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Thomas England Duncan

Whakarewarewa Village, Memorial Gateway, Rotorua (photo J Chong, 1998) - This image may be subject to copyright
Whakarewarewa Village, Memorial Gateway, Rotorua (photo J Ch … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas England AWMM
  • Surname
    Duncan AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    25841 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
    Te Arawa AWMM
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    24 February 1917 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Reporoa, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Puke (mother), Reporoa, 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
    25841 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    4 November 1941 AWMM
    Cpl. Duncan has displayed outstanding initiative and devotion to duty as leader of the small sapper detachment working with the Divisional Cavalry in the advance on Tripoli and throughout the Tunisian campaign. On the 24 March 1943 at Point 209 in the Tebaga-Matmata gap, under intense shelling and mortar fire he demolished thirty-one Italian anti-tanks and field guns thus preventing them falling back into enemy hands. The following day while clearing a track through difficult anti-personnel minefield he was wounded firs by an 'S' mine, but, notwithstanding the painful nature of the latter wound, he refused to be evacuated, and carried on with his task. He made a practice of moving with or ahead of the forward-most tanks and was consequently always on hand to clear hindering minefields which he did no matter what the position of the enemy or how heavy the fire. Near Djebibina on the 5 May 1943 he made a very daring reconnaissance of the heavily mined roads to within 400 yards of the enemy forward defensive localities. On several occasions he himself lifted mines and booby-traps under small arms and heavy mortar fire, and as a result of his efforts the roads were cleared for the armour of the Divisional Cavalry to follow up and engage the enemy. For the greater part of the campaign his was the only engineer party with the cavalry and it was due mainly to his personal efforts, his initiative and courage that the tanks of the Divisional Cavalry were able to negotiate the numerous scattered minefields through Tunisia. His fine leadership, gallantry and resourcefulness at all times have been an inspiration to his men. (L.G. 25/11/1943) The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Duncan, Thomas England. (Ref. WO 373/27/365). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • 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

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Thomas England Duncan was the son of Samuel and Mako Duncan, of Wharepaina, Auckland, New Zealand.

    Corporal T. E. Duncan, MM; born NZ 24 Feb 1917; labourer; wounded 23 May 1941; killed in action 24 Oct 1942. (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. p.90.)

    'Some of these troops were dropped along the west bank of the Platanias River and beyond effective range but were optimistically fired on by A, B, and C Companies until they were hidden in the ground cover.

    A parachute with a load that glistened in the sun floated down about half-way between the enemy and B Company and Private Tommy Duncan13 volunteered to go out and investigate. He stalked the ‘chute and found it contained a canister of weapons, field glasses, and grenades. He was dragging it back when he noticed a party of Germans also bent on retrieving his trophy, which he felt disinclined to part with. He shot two and the others disappeared. This and subsequent exploits won him the Military Medal.' (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. p. 90.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    24 October 1942 AWMM
    Age 25 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
    • Whakarewarewa, Te Hokowhitu-a-tu Memorial Gateway, Rotorua AWMM

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Auckland Museum. Roll of Honour, Auckland Province, 1939 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/139. AWMM
    • 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
      WW2 3: WW2 133 AWMM
    • Cody, J. (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.90, 104, 145, 149. AWMM
    • Gardiner, W. (2019). Ake ake kia kaha e! : Forever brave! : B Company 28 (Maori) Battalion, 1939-1945. Auckland : Bateman Books. AWMM
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