11439 Stanley Owen Dyke
NZEF Pair - Trench Raider
The British War Medal and Victory Medal pair awarded to Stanley Owen Dyke, who was wounded during the Auckland Regiment trench raid of 17th February 1917.
Stanley Dyke was born 18th January 1887 at Radnorshire, Wales. Son of Richard and Susanna Dyke. At the time of his enlistment in the NZEF in January 1916 he was working as a bushman near Gisborne. He served on the Western Front with 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment from September 1916. During the 500-strong trench raid on 17th February 1917 at Fleurbaix Dyke suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm. The raid was described in the Auckland Regimental History: "A mass of shell-holes, full of mud and water, marked the position of the enemy front line. In the darkness and the pall of battle-smoke it was barely recognisable.....here the waves merged and passed on to the support line. It was a wild, confused fight. In places the Huns fought heroically, and elsewhere they surrendered tamely. Some were bombed in dug-outs, some were shot, some bayoneted. Many fell endeavouring to escape back through the box-barrage."
Dyke was evacuated to the UK and subsequently declared unfit for further active service. He returned to New Zealand and was discharged in January 1918. After the war, Dyke demonstrated himself to be something of a character, facing a few charges related to supplying booze. He was the licensee of the famous Whangara Hotel near Gisborne, which will surely have appeal to locals and local collectors alike. Dyke died at Gisborne on 8th October 1954.
Both medals are correctly impressed 11439 PTE. S.O. DYKE. N.Z.E.F.