23rd Battalion (New Zealand)

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23rd Battalion
Active 1939–1945
Country  New Zealand
Branch New Zealand Military Forces
Type Infantry
Size ~700–900 personnel
Part of 5th Brigade, 2nd Division

Second World War

The 23rd Battalion, also known as the Canterbury-Otago Battalion, was an infantry battalion of the New Zealand Military Forces during the Second World War. Formed in November 1939 as part of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. After undertaking training at Burnham Camp the battalion sailed from New Zealand on 1 May 1940. The battalion saw action in Greece, Crete, North Africa, and Italy.

Commanding officers[edit]

The following officers served as commanding officer of 23rd Battalion:[1]

  • Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Falconer (January–August 1940; March–May 1941);
  • Lieutenant Colonel D. F. Leckie (August 1940–March 1941; May–June 1941);
  • Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Romans (June 1941; July 1942–April 1943; August–December 1943);[Note 1]
  • Lieutenant Colonel C. N. Watson (June–July 1942);
  • Lieutenant Colonel J. R. J. Connolly (April–May 1943; December 1943–May 1944);
  • Lieutenant Colonel M. C. Fairbrother (May–August 1943);
  • Lieutenant Colonel W. B. Thomas (December 1943; June–August 1944; October 1944–May 1945);
  • Lieutenant Colonel E. D. Blundell (May 1944);
  • Lieutenant Colonel E. A. McPhail (May–June 1944; August–October 1944);
  • Lieutenant Colonel D. G. Grant (May–September 1945);
  • Major D. P. W. Harvey (September–December 1945).


  1. ^ Romans had the rank of major during his first period in command of the battalion.[1]
  1. ^ a b Ross, 1959, p. 493


  • Ross, Angus (1959). 23 Battalion. The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945. Wellington, New Zealand: Historical Publications Branch.