William George AWMM
Also known as
WWII 40002 AWMM
Medals and Awards
- Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) AWMM
DSO: NZ Gazette, 21 September 1944. Citation: "Colonel Gentry was GSO 1 of 2 New Zealand Division in the battle of Alamein. He displayed conspicuous skill and organising ability in the field during the complicated mobile operations leading up to the stabilisation of the Alamein line and the hard fighting which immediately ensued. This officer during a period of great stress and often under heavy fire, displayed the greatest coolness, skill and determination which was an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact." AWMM
- Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) AWMM
DSO Bar: NZ Gazette, 30 April 1946. Citation: "For great gallantry and devotion to duty as commander of an Infantry Brigade during the recent campaign. After preliminary operations at Cottignola his brigade took part in two consecutive full scale attacks against bitter opposition across the Sillaro and Gaiana Rivers. Throughout these operations his skill and efficiency as a commander were of the highest order. During the battle of the Sillaro the troops under his command, together with the 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigade, effectively destroyed the German 278th Division together with elements of 1st Parachute Division. These most successful operations played a decisive part in breaking enemy resistance south of the Po. Brigadier Gentry was then called upon to reorganise his brigade for mobile warfare at short notice. He carried out this task with speed and efficiency, and subsequently directed his brigade during the rapid and fast moving advance of the Division from the Adige River to Trieste. In this advance he kept constantly forward and in touch with the ever changing situation. His gallant and exemplary conduct, often under fire, was a decisive factor in the operations of the Division. AWMM
- Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and bar (DSO*) AWMM
- India General Service 1909 (Waziristan 1919-21, Malabar 1921-22 clasps) AWMM
- 1939-1945 Star AWMM
- Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
- Italy Star AWMM
- Defence Medal AWMM
- War Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf AWMM
- New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
- Coronation Medal 1953 AWMM
- New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal AWMM
- Legion of Merit (USA) AWMM
- Bronze Star (USA) AWMM
- Military Cross (Greece) AWMM
- Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military) AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
William Gentry was the son of Frederick Charles Gentry, a leather salesman, and his wife, Eliza Amy Lawson. The family emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand in 1910.
Attended Wellington College, 1913-15.
Gentry married Alexandra Nina Caverhill, a music teacher, in Masterton, 28 December 1926. They had a son and a daughter.
Commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and GSO2 (General Staff Officer, grade 2) with 2 NZEF, January 1940.
Acting GSO1, Crete, October 1940. Made OBE and received Greek Military Cross for his services in Crete.
AAQMG (Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General), Greece, 1941.
Colonel and GSO1 (General Staff Officer, grade 1), October 1941.
"When the commander of the 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigade was captured early in September 1942, Freyberg put Gentry in his place and promoted him to brigadier. Although he had virtually no previous command experience, Gentry successfully led his brigade in the second battle of El Alamein and in the pursuit of the Axis forces across North Africa. He was twice mentioned in dispatches ... Gentry was made a DSO for displaying ‘the greatest coolness, skill and determination’ in the heavy fighting on the Alamein line." (DNZB)
Acting Deputy Chief of Staff (NZ), 1943-44.
Commander of all NZ Troops, Egypt, August 1944.
"He went to Italy in February 1945 to take command of the newly formed 9th New Zealand Infantry Brigade. He did an excellent job of training his new command and led it with great success in the final offensive of the war in Italy. His gallantry and exemplary conduct, often under fire, was a decisive factor in the victories achieved by the New Zealand Division. Gentry received a bar to the DSO in recognition of his exceptional services during the offensive, and was later made a commander in the US Legion of Merit." (DNZB)
Deputy Chief of Staff (NZ), July 1946.
Adjutant General, April 1949.
Major General and CGS (Chief of the General Staff), April 1952.
President of the Boy Scouts Association of New Zealand, 1957-67.
Honorary Colonel with 1st Battalion, Wellington Regiment, and with the RNZIR (Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment), 1964-67.
BDM gives birthdate as 20 February, whereas Polaschek gives it as 26 February. AWMM
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William George Gentry
- 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. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
WW2 1: WW2 64 AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 12 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1943 to 31st December, 1943). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
WW2 12: WW2 64 AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 14 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1944 to 31st December, 1944). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
WW2 14: WW2 34 AWMM
- The Evening Post AWMM
Death notice: Evening Post, 16 October 1991 AWMM
The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.