Leonard Harold AWMM
Also known as
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Unknown AWMM C/o Auckland Farmers' Freezing Company, Moerewa, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
Mr P.J. Tobin (father), 204 Banks Street, Whangarei, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Leonard Tobin was the son of Patrick James Tobin and Alice Jane Tobin, of Whangarei, New Zealand.
Third son of Mr and Mrs P J Tobin of Bank St, Whangarei. He was educated at the Lower Hutt Convent school and Kaikohe Primary school. A plumber by trade, he was employed at the Moerewa Freezing Works. At the outbreak of war, he volunteered for service overseas and was one of 58 specialists chosen for camp duties. As a cadet he was an expert rifle shot, winning outright the Savill Challenge Cup in 1920, 1921 and 1922 and the Bay of Islands Championship for Whangarei. A first-class boxer and tennis player, he also played football for Hora Hora Football club.
He was separated from the main body of Allied evacuees from Greece during the campaign undertaken by British forces along with another New Zealand soldier, Corporal G. Webster. They spent the following two years at liberty in the northern mountains before both were captured by the Italians.
Corporal Webster, in a letter to Mr and Mrs Tobin, states that after being separated from the main body near Corinth, the two had undertaken to travel to Crete, hoping to link up with the remainder of the Forces there. However, travel difficulties had proved so great, that the Allies had evacuated Crete before the two had reached their objective, and they had then turned north, intending to escape through Turkey.
False information had side-tracked them and for the following two years they had spent a pleasant and exciting time in the mountains during which time Corporal Webster had learned to fully appreciate Sapper Tobin. He could not adequately express his feelings or thanks for having been given such an ideal friend and companion save to say that his courage and cheerfulness and understanding, under varying circumstances would have been a credit to any man.
Eventually the two had been captured by Italians and moved to a nearby township for interrogation. Sapper Tobin had been taken by the Italians to act as a guide and this had been the last time that Corporal Webster had seen him. Circumstantial evidence concerning his friend’s fate had proved so damning that he asked Mr and Mrs Tobin to prepare themselves for the worst. Should it prove the worst, he would assure Mr and Mrs Tobin that their son lay in the most beautiful mountain valley among good friends who would attend to everything and honour him as a son.
Sapper Tobin was eventually reported as killed while a POW, after previously being reported as missing.
Next of kin details compiled from information in the Casualty lists published in the newspapers. AWMM
19 January 1943 AWMM
Age 38 AWMM
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece AWMM 7. D. 15. AWMM
- Kawakawa Memorial Library, now Kawakawa Museum AWMM
- Kawakawa Memorial Library, now Kawakawa Museum, Memorial Plaque WW2 AWMM
- Kawakawa District War Memorial, Kawakawa and Districts War Memorial Domain AWMM
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Leonard Harold Tobin
- 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 182 AWMM
- Northland roll of honour and servicemen of WW II [electronic resource]. (2002). Whangarei, N.Z.: Returned Services Association. AWMM
- Information kindly provided by family AWMM
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