15 Oct 2012

NZ veterans to revisit El Alamein

9:31 pm on 15 October 2012

Twenty-three veterans of the North African campaign during World War II left New Zealand for Egypt on Monday morning to take part in the 70th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of El Alamein.

The veterans are being flown to Egypt, along with Defence Force personnel, on an RNZAF Boeing 757.

One of the party, Clive Meddings of Cambridge, said he wants to find the grave of a friend from Levin who died in the battle. The 91-year-old said the trip will be full-on but very worthwhile.

Some 1100 New Zealanders are buried in the El Alamein Commonwealth war grave.

The battle of El Alamein began on 23 October 1942 and ended 12 days later.

It was the culmination of two years of fighting in north Africa between German and Italian troops led by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and Commonwealth and Allied forces commanded by Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery, who was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944.