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Hero image for The Years Back - 5, The Desert (Episode Five)

The Years Back - 5, The Desert (Episode Five)

Television (Full Length Episode) – 1973

In this episode of the The Years Back presenter Bernard Kearns explores New Zealand's part in the famous campaign against Rommel in the Libyan Desert. Using rare footage of the action and contemporary post-battle reconstructions, the episode follows the New Zealand 2nd Division in the lead up to the battle of El Alamein and pursuit of the German Afrika Korps, and victory under the guidance of legendary British commander Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. A notable moment is Kiwi Sergeant Keith Elliott being presented with his VC for his deeds at Ruweisat Ridge.

The infantry were left on that ridge unsupported. Now a British armoured brigade was supposed to back us up. They didn’t. So our infantry were up there and when the German counterattack came they were overrun.
– Major General Sir William Gentry


Alexander Turnbull Library, National Film Archives, Department of Lands and Survey, National Film Library.
Archives New Zealand copy reference W3471/16BW469
16mm motion picture film