b. 07/04/1918 Whareponga, New Zealand. d. 27/03/1943 Tebaga Gap, Tunisia
A Mori of Ngati Porou and Te Whanau-a-Apanui descent, Ngarimu was born on 7 April 1918 in Whareponga in the Hawke's Bay. He grew up in Ruatoria, where he attended Hiruharama School before going on to attend Te Aute College. After completion of fourth form year, he worked as a shepherd on his father's sheep station. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Ngarimu joined the New Zealand Army on 11 February 1940, volunteering for the 28th (Mori) Battalion. The battalion, which embarked in May 1940 with the 2nd Echelon of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force was destined for the Middle East to join the 1st Echelon, but instead was diverted to England in May 1940 where it formed part of the island's defence against a possible German invasion. The battalion eventually arrived in Egypt in March 1941.
Ngarimu served through the battles of Greece and Crete after which he participated with the battalion during the North African Campaign. Commissioned in April 1942, he served for a time as an intelligence officer before being given command of his own platoon.
By March 1943, the campaign in Africa had moved to Tunisia. The 2nd Division, of which the Mori battalion was part of, was tasked with the capture of the Tobaga Gap, which disrupted otherwise mountainous terrain. Several hills overlooked the gap, which itself was forced relatively easy, although several hills remained in German hands. One such hill was Point 209, held by the 2nd Battalion, 433 Panzer Grenadier Regiment of the 164 Light Division. Ngarimu's company was allocated the objective of the capture of Point 209. On the afternoon of 26 March, he led his men up the slope and captured what was believed to be the top of Point 209, although it transpired to be a false summit and a feature lower on the slopes of Point 209. Fierce fighting transpired as the Germans attempted to drive Ngarimu's forces off the hill. Twice wounded, he and his men defended their position from several counter-attacks during the night. His position reinforced the following morning, he was killed during the next counter-attack.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: TAIRAWHITI MUSEUM, GISBORNE, NEW ZEALAND.
BURIAL PLACE: BRITISH WAR CEMETERY, SFAX, TUNISIA.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT X, ROW E, GRAVE 14.