Descendant of Maori Battalion Commander to attend Gallipoli commemorations

Brigadier George Dittmer, Commander of the 28th Maori Battalion
Brigadier George Dittmer, Commander of the 28th Maori Battalion.

16 April 2010

Air Force Corporal Philip Dittmer will be able to trace the footsteps of his famous Great Uncle George Dittmer when he travels to Turkey for this year’s Anzac Day commemorations.

CPL Dittmer grew up in Woodville, attended Tararua College and lives in Hobsonville, Auckland. He will be part of a tri-Service New Zealand Defence Force guard which will parade at the Anzac Day services on 25 April in Turkey.

Philip’s Great Uncle, Brigadier George Dittmer, was the first Commanding Officer of the 28th Maori Battalion, which established a proud record during the Second World War, particularly for their actions in Crete. It was his leadership in Greece and Crete that earned Brigadier George Dittmer the Distinguished Service Order. 

“My Great Uncle was an excellent military leader who served in both World Wars, starting with the Auckland Battalion at Gallipoli as a Private before getting commissioned. Then he fought on the Western Front. He was awarded a Military Cross at Messines, and was wounded at Passchendaele,” CPL Dittmer says.

“It is a great honour to be able to participate in the NZDF parade at Anzac Cove. I’ve taken part in many Anzac Day parades in remembrance of New Zealand’s war veterans but the parade at Gallipoli will be particularly special.

“It will be an amazing experience to be able to go to the place where he first fought for New Zealand.”

CPL Dittmer joined the Air Force in 2001 and currently works as the administration corporal for 40 Squadron. He has spent time on exchange with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Darwin, and been has on tours of duty to Avondale, Canberra, Rarotonga (with a Hercules delivering medical supplies), Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. In June this year he will be posted to the RAAF East Sale just out of Melbourne for two years.

The official New Zealand contingent travelling to Gallipoli includes the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, veterans, students, and representatives from the Returned and Services Association, Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Veterans Affairs New Zealand.

The Defence Force group will include a ceremonial Guard of Honour, a Maori Cultural Group and a tri-Service band.

The Anzac Day ceremonies in Gallipoli begin on Saturday 24 April with the Turkish International Service and conclude with the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair on 25 April. The services will be attended by the Prime Minister John Key, Lieutenant General Mateparae, as well as dignitaries from Australia and Turkey.


For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group 04 496 0273 or 021 569 130.

This page was last reviewed on 18 January 2011.