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Henry Michael McElroy

Portrait, The Weekly News; 19 July 1944 awarded Bar to the DSO - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, The Weekly News; 19 July 1944 awarded Bar to the DSO - This image may be subject to copyri …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Henry Michael AWMM
  • Surname
    McElroy AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Black Tracker AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 20045 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    2 December 1910 AWMM TimaruCanterbury AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Dargaville, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs E.G. McElroy (wife), Princes Street, Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 30 June 1941 AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • Greece AWMM
    • North Africa AWMM
    • Italy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 20045 AWMM
  • Military service
    • Commander 1st Battalion, Auckland Territorials AWMM
    • 21 Infantry Battalion 21Bn Assoc. Inc. Records. MS-2008-42.
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and bar (DSO*) AWMM
      DSO citation: 'During the night attack on Ruweisat Ridge on 14/15 July 1942 this officer became separated from his Battalion during a clash with enemy tanks. He collected some 60 men with him and continued the advance independently destroying numerous enemy posts, killing many of the enemy and taking 40 prisoners. At daybreak he found himself isolated and on the edge of a depression filled with Italians. His men had only an average of 5 rounds each remaining and 8 of them were wounded. Major McElroy extended his party and charged, and after a furious interchange of fire and the bayonetting of many of the enemy, the remainder, 40 officers and 460 other ranks surrendered. Major McElroy then escorted his prisoners to a neighbouring formation and returned to his unit. His personal leadership, dash and determination alone made possible this brilliant exploit.' (London Gazette, 22 September 1942) DSO Bar citation: 'Lieutenant Colonel McElroy commands 21 New Zealand Battalion, which on the night 20/21 March 1944 moved into Cassino and attacked towards the western part of the town. Darkness, vast piles of rubble, deep bomb craters and stubbornly held strongpoints made the operations difficult in the extreme. After heavy fighting lasting into the following day, an important sector was captured and held. Throughout the fighting and under constant enemy fire of all descriptions, Lieutenant Colonel McElroy retained a coolness and sound judgement vital to the success of the operation. For a further six days Lieutenant Colonel McElroy remained in Cassino directing the operations of his Battalion, and for the last two days of operations of the other troops in the town. Conditions for command could scarcely have been worse. In the narrow area of the town the enemy concentrated extremely heavy artillery and mortar fire and the slightest movement in the open was at the additional risk of machinegun fire and snipers. The enemy reinforced and frequently attempted to infiltrate between our positions. Maintaining the troops and evacuating wounded were always difficult and dangerous. Notwithstanding these difficulties, Lieutenant Colonel McElroy directed further operations and succeeded in establishing a firm line to hand over to relieving troops. His disregard for his own personal safety and his determination were a magnificent example to his men and a direct contribution to the cleaning and holding of a large portion of Cassino.' (NZ Gazette, 1 February 1945) AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
    • Efficiency Decoration (ED) AWMM

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
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
    Wounded four times. AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Henry McElroy was the son of Jessie Eleanor McElroy.

    The Nominal Roll records divorced as his marital status at embarkation AWMM


About death

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  • Death
    23 September 2001 AWMM
    Age 91 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: Sunday Star Times, October 7 2001 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • The Weekly News AWMM
      The Weekly News 1944 AWMM
    • 21 Battalion (Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45) AWMM
      Military Service Record AWMM
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. 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 116 AWMM
    • Sunday Star Times AWMM
      Obituary: Sunday Star Times, October 7 2001 AWMM
    • Veterans' club : the comradeship and memories of Auckland's 21st infantry battalion. Auckland War Memorial Museum : Auckland. Accompanies exhibition held in the Pictorial Gallery, second floor, Auckland War Memorial Museum, 24 March-21 May 2006. AWMM
    • 21 New Zealand Infantry Battalion Association Inc. Records, 1955 - 2005. Auckland War Memorial Museum. MS-2008-42. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM

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