El Alamein

Twenty-two New Zealand war veterans, aged between 88 and 96, are in Egypt to remember the battle fought 70 years ago at El Alamein. Yesterday they attended a service at the cemetery where more than 1,100 NZ soldiers are buried.

The Second Battle of El Alamein started on October 23rd 1942 and lasted 13 days until November 4th. This battle was the first victory for the Allies during the Second World War. It was the turning point of the war. Before that the Germans and Italians were winning but after that, the Allies began to win the battles. The Allies were Britain and Commonwealth countries (including NZ) and USA.

German and Italian war veterans also attended services at their war memorials because their countries lost many soldiers. They had 100,000 soldiers at the beginning of this battle but half were wounded, killed or taken prisoner. The Allies had 195,000 soldiers at the beginning. 13,250 were killed. In total – all soldiers and Air Force from all countries – 44,102 were killed at that battle.

The NZ war veterans travelled to Egypt with the Minister of Defence and a number of Defence staff in an Air Force plane. The journey took several days because they stopped on the way to make this an easier trip. The veterans all had care givers with them because of their age.

They leave Egypt tomorrow for their return trip.


• battle – one fight during a war
• veteran – an old soldier, someone who fought in a war in the past
• service – religious service
• cemetery – place where dead people are buried
• turning point – a change from one direction to another e.g. from losing to winning
• War memorial – a statue or a building to remember those who died during a war
• Defence – protect their country e.g. army, navy, air force


Imagine what veterans from both sides of the war might say to each, if they could speak the same language.

One Comments

  1. It is a bloody memory in all veterans’ mind.Second world war is the worst disaster in the earth.If both side of soldiers could speak the same language,they might have stopped the battle because they all had families.Humans are still improving ,so I don’t think the history of war will happen again.

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