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38802 Private Edward Lyle (Lyle) Stuart - 22nd Infantry Battalion 2NZEF.

Edward Lyle (Lyle) Stuart was born  on the 26th November 1904 the eldest of six  sons born to Charles and Kathleen Isabella (nee Boulton) Stuart[i]. It is possible that Edward Lyle Staurt was born in Lyell in the South Island as his father
a police constable was appointed the clerk of the Magistrate's and Warden's courts and receiver of gold revenue and mining registars at Lyell in 1909.[ii]

Lyle’s father Charles Stuart served in the 2nd Boer War as SA3420 Trooper Charles Stuart, 6th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles.[iii]

Charles and Kathleen Stuart moved back to Pauhatanui area during the First World War as Constable Staurt was working at the Mount Cook Goal, Wellington when he retired from the police force in 1919.  Lyle’s younger brothers  Ronald Keith and John (Jack) Richard Stuart were registered in 1918 at the Pauhatanui School.[iv] The two younger Stuarts’ transferred to the Judgeford School and were joined later in 1925 by the youngest son Donald Stuart.[v]

On the 25th July 1940 Lyle was attested into New Zealand Military Forces, his papers indicate that he was working for the Public Works Department (PWD) as a shearer and was working and living at Pukerua Bay, Wellington.[vi] His brother John (Jack) Richard Stuart of Pahautanui is listed as his next of kin. Lyle listed that he would prefer to serve as a Motor Cyclist (Messenger) in the Army Service Corp.

38802 Private Edward Lyle Stuart entered camp with the 5th Reinforcement on 7th January 1941 and following basic training left New Zealand on the 7th April 1941 for overseas service. Private Stuart ‘entered Egypt’ on the 16th May 1941.
Private Lyle Stuart may have had an expectation that he would be able to catch up with his brother 35456 Private John
(Jack) Richard Stuart, 19th (Infantry) Battalion had already left Egypt as part of Operation Lustre, the Battle of Greece.[vii]

38802 Private Stuart on the 17th June 1941 was posted to the 22nd (Wellington) Infantry Battalion as one of 366 reinforcements. Also joining the battalion was 35766 Private Lawrence (Laurie) Alfred Parnell  also from Pukerua Bay, Wellington.  The 22nd Battalion had been involved in the Battle for Greece and then the Battle for Crete and was at this stage regrouping and training in Egypt. 

On the 11th November 1941 the 2nd NZ Division moved up close to the Egypt / Libya in support of the British Operation
Crusader with the aim to lift the Axis  Siege of Trobruk.


The 2nd New Zealand Division consisting the 4th, 5th and 6th Brigades crossed the border on the 18th November 1941 with the 4th Brigade capturing Belhamed and the 6th Brigade Sidi Rezegh. Elements of the NZ Division linked up with the Tobruk garrison on the 26th November 1941.

The Axis forces lead by General Rommel launched a series of counter attacks including on the 27th November 1941 one against the 5th Brigade, which included elements of the 22nd Battalion, at Sidi Azez. The 15th Panzer Division eventually overran the New Zealand positions with over 700 men captured and 42 killed.

One of those killed was 38802 Private Edward Lyle Stuart, military files indicate that he was buried at Sidi Azez on the 28th November 1941 by the 5th NZ Field Ambulance.

The Sidi Azez area was fought over later in the Western Desert campaign and Private Stuart’s grave was lost or destroyed
as he is honoured on the Alemein Memorial. Private Stuart is commemorated on the Pauhatanui War Memorial as is his brother Private John (Jack) Richard Stuart who was executed by Italians in Greece. Privates Lyle and jack Stuart and Private Laurie Parnell are all honoured on the Porirua Roll of Honour. 

Notes:
Four of the Stuart brothers served in the 2NZEF with Lyle and Jack being casualties. The youngest of the five Donald (Don) was conscripted but following appeal remained in New Zealand to support the family farm.

References
NZ BDM Online
Papers Past Online
22nd Battalion (2NZEF) Wikipedia
NZ Defence Archives -  Military Files: 38802 Edward Lyle Stuart
NZ Defence Archives -  Military Files: 35465 John Richard Stuart

Photos
NZ Forward working party Western Desert November 1941 – Alexander Turnbull 1th November 1941

[i]  NZBDM Online
[ii] Gazetted Appointements & Retirements, 16th September 1909, Waihi Daily Telegraph
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA3420 Trooper Charles Stuart
[iv]  Pauhatanui School Roll 1873 - 2005
[v]  Judgeford school pupils 1879 - 1935
[vi] New Zealand Defence Archives - Military Files: 38802 Private Edward Lyle Stuart
[vii] New Zealand Defence Archives – Military Files 35456 Private John Richard Stuart 

 
NZ Troops Western Desert November 1941