2755 Arthur Claude Finch, 18 Battalion 2 NZEF
Memorial Cross - 1st Casualty of 18 Btn. Greece
The Africa Star and Memorial Cross group awarded in commemoration of Arthur Claude Finch, who the first man of 18 Battalion to lose his life in the Second World War. He was killed in action 15th April 1941 in Greece.
Arthur Claude Finch was born 16 June 1916 at Otorohanga, New Zealand. Son of Charles Edward and Alice Maude Louisa Jane Finch (née Graham). He was educated at Pukekohe Technical High School and studied agriculture at Massey Agricultural College. At the time of his enlistment he was working for the New Zealand Co-Operative Dairy Company at Ngongotaha near Rotorua. Unfortunately Finch's service file has not been obtained, so accurate details of his service are not confirmed, but he served in Egypt in 1940-41 before deploying to Greece with Lustre Force in March 1941. He was a member of the transport platoon. By 14 April 1941, 18 Battalion was holding the front line on a ridge overlooking the town of Servia. The New Zealanders were initialled attacked by the Luftwaffe, followed by artillery as the German advance was pushed onwards. Arthur Finch was killed in action on 15th April 1941 by artillery fire, becoming the first fatal casualty suffered by the battalion in the war. He is commemorated on Face 13 of the Athens Memorial, Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece.
The Memorial Cross is correctly impressed 2755 PTE. A.C. FINCH and is in its original box, The campaign medals are unnamed as issued, and the Greek War Medal is also in its original box. The photograph is held by the Alexander Turnbull Library and is just shown for illustrative purposes. It is entitled "18 Bn Lucas (sic) machine gun position Northern Greece overlooking Aliakmon River smoke from Hun Dive Bombers in foreground" and dates from 14/15 April 1941.