation and another member of the party had done some sailing. On 14 April 1942 they landed at Sidi Barrani, Egypt, with about 16 days supply of water, a few olives and three loaves of bread in hand. There seems to have been no question of the leadership of this party. Their problems were resolved by discussion but credit for their safe crossing must go chiefly to Sgt. Moir. This party, in view of their long stay on the island under the most trying conditions and in constant danger of recapture, experienced an extraordinary difficult time behind enemy lines in Crete, and their final escape required great courage and determination. Undaunted by all they had been through, Sgt. Moir and three other members of the party volunteered to return to Crete and rescue other esapers known to be hiding on the island." AWMM
    • Military Medal (MM) AWMM
      Military Medal citation, L.G. 20 June 1946. " S/Sgt. Moir escaped from Crete and then volunteered to return to the island and help personnel remaining there. He was landed in Crete on 17 March 1943, for the purpose of collecting and assisting Imperial personnel known to be hiding on the island. For nearly two months he walked the mountains locating the escapees and preparing a plan for their evacuation. During this time S/Sgt. Moir showed great tenacity and underwent considerable physical hardships and privation. At the beginning of June 1943, a party of 50 Imperial personnel were ready for evacuation. Unfortunately on 4 June, S/Sgt. Moir was captured by a German patrol. Attempts were made to effect his escape but they were unsuccessful and he was eventually taken to Germany. The fact that S/Sgt. Moir was captured only three days before evacuation was to take place and that all his plans were ready made, enabled the operation to be carried out despite his capture. It was entirely due to the efforts of S/sgt. Moir that the 50 Imperial personnel were collected and dispatched to the Middle East. In addition, a further 17 Greeks were also evacuated with the party." AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    • WW2
      1 June 1941 AWMM
    • WW2 POW - Stalag XVIII-A, Wolfsberg, Austria AWMM
      Sep 1943 AWMM
    • WW2 POW - Stalag XVIII-A, Wolfsberg, Austria AWMM
      Sep 1943 AWMM
    • WW2
      5 June 1943 AWMM
    • WW2 POW - Stalag XVIII-A, Wolfsberg, Austria 2NZEF, Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. N.Z. 1945.
      Germany, Europe 2NZEF, Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. N.Z. 1945.
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
    WW2 23 May 1945 AWMM
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number
    5988 AWMM

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Thomas Moir was the son of G. and I. Moir

    Husband of Rachel

    Reported missing in June 1941; reported safe in Allied lines 14 April 1942; recaptured 4 June 1943.

    Staff Sergeant T. Moir, DCM, MM; Kiangaroa, Rotorua; born Gisborne, 4 Jan 1916; service station attendant; p.w. 1 Jun 1941; escaped 18 Jun 1941; returned to Egypt, Apr 1942; seconded to MI 5, May 1942, and returned to Crete; recaptured 5 Jun 1943. (Source: Kidson, A.L. Petrol Company. p.142.)

    'The official history, Crete, also details the adventures of other Petrol Company escapists, viz., Drivers J. Symes, F. P. H. McCoy, W. H. Swinburne, P. L. Winter and H. F. Mace. Besides breaking out in Crete, Winter also got away from a prison in Greece, after which he received a brutal beating-up. Symes dodged about, living in caves, and evading German round-up parties, for nearly two years. He finally made contact with a NZ staff-sergeant, T. Moir (who was helping with an escape organisation on Crete), and got off the island in May 1943.' (Source: Kidson, A.L. Petrol Company. p. 142.; Mason, W.W. Prisoners of War. p. 70.; Murphy, W.E. 2nd NZ Divisional Artillery. p. 165.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    22 December 1975 AWMM
    WellingtonNew Zealand AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Karori Cemetery Wellington New Zealand AWMM Soldier Ashes, 271 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Funeral Service was held on the 24th December, 1971 at Karori Cemetery Chapel. AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Leave a tribute or memory of Thomas Moir

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  • a hero and brave soldeir
    Public - lizzy - Other relative - 21 March 2023
  • A brave and caring soldier, father, husband and citizen of New Zealand. Sadly missed.
    Public - Dudley Thomas - Child - 17 August 2015



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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
      WW2 1: WW2 126 AWMM
    • Polaschek, A. (1983). The Complete New Zealand Distinguished Conduct Medal. Christchurch, N.Z.: Medals Research. AWMM
    • Murphy, W. (1966). 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.165. AWMM
    • Kidson, A. (1961). Petrol Company. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.142. AWMM
    • Mason, W.W. (1954) Prisoners of war. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.70, 71, 229. AWMM
    • List of 2NZEF Prisoners of War. 1941-1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2009/8. AWMM
    • Great Britain Army. (1945). Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. London, U.K.: Government Printer. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. and Pomeroy, M.J. (2016). Gallant Acts and Noble Deeds: New Zealand army honours and awards for the Second World War. Auckland, N.Z.: Fair Dinkum Publications.; P.J. Beattie and M.J. Pomeroy, 2016. AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
21 March 2023lizzyAucklandOther relative
17 August 2015Dudley ThomasNew ZealandChild

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