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Joe Atkins

Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War II Hall of Memories Panel  A_010. Image taken June 2020.

Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War II Hall of Memories Panel A_010. Image taken June 2020.

© Auckland Museum CC BY AWMM


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Joe AWMM
  • Surname
    Atkins AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Joe Atkins Hamilton AWMM
  • Service number
    39642 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
    b. 1913 Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 21 June 2023 -
  • Place of birth
    East Coast, Gisborne Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 21 June 2023 -
  • Birth notes
    Son of Tom and Maferoa Atkins, of Tikitiki, East Coast, Gisborne Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 21 June 2023 -
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM C/o J. Morgan, Eureka, Hamilton, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr T. Atkins (father), Tikitiki, East Coast, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Western Desert AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    39642 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Labourer/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

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
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Joe Atkins was the son of Tom and Maferoa Atkins of Tiki Tiki

    The circumstances leading up to the death of Private Atkins are outlined in The Story of the Maori Battalion by Wira Gardiner. "On 10 December 1941, the Maori [Battalion] were on the move westwards past Menastir, the scene of their recent triumph, and on toward Gazala. 5 Brigade was to move west towards Gazala but not get involved in serious fighting. Seventeen miles west of Tobruk, the battalions were given their tasks. 23 Battalion was to move down the main coastal road. The Maori were to move along a track on the escarpment overlooking the coast road. 22 Battalion moved further south.

    The 28 (Maori) Battalion's first objective was Sidi Mgherreb, 'a slight rise dominated by a little hill hardly more than a pimple on the desert'. It was a very strong position, protected by a minefield on its left flank and by a line of 26 anti-tank guns, interlaced with machine guns and mortars on its right." Using simple if unorthodox tacts the battalion was successful and took over 1000 prisoners.

    Two days later and 12 km further west the 28 Battalion was in action again, this time the objective was Point 181. The assault (as recorded by Cody in 28 (Maori) Battalion) was a replica of the first. "Colonel Dyer placed Captain Royal in charge with orders to consolidate while he returned to his headquarters back on the first objective. Royal in turn instructed A Company and 17 Platoon to consolidate while he went forward with B. Company to exploit in case there were more enemy about. They found a field ambulance, medical stores, a food truck, a car and several motor cycles.

    The Arawas had taken time off to sample the Italian hot coffee in the food truck when the approach of daylight disclosed still more enemy in trenches close by. They did not offer much opposition and the Maoris took over their weapon pits. B Company's adventures were not yet over for at first light another enemy group was seen about 400 yards away, apparently standing around waiting to surrender. The Maoris were proceeding to oblige them when the enemy suddenly turned and manned some guns behing them, whereupon B Company's men dived for the cover they had just left.

    By the greatest of good fortune a Vickers crew had arrived by this time and came immediately into action cleaning up the enemy gun crews, breaking up an incipient counter-attack, and ensuring that the guns remained unmanned. Captain Royal and Lieutenant D. Stewart were wounded by the same mortar shell and Lieutenant F.T. Bennett took command." The following day the fighting continued around Points 154, 152 and 181. A good map of the Battalion's position and progress during these days of the advance to Gazala can be seen on p. 164 of the Official History of the 28 Battalion. It seems likely that Private Atkins was one of those killed by a shell about two hours before the attack on Point 154 on 15 December. Lieutenant H. Te K. Green and seven others were killed at the same time. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    15 December 1941 AWMM
    Age 28 AWMM
    Western DesertNorth Africa AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Auckland Museum. Roll of Honour, Auckland Province, 1939 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/139. AWMM
    • Soutar, M. (2008). Nga tama toa = The price of citizenship : C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion 1939-1945. Albany, N.Z.: David Bateman. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 2 (Embarkations to 30th June, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 2: WW2 11 AWMM
    • Soutar, M. (2008). Nga tama toa = The price of citizenship : C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion 1939-1945. Albany, N.Z.: David Bateman. AWMM
      Portrait published in Soutar (2008) AWMM
    • Cody, J. (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM


Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
21 June 2023Lorraine MonaGisborne Researcher

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