John Ross Cromarty AWMM
Also known as
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Unknown AWMM c/o J.M. Monckton, Patutahi, Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
Mr J.W. Angus (father), 5 Playfair Terrace, St Andrews, Scotland AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Son of J. W. Angus and of Mary I. B. Angus (nee Cromarty), of Aberdeen, Scotland
Two good maps of the action of 25 Battalion between 23 and 27 November 1941 can be seen on pages 104 and 139 of the Official History of 25 Battalion by Edward Puttick. The Battalion was taking part in the Second Libyan Campaign when Private Angus was killed near Sidi Rezegh. Details of the New Zealanders movements are recorded in detail from 3 am on 23 November. The force had been on the move until 8 pm the previous evening and was ordered to be ready to move again at 3 am. At 6 am, just before dawn, they halted for breakfast. "...everyone was busy preparing a meal in which hot tea would occupy pride of place and innumerable small fires sprang up all around. At 6.30 am when the visibility had increased to about 300 yards, a column of armoured cars, staff cars, lorried infantry and towed anti-tank guns appeared, unobserved of course by the majority of the men, whose first intimation of anything amiss was the sudden, startling roar of our artillery and anti-tank guns, firing at point-blank range.' Described by Lance Sergeant Huss of 13 Platoon C Company - 'Nov. 23 started with an early brush with ... the staff echelon of some Panzer outfit. This approached us in the half-light ... just before dawn. An artillery despatch-rider was sent across to investigate and when, having identified the Germans at uncomfortably-close quarters, he swung his motor bike about and came hurtling back, everything started to happen. Our artillery opened up at point blank range and had most of the enemy vehicles in flames in a matter of minutes.'
On orders from Brigadier Barrowclough Point 175 was attacked with the intention of capturing and holding it. The timing of the attach left little opportunity for detailed instructions to be given, meagre information regarding the enemy was available and the countryside was such that there were few options except to proceed with orthodox attack formation.
'This operation was the battalion's first desert battle and in fact its first attack, and that the majority of the officers and other ranks had had little battle experience, it is remarkable that the battalion succeeded to the extent that it did.'
'It did in fact capture and hold Hill 175, though it did not capture the whole of the objective beyond the cairn and was forced to give up that part of the further objective captured by D and C Companies. Twenty-fifth Battalion's casualties in this very severe battle were extremely heavy, the dead alone probably exceeding 100 and the wounded about 150, the heaviest casualties in dead and wounded of any similar battalion action by New Zealand troops in the whole war. Another 100 were captured.' (pp 133ff of 25 Battalion by E. Puttick)
It appears that Private Angus had the same serial number as Lance Corporal Robert Lines. AWMM
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John Ross Cromarty Angus
Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
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