THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
CURRIE Archibald Russell
35035, Major, NZ Engineers

CITATION
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Gazetted 1 January 1951, p39

Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 21 June 1945, p3226
As an Engineer Staff Officer Major Currie has rendered outstanding service in field work and particularly the various types of new mines which have been so frequently encountered

In November 1943 while the Div Engineers were held back by non arrival of transport Major Currie went forward with bulldozers into the Atessa-Sangro area and continued to take out different dozers for many consecutive nights to repair demolitions which were all under heavy and accurate shelling.  Three times as he was making a bypass round the demolished Perano bridge, a number of heavy shells landed on and destroyed much of the new work. With determination and gallantry he persevered with the task until a bypass was completed.  On several subsequent occasions the new route was badly damaged by shellfire but each night, sometimes under heavy artillery concentrations, he effected repairs and kept open an important supply route.

When new types of mines were encountered along the banks of the Sangro Major Currie immediately went out under considerable harassing fire and, at great personal risk, made a minute examination of the fields and brought back samples for investigation. To a considerable extent as a result of his work in this direction, methods of dealing with these fields of previously unknown mines were developed and successfully employed in clearing assault lanes

He took a prominent part in the assault crossing of the Sangro on 28/29 November 1943 and when the Division went forward Major Currie carried out two daring but most important reconnaissances, firstly of the Roman Road to the north of Lanciano and secondly of a route from Armstrong’s Road to the Roman Road. To gain the information required these reconnaissances had to be done in daylight in full view of the enemy. He was heavily mortared, but he carried on and brought back complete information. When some of our tanks had been destroyed on enemy minefields near the Orsogna-Ortona Road he went forward under heavy mortaring to clear lanes and bring back most useful data about a new type of minefield

On the Fifth Army front Major Currie examined many new and cunningly laid minefields and it was in no small measure due to his hazardous research that much gapping was completed with but few casualties from the mines themselves. Throughout the period of which the NZ Corps operated from 9 February ’44 to the middle of March ‘44 Major Currie as an Engineer Staff Officer also did valuable and outstanding work on roads and river reconnaissances.

Under mortaring and shelling and some sniping he graded roads and tracks from the Cassino Barracks area to the top of the Monte Cassino feature. These routes when constructed did much to reduce the difficulties of supply and communication

At all times Major Currie’s reconnaissance reports have been extremely accurate and his work on mines and minefields has been of outstanding merit and value. In gaining information on new mines and cleverly laid ‘booby traps’ Major Currie has displayed outstanding daring and courageous conduct

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted

AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
8th Army
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Mention in Despatches
New Zealand War Service Medal

NOTES
Born 12 November 1910, Napier, New Zealand
Died 1997 New Zealand