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Keith Elliott
Birth: Apr. 25, 1916, New Zealand
Death: Oct. 7, 1989
Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand

World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. A native of New Zealand, he received the award from British Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery in Egypt, in September 1942, for his actions as a sergeant in the 22nd Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, on July 15, 1942 during the First Battle of El Alamein, Egypt, during Western Desert Campaign of World War II. One of nine children, he was born in Apiti, New Zealand where his father was a farmer. He dropped out of high school to help run the family farm and in 1935 he was managing a farm at Marima, New Zealand. Following the outbreak of World War II, in January 1940 he enlisted in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force and was assigned to the 22nd Battalion. The following June his unit arrived in England and remained there until early 1941 when it was sent to Greece to counter the German invasion there. In April 1941 he was evacuated to Crete and then to Egypt when German forces overran the Allied positions. The following November he, along with 700 others were captured by General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Corps during Operation Crusader. After spending two months as a prisoner of war, he was liberated by South African forces. After rejoining the 2nd New Zealand Division in Syria, he returned to his unit in Egypt in July 1942, in time for the First Battle of El Alamein. He was serving as acting platoon commander with orders to capture Ruweisat Ridge. Having achieved their objective, his platoon dug in and observed enemy tanks advancing on their position. He warned other nearby platoon commanders who disregarded it, thinking they were British tanks until the attack begin. It was then that he performed the actions that led to the award of the Victoria Cross. Seriously wounded during the fight, he spent three months recovering in a military hospital before rejoining his unit, just prior to the notification that he would be receiving the award. He then received a field commission as a 2nd lieutenant and was returned to New Zealand where he was discharged in December 1943. He returned to farming but became interested in a career as an Episcopal priest. He began his religious training in December 1946 and was ordained in 1948, serving in a number of parishes in the lower North Island. In 1967 he co-authored his biography "From Cowshed to Dog Collar." In 1981 he retired and moved to Raumati, New Zealand and died from cancer at the age of 73. His Victoria Cross was loaned to the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum near Waiouru, New Zealand, and in December 2007 it was stolen. The following February it was recovered. His Victoria Cross citation reads: " At dawn on 15 July 1942 the battalion to which Sergeant Elliot belonged was attacked on three flanks by tanks. Under heavy tank, machine-gun and shell fire, Sergeant Elliott led the platoon he was commanding to the cover of a ridge three hundred yards away, during which he sustained a chest wound. Here he re-formed his men and led them to a dominating ridge a further five hundred yards away, where they came under heavy enemy machine-gun and mortar fire. He located enemy machine-gun posts to his front and right flank, and while one section attacked on the right flank, Sergeant Elliott led seven men in a bayonet charge across five hundred yards of open ground in the face of heavy fire and captured four enemy machine-gun posts and an anti-tank gun, killing a number of the enemy and taking fifty prisoners. His section then came under fire from a machine-gun post on the left flank. He immediately charged this post single-handed and succeeded in capturing it, killing several of the enemy and taking fifteen prisoners. During these two assaults he sustained three more wounds in the back and legs. Although badly wounded in four places, Sergeant Elliott refused to leave his men until he had reformed them, handed over his prisoners, which were now increased to one hundred and thirty, and arranged for his men to rejoin the battalion. Owing to Sergeant Elliott's quick grasp of the situation, great personal courage and leadership, nineteen men, who were the only survivors of B Company of his battalion, captured and destroyed five machine-guns, one anti-tank gun, killed a great number of the enemy and captured one hundred and thirty prisoners. Sergeant Elliott sustained only one casualty amongst his men, and brought him back to the nearest advanced dressing station." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
Paraparaumu Beach Cemetery
Paraparaumu Beach
Kapiti Coast District
Wellington, New Zealand
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: K
Record added: Oct 18, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7996483
Keith Elliott
Added by: quebecoise
 
Keith Elliott
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Hilary
 
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- poddop
 Added: Oct. 7, 2016

- Daisy✿
 Added: Sep. 21, 2016
Thank you for your courage and valor in time of battle. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Jan. 29, 2016
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