1813 Lieutenant Brian Bentley Graves – F Troop, 26th Battery, 5th Field Regiment, NZ Artillery

Brian Bentley Graves was born in Wellington on 14th January 1918 the youngest son of Daisy (nee Greenwood) and
Horace Ivatt Graves[i].

Brian was raised in Wellington and went to Wellington College where he serve four years in the cadets but following
College served in the Territorial’s 8th Battery, NZ Artillery[ii].

Following the declaration of war on 1st September 1939 Brian was quick to enlist, signing enlistment forms two weeks
later and entered camp on 14th October 1939. The 21 year old single man listed his occupation as a clerk for Dalgety’s Limited, Palmerston North and his next of kin as his father Mr H I Graves, Karori, Wellington. Brian also lists that he was living in Palmerston North when he enlisted.

On 5th January 1940 Gunner Graves as part of the First Echelon, 2nd NZEF left New Zealand for overseas service. On
1st June 1941 Gunner Graves was appointed to Lance Bombardier, he would have seen service in Egypt and then
Greece and Crete. Lance Bombardier Graves’  military files were purged in 1949 so his promotion through the ranks and nomination for officer training are not available. Lance Bombardier Graves was selected for officer training as his records note  him as a first a 2nd Lt and then a Lieutenant on 28th February 1942.

Considering many of the early enlistment service persons had seen active service for
three years a scheme ‘Waikatipu’ allowed first echelon men to have a three month furlough
in New Zealand. Lt Graves returned to New Zealand on 21st October 1943. Following
furlough leave Lt Graves was used as an experienced combat officer with training new
reinforcements. Lt Graves left again for overseas service on 31st March 1944. Following
arrival in Egypt Lieutenant Graves was then shipped to Italy.

 ‘Lieutenant Graves was killed on 29 July 1944 at San Michele, south of Florence. Graves
was the newly-appointed commander of F Troop and was being taken by Major Carson
forward to the OP when a shell struck the scout car and killed both Lieutenant Graves
and Gunner I.H. Henry.’[iii]

                                                                  Lt Brian Bentley Graves is buried in the Florence War
                                                                   Cemetery.  434260 Gunner Ivan Harold Henry is
                                                                   buried beside Lt Graves

                                                                   1813 Lt B B Graves - Florence Cemetery


                                                                    There is a memorial plaque in the Karori
                                                                    Cemetery honouring Lt Brian B Graves

                                                                      It is suggested that Brian Place Onepoto,
                                                                      Titahi Bay was named after Brian Bentley
                                                                                Graves with a note in PCC Titahi Bay
                                                                       street names “named after a Titahi Bay
                                                                       after a Titahi Bay Resident Killed in WW2.

Lieutenant Graves’ file was purged in 1949 so many details of his service record are not known.
1813 Lieutenant Brian Bentley Graves was suggested for the Porirua Memorial Wall but his name has not been inscribed as the
connection to Titahi Bay is not clear.

NZDF Archives
Paperspast Online
Auckland Cenotaph Database
Porirua City Council – Street names

1813 Lieutenant Brian Bentley Graves: Auckland Cenotaph
1813 Lieutenant B B Grave’s grave Florence: Auckland Cenotaph
1813 Lieutenant B B Memorial plaque in Karori Cemetery: Auckland Cenotaph
Guns of the 5th Field Regiment moving up past Faenza 1944: National Library DA-07966-F

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] NZDF Archives: 1813 Lieutenant Brian Bentley Graves
[iii] 2nd Div. History, p. 623-4
5th Field Regiment, NZ Artillery moving up past Faenza