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22953 Lieutenant Ian Ivatt Graves – 20th Armoured Regiment, 2nd NZEF

Ian Ivatt Graves was born in Wellington on 30th January 1915 the eldest son of Daisy (nee Greenwood) and
Horace Ivatt Graves[i].

Ian was raised in Wellington and attended Wellington College as a young man where he served for four years in the
College Cadets[ii].

On 2nd February 1940 Ian Ivatt Graves enlisted his papers indicated the 25 year old was single and living with his parents
in The Terrace, Wellington. Ian was employed as a Commercial Traveller for Ricketts Overseas Limited, Wellington.

While in camp Ian was promoted to Bombardier a rank he held on 9th May 1940 when the Evening Post carried a notice
of his engagement to Molly Briton Smith. Bombardier Graves held the rank of Temporary Sergeant in October1940 when
as part of the 35th Battery, NZ Artillery; he was shipped to to Fiji for garrison duties.

Sergeant Graves was evacuated from Fiji, for medical reasons, in August 1940. Following treatment Sergeant Graves remained iin New Zealand at Papakura with the Artillery Training Unit. On 27th July 1941 Sergeant Graves, as part of the
6th Reinforcements was shipped to Egypt as Artillery Reinforcements. Sergeant Graves during the Desert Campaign was identified as officer material and on 15th October 1941 was sent to the Indian Military Academy, Armoured Fighting
Vehicle (AFV) school. Sergeant Graves graduated on 7th January 1942 and was promoted on 4th April 1942 as a
2nd Lieutenant (supplementary).

2nd Lieutenant Graves returned to the Middle East attached to the Armoured Corp Training unit but was sent back to
New Zealand on 26th May 1942 as a training officer in the 10th Reinforcements.  While in New Zealand 2nd Lt Graves,
on 5th September 1942, married his fiancé Linley (Molly) Briton Smith.

On 4th April 1943 2nd Lt Graves was promoted to Lt Graves, Special Army Tank Squadron. On 21st July 1943 Lt Graves
left New Zealand with the 10th Reinforcements.

The 2nd NZEF was preparing to transfer to the Italian Front with
the  formation / training of the NZ Armoured Brigade. Lt Graves
was posted to the 20th Armoured Regiment. The 20th Armoured
Regiment arrived in Italy with other elements of the NZ Armoured
Brigade on 5th October 1943. Lt Graves did not see action with
the 20th Armoured Regiment as he was involved in a jeep
accident on 31st October 1943. A fractured leg and head injuries
resulted in Lt Graves admitted first to the 70th General Hospital
and the No 3 NZ General Hospital it is likely that  Lt Graves was
evacuated back to Egypt remaining in hospital until April 1944
when he was repatriated to New Zealand.

20th Armoured Regiment Sherman on the Road to Florence 

Lt Graves in New Zealand was medically assessed and given treatment but on 6th February 1945 Lt Graves was placed
on the Retired List and returned to civilian life.

Ian returned to his wife in Karori and in 1954 is listed as a commercial traveller. In 1972 the now retired Ian and Molly
move to Onepoto, Titahi Bay. Also living in Titahi Bay were two sons, Brian Briton Graves, a Civil Engineer, and David Bentley Graves, a shop keeper.

Ian and Molly later moved up to a Waianae retirement home where Linley (Molly) Briton Graves died on 11th February
1999 and Ian Ivatt Graves died on 11th May 2003. Their ashes are interred with family at the Karori Cemetery, Wellington.

There are two streets in Titahi Bay with names that have a connection to the Graves family.

Ian Graves Close, Titahi Bay  in the shopping area of Titahi Bay “named for a shop keeper who was in the area.”[iii]
Brian Place, Onepoto, Titahi Bay reported to have been named after a Titahi Bay Resident who was killed in WW2.

Notes
22953 Lieutenant I I Graves’s military file was purged in 1949 early papers were removed limiting information on his service details.

References
Porirua Street names
NZ BDM
NZDF Archives
NZ Electoral Rolls

Photos
Serman Tank of 20th Armoured Regiment on the road to Florence: National Library DA-06428 - F
Troops and recon vehicle from the 20th Armoured Regiment late in the Italian Campaign: Nat Library DA-0428-F

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] NZDF Archives: 22953 Lieutenant Ian Ivatt Graves
[iii] Porirua City Street Names
 
Troops and Recon vehicle of the 20th Armoured Regiment