Topic: Derrick Hamilton Tovey (1911-1943)

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Tauranga Bank of New Zealand clerk Derrick Hamilton Tovey was reported missing in 1943.

Derrick Hamilton Tovey (1911-1943)Derrick Hamilton Tovey was born on 18 June 1911.

When he left Tauranga District High School he worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of New Zealand in Tauranga.

His military service included Papakura Military Camp, Narrow Neck, Ngaruawahia and Trentham, where he was a quarter master in charge of stores. He refused promotion, preferring to remain a Private.

Derrick arrived in Egypt on 5 January 1943, being posted to the 21st Infantry Pattalion on 27 February 1943.

He was reported missing and later reclassified as killed in action on 20 April 1943 whilst fighting the Germans in Tunisia.

Second Lieutenant James Tasker Upton (1917-1943) was Commander of the 21st Battalion. He was killed in the same battle as Derrick and their bodies were discovered lying next to each other at Takrouna, Tunisia. The incident was described in a letter sent to the family of Private Derek Tovey on 29 March 1944 by Chaplain Rev. Michael Leeke Underhill (1910-1997):

"I feel certain I have not written to you before and I am feeling ashamed as I am the Chaplain who took the burial service for your son Derrick. It was last year on Friday 1st May one or two days after the Tunisian campaign. Had returned to the scene of battle to see about the burial and the graves of some men of my unity, which it had been impossible to attend to properly during the battle. When we had finished was set out to climb up Takrouna and while we were there we were told that there were two unidentified bodies lying unburied. We went to the place and found the bodies of your son and J. Upton lying side by side..."

Derrick is remembered in Tauranga's Memorial Grove, two rows of totara trees located on Fifteenth Avenue which stand as a memorial to 41 former Tauranga District High School students killed during World War II (1939-1945).

Memorial Grove (Tauranga)

 

Sources:

Cenotaph Database

Reunion leads to hunt for war dead - research by Betty Eaton-Woodcock (Bay of Plenty Times, 25 April 2011, pp. 10-11).

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Derrick Hamilton Tovey (1911-1943)


Year:1943
Note:Service Number: 67265
First Names:Derrick Hamilton
Last Name:Tovey
Date of Birth:18 June 1911
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:20 April 1943
Place of death:Tunisia
Occupation:BNZ Bank Clerk
Fathers name:Arthur Hamilton Tovey
Mothers name:Florence Tovey
Military Service:World War II (1939-1945)