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Leo Bensemann, Lieutenant Keith Elliot, VC, n.d.

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA Q552

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Keith Elliott (1916-1989) enlisted in Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) in 1940, and drafted into No.11 Platoon, B Company, 22nd Battalion. Elliot, who at the time held the rank of sergeant, was awarded the VC for his actions in the Western Desert of North Africa, on 15 July 1942:

"At Ruweisat at dawn on 15 July 1942 the battalion to which Sergeant Elliott 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 the enemy machine gun posts on 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 had arranged for his men to rejoin their 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." [London Gazette, 24 September 1942]

Pencil, 423 x 310mm
Western Desert, First Battle of El Alamein; First Battle of Ruweisat
Medals: Victoria Cross

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