THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
HARGEST James
9/286, Major, 2 Battalion, Otago Regiment, 1NZEF
31156, Brigadier, 5th NZ Infantry Brigade, 2NZEF

CITATION
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) military
Gazetted 12 October 1943, Supplement 36209, p4539
In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East.

Military Cross
Gazetted 11 December 1916, p12110
For conspicuous gallantry in action. He organised and led a bombing party, thereby driving the enemy back and securing his left flank.  Later, he
organised the defence of the position with great skill at a critical time.

Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 7 November 1918, p13137
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an advance. He commanded his battalion with marked ability. His tactical dispositions were
excellent, and he secured and forwarded valuable information.  Constantly in the front trenches he inspired all ranks with the keenest offensive
spirit, and the uninterrupted success of the battalion operations were largely due to his fine personal leadership."

Bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 26 December 1941 Issue 35396, p7332
For devotion to duty, coolness and tactical skill in command of 5th (NZ) Infantry Brigade throughout the operations during which his brigade was
almost continuously engaged (Crete).  On 21 and 22 May (1941) he withdrew his brigade from exposed positions at Maleme under conditions of great difficulty.  On 26th May, west of Canea, he held his position in the face of repeated and severe air and ground attacks, restoring a dangerous situation by counter attack.  In the evening he withdrew his brigade with great skill to a covering position some miles in rear at the head of Suda Bay and thereafter fought a rearguard action which was largely instrumental in securing the safe embarkation of our troops at Spharkia

Second bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 5 October 1943, Supplement 36198, p4437
Escape from Camp 12 PM 3200, Italy (Generals Camp).  This camp was extremely well guarded and inconsequence it was decided that the only possible method of escape would be by way of tunnel.  On the 13th September 1942, tunnelling began. All officers and other ranks worked, with the exception of one officer who was awaiting repatriation.  The entrance to the tunnel was through a sealed up chapel in which all soil was placed.  The work, which consisted of a 3 foot by 3 foot tunnel, 40 feet long with a 10 foot shaft at the entrance and a 7 foot shaft at the exit, was completed by the end of February 1943.  At 2100 hours on the 29th March 1943, Brigadiers MILES and HARGEST, in company with four other officers, escaped through the tunnel.  The four other officers were subsequently recaptured.  Brigadiers Miles and Hargest dressed as workmen and having walked to Florence station, caught a train to Milan where they went to the north station.  They caught a train to Como and walked toward Chiasso, 2 kilometres from Chiasso they left the main road and proceeded across country until they reached a knoll south of Chiasso where the frontier lay along the opposite slope of a valley below them.  The frontier consisted of heavy cyclone netting 12 foot high interlaced with brambles and with small bells near the top.  They cut the wire with pliers at ground level without making much noise and came on to Swiss territory at 220 hours on the 30th March 1943.  They gave themselves up to the police at Mendrisio and were released in Berne on the 2nd April 1943.

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 31 December 1918, p15231
Sir D. Haig’s despatch dated 8 November 1918, submitting names deserving of special mention.

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted

Legion d'Honneur, Chevalier (France)
Gazetted 29 January 1919, p1446
For great gallantry and skilful leadership in action.  During operations in front of Puisieux 14th – 18th August 1918, Major Hargest displayed courage and initiative of a high order.  He led his Battalion with great skill and the marked success of his Battalion’s operations was largely due to his example and personal leadership.  During the action north of Bapaume on August 25th Major Hargest was in command of his Battion when it made and advance of 2,000 yards, the first 1,000 yards of which was across open country and the remainder through a wooded village.   To his personal example and skilful leading the success of the operation was largely due.  Prior to the attack he made a personal reconnaissance of the position, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, thus obtaining much valuable information and contributing very largely to the success of the whole operation.  His example throughout was an inspiration to the officers and men of his Battalion.

Military Cross (Greece)
Gazetted 7 April 1942 Supplement 35519, p1595
In recognition of services in the cause of the Allies


AWARDS
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Distinguished Service Order and Two Bars
Military Cross
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Mentioned in Despatches
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
France and Germany Star
War Medal 1939-1945
Mentioned in Despatches
New Zealand War Service Medal
Silver Jubilee Medal 1935
Coronation Medal 1937
Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration
Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal
New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal
New Zealand Territorial Service Medal
Legion d'Honneur, Chevalier (France)
Military Cross (Greece)

NOTES
Born 4 September 1891, Gore, New Zealand
Killed in Action Normandy 12 August 1944
Buried Hottot-les-Bagues Cemetery, France