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Full Name: Athol Richard James Garthwaite
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Forename(s): Athol Richard James
Surname: Garthwaite
Also Known As: Happy
War: World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.: 19108
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 19 June 1915
Place of Birth: Lumsden, Southland, New Zealand
Religion: Brethren
First Known Rank: Private
Occupation before Enlistment: Gardener
Next of Kin: Mr F. Garthwaite (father), 121 Venus Street, Invercargill, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: 121 Venus Street, Invercargill, New Zealand
Enlistment Date: 24 March 1941
Age on Enlistment: 25
Military District: Invercargill
Embarkation Unit: 6 Reinforcements
Embarkation Date: 27 June 1941
Destination: Egypt
  • Africa
  • Italy
Military Awards:
  • Italy Star
  • Africa Star
  • 1939-1945 Star
  • War Medal 1939-1945
  • New Zealand War Service Medal
Wounds and Diseases: Wounded and admitted to the 53 and 12 General Hospitals.
Last Unit Served: 20 Armoured Regiment
Place of Death: Florence, Italy
Date of Death: 28 July 1944
Age at Death: 29
Year of Death: 1944
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Cemetery Name: Florence War Cemetery, Italy
Grave Reference: VII. E. 17.
Obituary: 6 August 1944
Biographical Notes:
  • Athol Garthwaite was the son of Frederick and Emma May Garthwaite, of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand.
  • Athol Garthwaite was one of five brothers who served in WW II and was the only one killed.
Description of Image:
  • Portrait, Weekly News
  • Headstone, Florence War Cemetery (photograph Gabrielle Fortune 2008).
Additional Information:
  • During July 1944 the New Zealand Artillery was part of the advance to Florence. After the fall of Rome troops rested by the Liri river, training and recreation taking up the days until 7 July when orders were received that the Division should concentrate near Lake Trasimene.
  • After the taking of Rome by the Allies in June 1944 the Germans fell back to the Gothic Line. They needed time to consolidate this line. For their part the Allies aimed to reach the Northern Apennines before this consolidation could take place. The result was that as the Fifth Army advanced along the coast and the Eighth Army advanced further inland they found stiff resistance as the Germans sought to slow down Allied progress. From 5 July the Allies encountered resolute resistance in defence of positions just south of a line Ancona-Arezzo-Leghorn and in particular on both sides of the Chiana valley. The Allied attack along this line began on 14/15 July. Within a week it had taken all the strong points of the German defences and had gained the ports of Ancona and Leghorn. The Americans reached the Arno on 4 August and on the 13 August the 8th Indian Division crossed the river and occupied Florence.
Sources Used: Commonwealth War Graves Commission. URL:
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