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11653 L/Cpl J. Gambirazzi, NZEF.

Croix de Guerre Group to NZEF (4x Wounded!)

  • The scarce Belgian Croix de Guerre group of three to 11653 Lance-Corporal Joseph Gambirazzi, NZEF, wounded in action on no less than four occasions.


    Joseph Gambirazzi was born at 14 June 1890 at Goldsborough, Westland, New Zealand. Son of Giovanni and Elizabeth Gambirazzi (née Griffin).  At the time of his enlistment in the NZEF in December 1915 he was working as a labourer on a sheep station in Tolaga Bay, probably with his brother who had re-located there some time earlier. He served on the Western Front with 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment from early September 1916. Wounded 15th September 1916 during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and evacuated to the UK. He returned to his unit in December 1916. Gambirazzi was wounded for a second time on 8th June 1917, during the Battle of Messines. He returned to his unit the following day, and then was wounded for a third time on 13th June 1917 and was evacuated to the UK. He was appointed lance-corporal in December 1917 befoe returning to his unit in January 1918. On 8th October 1918 Gambirazzi was wounded for a remarkable fourth time and evacuated to the UK once more - his war finally over.


    Joseph Gambirazzi was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre (L.G. 5/4/1919) for his bravery: "Operations: British Front in the vicinity of Harvincourt Wood, 4th-7th September 1918. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the above operations Private Gambirazzi on several occasions volunteered for patrol work. On three separate occasions from the 4th to the 6th September he volunteered and led a patrol to ensure the safety of the Company’s left flank which was temporarily exposed. Throughout the operations he was most consistent and led his men with the greatest gallantry. His work generally was of the highest standard and worthy of the greatest praise."


    During the Second World War Gambirazzi served with the New Zealand Temporary Employment Section for period 1941-42. He was awarded the 1939-45 War Medal and New Zealand War Service Medal in 1966. He died at Hokitika on 18th May 1971.


    The pair is correctly impressed 11653 L/CPL. J. GAMBIRAZZI. N.Z.E.F., with the other medals being unnamed as issued.

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