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William Ayto

Wreath, 1999, laid by the Greek Community on the Cenotaph in Auckland and later moved to the Hall of Memories, Auckland War Memorial Museum on Anzac Day 1999 in memory of those who died in Greece. - This image may be subject to copyright

Wreath, 1999, laid by the Greek Community on the Cenotaph in Auckland and later moved to the Hall of …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William AWMM
  • Surname
    Ayto AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    7211 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    25 January 1915 Public source
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM 14 Centre Street, Invercargill, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr J. Ayto (father), 14 Centre Street, Invercargill, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Greece AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    7211 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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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 on Active Service, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • William Ayto was the son of Joseph Ayto and of Alice Ayto (nee Crozier), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. AWMM
    • Capt Ayto died of wounds during the withdrawal of 20 Battalion through Markopoulon, he was 2Ic of B Coy.
      This is an extract from the Official War History of 20th Battalion and Armoured Regiment - Pg 72

      "Captain Rice's-cwt truck led the little convoy through Markopoulon to B Company's positions. The company sergeant-major, WO II Shirley, describes the attack:

      On the outskirts of Marcopoulon our route branched off the main road to Porto Rafti and we proceeded about two miles along this dirt road. On the left was a gradually sloping ridge dotted with an occasional tree while on the right was fairly flat ground with some rocky formations. On one flat piece there was a grape orchard. Ahead and further out on the right were some trees.

      We halted, and because of the towing the trucks were nose to tail. 12 Platoon under Lieutenant Fergus MacLaren had failed to arrive and Captain Rice sent me down the road to look for them. At the same time he called a meeting of platoon commanders. We did not debus as soon as we stopped for the men were dead weary at this stage and very confused. In another two minutes Captain Rice would have finished his conference and the platoons would have been in their defensive positions.

      I was only about a hundred yards down the road when a number of aeroplanes swooped very low over the ridge. The men were still on their trucks awaiting dispersal orders but immediately the attack began they scattered and took what cover they could on both sides of the road. The attack continued for some considerable time, the planes swooping very low up and down the road and strafing the road itself, the trucks and the men. All the vehicles except the OC's 8-cwt were ‘brewed up’ by incendiary bullets, which also set fire to crop in which some of the men were sheltering.

      The Porto Rafti road was getting a doing over at the same time and it later transpired that 12 Platoon were on this road, having mistaken the turn off. It was here that Lieutenant Fergus MacLaren was killed. In the main group Captain Ayto had been badly shot through both knees and was carried clear of the road to the side of a hill. He later died of wounds. Three of the men killed we buried in the grape vines and evacuated the other killed and wounded to the beach in the ‘pick-up’. It was altogether a very nasty raid." Public - Robert - Researcher - 2 August 2021 - Page 72 Official War History of 20th Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Authors Glue, W. A.
      Pringle, D. J. C, 1957
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About death

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  • Death
    27 April 1941 AWMM
    Age 25 AWMM
    GreeceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece AWMM 8. E. 11. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
    Commonwealth War Graves Commission record
    Sources Used
  • 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 11 AWMM
    • Pringle, D., & Glue, W. (1957). 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
02 August 2021RobertWyomingResearcher
08 June 2015AlistairNapier, New ZealandOther Relative

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