Husband of Barbara nee Aitken
A veteran of Cassino he kept in touch with Mr Karl Newedel who was in the German paratroopers in the attack on Cassino Abbey. Mr Newedel made a visit to New Zealand in 1999.
Cenotaph record initially prepared with the serviceman in 1999
Maj J. F. Moodie, MC, ED; Burnham Military Camp; born Dunedin, 13 Jan 1917; student; Sqn Comd 20 Regt Mar-Sep 1945; twice wounded. (Source: Glue, W.A. & Pringle, D.J.C. 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p.235.)
'At 3.40 p. m. the Intelligence Officer, Second-Lieutenant Sullivan, who was at the observation post on the escarpment, warned Brigade that he had seen a large column of vehicles led by fourteen tanks approaching from the west, and about eight miles north. The column swung past Minqar Qaim and, continuing the curve, approached the Division's position from the north-east and south-east. Three heavy tanks had passed south when suddenly the column divided, and one group approached the 20th while the other continued south-east. Brigade warned the battalion not to fire until certain identification was possible as the column might be an ASC one. However, swastikas were soon observed on the approaching vehicles and action commenced.
Its crew flushed with victory, a captured two-pounder en portée led a group of other vehicles at high speed down the Khalda track towards the gap in the minefield. Lieutenant Cottrell of 9 Platoon A Company describes its reception:
We were well dug in and the portee (a captured one of ours with a swastika across the front) came straight through at full speed towards my platoon. My front section was in charge of an old soldier, Corporal Bob Doig from Ashburton, who was killed that night. In a clear voice he said, ‘Hold your fire till I tell you.’ Every man in the platoon had his weapon trained on that portee. On and on it came and still Doig's calm voice said, ‘Hold it—hold it—hold it—Fire!’ Every gun hit its mark and the portee stopped immediately. Most of its crew were dead—we sent the wounded ones back as prisoners and kept the swastika.
At the same time the newly-formed anti-tank platoon went into action. Nonchalantly smoking his pipe, Sergeant McConchie, with three campaigns as an infantryman behind him, directed the fire of a gun which, with the unit armourer as gunner, stopped the leading enemy portée with its first shot. Lieutenant Moodie directed another crew which destroyed two troop-carriers before the gun was damaged and he was slightly wounded in the knee. He then directed the crew to the safety of slit trenches and retrieved the portée. Collecting his crew, he drove back up the escarpment to get the gun repaired and then took it forward for further action.
Meanwhile McConchie's gun and crew had accounted for a light tank, a troop-carrier and two lorries. These actions had been very encouraging for the men of the rifle companies, who by now were firing steadily. Mines which had been laid on top of the ground caused the enemy to turn either right or left, where they were engaged by the guns and small arms. One command vehicle got a direct hit at close range and disintegrated. Enemy infantry had debussed at close small-arms range to pick up the mines, but they soon ran back into the scrub, where they were hard to locate. Captain Upham daringly stood up on the cab of a truck to draw their fire and mortars were used to flush them. Upham, with characteristic coolness, moved round his company on foot, crossing open ground swept by small-arms and mortar fire, steadying one platoon which was under shellfire and encouraging his men; he set an example appreciated by all who saw it, except perhaps the field gunners, whose 25-pounders were firing over C Company's positions over open sights.
A Company's commander, Captain Washbourn, endeavoured to have the field guns directed on to a re-entrant to the right into which a steady stream of enemy vehicles was disappearing. A few shells went over but shortage of ammunition curtailed the effort. The artillery at this time was reduced to thirty-five rounds a gun, which included armour-piercing and smoke shells.
During the day when fire from enemy in the scrub wounded Sergeant McConchie's gunner and damaged the firing mechanism of the gun, he coolly walked out to the enemy portée, salvaged the firing mechanism, and fitted it to his own gun. Later, with Lieutenant Moodie, he drove out to the portée and towed it back to the battalion's lines. For their courage and resource in this action McConchie received the DCM and Moodie the MC.' (Source: Glue, W.A. & Pringle, D.J.C. 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. pp. 235-236.)
Awarded MBE, MC, ED and Bar for service as a long term NZ Army Medical Officer. Buried in Ashburton- details tba AWMM