Biography of Owen William Wilson

Portrait of Owen WilsonSummary A biography of Owen William Wilson, 2NZEF, service no. 442436 , one of six biographies of Canterbury veterans of World War II by Kim Newth.

By 1943, thousands of weary men from the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force had returned home on furlough. At the same time, many young men - who had been too young to join earlier echelons - knew it would soon be their turn to board a ship bound for Egypt. One of them was South Canterbury lad Owen Wilson, who had served the war effort at home since mid-1941, firstly by training young men to drive trucks and then by delivering supplies for the NZASC. On turning 21, he did finally board a ship to Egypt as part of the 13th Reinforcements and by early 1945 was with the New Zealand Division for the final offensive in Italy.

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Kim Newth applied for and received the Canterbury History Foundation: 2014 Canterbury Community Historian Award after seeing the photographic record created by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers for their nationwide WWII Veterans Portrait Project. These portraits were gifted to the RSA and form an archive of images for veterans, families, communities and New Zealand’s generations to come. With the award Kim Newth was able to add biographies to some of the portraits, to uncover stories behind the faces. Christchurch members of NZIPP helped put Kim in touch with some of the veterans they photographed.

The collection includes the biographies written by Kim Newth, interview files, and some images.

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This material has been supplied to Christchurch City Libraries by Kim Newth.