Newspaper Article 1942 – Lieut.-Col. J Russell Killed in Action

Lieut.- Col. J. Russell Killed in Action


(P.A.)   WELLINGTON, Sept. 11.

Official advice has been received that Lieutenant – Colonel John Tinsley Russell, D.S.O., son of Sir Andrew Russell has been killed in action. His wife is Mrs. R. Russell, “Gola,” Tunanui Hastings.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Tinsley Russell, D.S.O., was the second son of Major-General Sir Andrew Russell and Lady Russell, Tunanui. Like his father, who was General Officer Commanding the New Zealand Forces in the last Great War, he had a wide military career and for many years was associated with cavalry and mounted units. He was well-known throughout Hawke’s Bay.

Educated at Christ’s College, Christchurch, he subsequently went to Sandhurst, England. In 1924 he joined the Border Regiment and served a period in the Far East in Shanghai afterwards serving with the Iraq Irregular Levies. Colonel Russell resigned his commission in 1929 when he returned to New Zealand where he took up sheep-farming at “Gola,” Tunanui. He continued to maintain an active interest in military matters and served in the Territorials as a mounted trooper, being in command of the Tunanui troop of the Wellington and East Coast Mounted Rifles. Shortly before the war broke out he carried out a series of field manoeuvres with his troop in the Puketapu, Rissington and Tunanui areas.

At the outbreak of the present war he enlisted and proceeded overseas with the first echelon. He has served with the New Zealand forces in the various campaigns in the Middle East, and was held in high esteem by the men under his command. During the fighting in Crete he was wounded. He was in charge of a detachment of cavalry which took part in bitter hand-to-hand fighting during the parachute invasion in defence of one of the most heavily-stormed areas. He was soon with the forces again to take an active part in the Libyan campaign. Subsequently he was awarded the D.S.O. for gallantry. He continued serving in the front line with the New Zealanders in Libya and through the present Egyptian campaign.

Lieutenant-Colonel Russell was a cool and resourceful leader. During the fighting in Libya in June last he got cut off, along with a brigadier, from his men. The pair were taken prisoner, but their period of captivity was brief. The enemy becoming otherwise occupied, they made a successful dash, and after a hazardous journey on foot, they eventually regained the British lines.   As a result Colonel Russell had to have hospital treatment to his feet.

Lieutenant-Colonel Russell married Miss H [R]. Rolleston, of the South Island. He leaves three young children.

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11 September 1942

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