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Finding Your World War II Marine or Sailor


The Trust frequently receives on-line and phone requests for help with genealogical research, while we can often help with your inquiries, there’s also a lot you can do to enrich your family story independently,

Take a look at the following questions and see what you can do to find the answers.

Once you have some of this information, we’re always happy to help – particularly with any queries relating to World War II US Marines history in and around Camps: Mackay, Russell and Paekakariki.  


Starter Questions:


  • Full name (an correct spelling) of you relative or family member

  • Date of birth?

  • Date of death?

  • Relationship to you?

  • Which US state did they come from?

  • Where did they train? 

  • Which port did they board ship in?

  • Name of ship they boarded?

  • Which NZ port did they arrive at?

  • Which camp were they in?

  • What division were they in?

  • Where they went when they left New Zealand?

  • Significant battles they fought in?

  • What did they specialise in e.g. engineering, map-making etc

  • Any New Zealand family or friends you know of?

  • Any memorabilia or papers of the person: discharge papers, “dog tags” dairies, photos, badges, caps etc

  • Your last contact?


Where you can find out more


  • The Leatherneck Magazine & Marine Corps Gazette

  • Paul Webber, (Deputy Historian) US Marine Corps HQ, Quantico Virginia.  He has access to the database listing all US Marines killed in wartime since 1775.

  • The Trust has a copy of the Coroner’s Logbook from World War II - it lists all Marines killed in New Zealand during WWII and the names of those who died while training in the Pacific, whose bodies were brought back to New Zealand. 

  • The Paekakariki Station Museum: (Open 11am – 3pm weekends. Phone 04 905 8275. Hosts the Friend In Need exhibition and also holds a very good small collection of archival material and memorabilia relating to US Marines in Kapiti from 1942-44.

  • NZ History on-line:

  • NZ Archives:

  • Nga Taonga Sound & Vision:







Former Marine Richard Tracy, 93, returned to New Zealand last weekend to

resume an engagement with Snells Beach resident Norma Milford, 89, that

he broke off while fighting in the Pacific in 1943.  Read more

Dick Tracey and Norma Milford

Sweethearts Dick Tracey & Norma Milford & their familes in Whareroa Farm, with John Porter and Anne Evans from the Guardians of Whareroa Farm. 


Paraparaumu woman Diana Sawrey (88), who has recently donated a field notebook, recording the graphic experiences a Marine fighting in Guadalcanal, Tongatapu and Tulagi during World War 11, to the Trust is keen to connect with his family in America.

The book, hand-written by Jim Wallace who served in the 2nd Marines, provides a rare first-hand account of the very grim life and conditions of a Marine during the Pacific War. Read more

Jim Wallace

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