Veterans (from left) Jim Quested, of Georgetown, North
Otago, and Bill Roulston and Tom Dungey, both of Tapanui,
outside Dunedin International Airport after returning from
commemorations at Monte Cassino. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Three Otago veterans have returned home once again with
stories to tell from their time abroad.
Jim Quested (91), Bill Roulston (93) and Tom Dungey (92)
arrived in Dunedin yesterday, after returning from the 70th
anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.
It was especially poignant for Tom Dungey, whose older
brother, Jack, was killed at Cassino on March 18, 1944.
''I said a few quiet words ... and I left a poppy for each
member of the family.''
After leaving New Zealand for the war, the two brothers never
saw each other again as they were in different battalions.
''The highlight for me, after looking at Jack's grave, was
looking down from the top of the monastery, down from the
view that the Germans had of us.''
The Tapanui man, who celebrated his birthday during the trip,
said another highlight was meeting Governor-General Sir Jerry
Mateparae and Prince Harry.
Monte Cassino was one of the worst battles involving New
Zealand troops in World War 2. Some 343 New Zealanders were
killed and 1211 wounded in the 123-day battle, between
January 17 and May 18, 1944.
Mr Roulston, also of Tapanui, said when he arrived on the
grounds of the famous monastery - which was rebuilt after the
war - ''you just can't recognise it''.
''It is nothing like when we were there.''
The trip ''couldn't be faulted ... but you needed to be
Mr Quested, of Georgetown in North Otago, was one of 10
veterans to come down with food poisoning, but stressed he
was well looked after by support staff and recovered quickly.
He enjoyed catching up with old mates, and paying respects to
those who did not make it home.
Alex McBurney (93), of Frankton, was also one of the 38
Cassino veterans to attend the commemorations.