Telling dad’s war story
THIS Anzac Day will be especially poignant for one Mt Eden author as he releases his first book about a heroic World War Two battle.
Graham Power’s book, The Battle of Pink Hill – Crete, 1941, depicts the 12-day struggle on the Mediterranean island in which more than 670 Kiwis were killed.
He interviewed his veteran father Leslie Power for the book, agreeing to continue the interview at a later date.
But Leslie, who was evacuated from Crete on June 1, 1941, died of a heart attack in 1995 before they finished the story.
“We got as far as the landing on Crete. The interview with my father took over an hour and we only covered the first couple of years.”
Mr Power was determined to tell the story and spent six years working on the book. He visited Crete in 2005.
“Going to Crete was the highlight. It was a bit unreal – that people were killing each other left, right and centre. It is extremely peaceful now.”
Of the nine veterans Mr Power spoke to during his research, four remain alive.
“I concentrate on this battle, my book is hopefully balanced because it shows the German side too,” he says.
Mr Power’s wife, Josephine, says her husband has had a unique experience.
“He’s befriended all these vets,” she laughs. “Graham has carefully
Mr Power’s daughter Hangone about finding veterans na is also enthusiastic about and recording their rememthe upcoming book. brances. It is a really inter
“Now Dad has all these esting view of the Battle of crazy friends. He has learnt a Pink Hill by the people who lot – got a lot out of it personwere there.” ally that he never expected.” Mr Duncan says the au
Miss Power says her father thor has been absolutely mewas humbled by the hospiticulous in his research. tality shown when he visited The Battle of Pink Hill Crete and the gratitude to outlines the New Zealand New Zealanders who fought soldiers on one side of the alongside the Cretans. hill, armed with World War
Brian Duncan, a family One rifles and determinafriend, helped to proof-read tion. Mr Power’s book and says it On the other side of the is an unusual version of the hill was an elite regiment battle that was neglected by of over 2000 German paramedia. troopers, who, in the past 18 months, had overpowered all opposition in Europe.
Despite the superior firepower of the German forces, the defenders successfully repelled every attack for six days.
On the third day was a spontaneous attack by old men, women and children armed with garden forks and ancient rifles, who forced the surprised Germans to flee.
The defending forces were overpowered on the evening of the sixth day when German reinforcements arrived.
The Power family will hold a war-themed camouflage book launch.
Amazing stories: Graham Power was fortunate to hear many first-hand accounts of the battle of Pink Hill, told by veterans in their 90s.
Historic reminders: Mr Power’s father, Leslie, is second from left in the top left photo.