New Zealand soldiers of ‘The Div’ write about their World War Two
World War Two impacted every community within New Zealand. Small and large towns alike had to wave their men off, not knowing when they would be back. A Job to Do is largely a collection of written personal accounts by men who joined 2 NZ Division. Colloquially known to its members as ‘The Div’, it was by far the major part of New Zealand’s Second Expeditionary Force. Over 100,000 men left our shores to participate, a huge percentage of the population.
A Job to Do presents first hand accounts by real soldiers describing their wartime experiences, from their early training in New Zealand, sailing the seas to war, setting up camp in Egypt, to fighting in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy. Through their personal stories, poems, cartoons and photographs, you will be transported back to a time where lifelong friendships were formed through the horror of bloody battles in harsh environments. A Job To Do includes works published during the war and the 60 years since; including works of 40 different autobiographies, along with material published in ‘The Div.’s own NZEF Times.
Nevertheless, their stories are written with surprising humour and frankness and a degree of wry cynicism so characteristic of the Kiwi solider.
Here we sit on the Isle of Crete, with sweaty socks and blistered feet; Little wonder we’ve got the blues, With feet encased in big canoes … It was just a month ago, not more, We sailed to Greece to win the war; We marched and groaned beneath our load, While Jerry bombed us off the road. They chased us here, they chased us there, The bastards chased us everywhere, And while they dropped their loads of death, We cursed the ruddy R.A.F. Yet the R.A.F. was there in force, They left a few at home of course, We saw the whole outfit one day, A Hurricane, flying the other way.
– ‘A Tale of Doom’, by ‘Four Sappers’
Specifications: Hardback | 242 x 184 mm | 368 pages
About the editor:
John Gordon is best known as the presenter of the television series, A Dog’s Show, which he fronted for 17 years. He has been involved in practical agriculture and journalism most of his working life. His interest in 2 NZ Division has its origins in his father’s war service – from which he did not return – and the post-war world he grew up in. John Gordon has published two rural anthologies, and written four works of non-fiction. He lives in Southland.