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William George Gentry

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Portrait of Major General Sir William Gentry, c.1950s. Photographer unknown. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, 1/1-012837-F. Image is subject to copyright restrictions.
Portrait of Major General Sir William Gentry, c.1950s. Photo … Read more

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    William George AWMM
  • Surname
    Gentry AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 40002 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    20 February 1899 AWMM EssexEngland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • Pre 1939 AWMM Army Headquarters, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • Defence Department, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • Army Department, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Mrs A.N. Gentry (wife), 52 Kings Crescent, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs A.N. Gentry (wife), 52 Kings Crescent, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs A.N. Gentry (wife), 52 Kings Crescent, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    • Attended Royal Military College of Australia, Duntroon, 1916-19. AWMM
    • Sent to UK to attend military engineering courses with the Corps of Royal Engineers, 1934-36. AWMM
    • Attended Staff College, Camberley, UK, 1938 - September 1939. AWMM
  • Enlistment
  • 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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  • 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.

    Retired 1955.

    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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Death

About death

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  • Death
    13 October 1991 AWMM
    Age 92 AWMM
    AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Death notice: Evening Post, 16 October 1991 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • 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
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