National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

A Birthday to Remember

A Birthday to Remember

It was a very special 95th birthday for World War II veteran Arnold Kimber when he came face to face with a fellow veteran; the National Army Museum’s Sherman Tank.

Trooper Kimber served as a Sherman driver during the war and travelled to the museum to see the only Sherman tank on public display in New Zealand.

Together with his son John, Kimber flew up from Blenheim to Taupo and then drove down to spend several hours viewing the different displays and exhibitions at the National Army Museum.

Kimber was a motor mechanic by trade from Christchurch and, therefore, perfectly suited to the role of tank driver, whose responsibility it was to look after the tank’s motor and tracks.

He was drafted into the Army early in 1941 and was sent overseas to Egypt with the 8th Reinforcements to the 2nd NZ Division. He departed New Zealand in late 1942 on the Aquatania and started his campaign at Maadi Camp training during the formation of the 4th Armoured Brigade. He served in all the battles the NZ Division fought in Italy, serving with HQ Troop, C Squadron of the 18th Armoured Regiment. Kimber recalled one incident near Cassino where they had to abandon their tank after being badly hit by enemy fire which claimed the life of the gunner and where Kimber lost a finger.

To ensure Kimber’s story is recorded for history, SSgt Beach of the National Army Museum will soon visit him to record a full oral account of his career.