HINTON, John (Jack) Daniel
7930, Sergeant, 20 Battalion, WW2
Legion of Frontiersmen, New Zealand
Gazetted 14 October 1941, p6027 On the night of April 28-29, 1941, during the fighting in Greece, a column of German armoured forces entered Kalamai. This column, which contained several armoured cars, 2-inch guns, 3-inch mortars and two 6-inch guns, rapidly converged on a large force of British and New Zealand troops awaiting embarkation on the beach. When the order to retreat to cover was given, Sergeant Hinton, shouting "To hell with this, who'll come with me?", ran to within several yards of the nearest gun. The gun fired, missing him, and he hurled two grenades which completely wiped out the crew. He then came on with the bayonet, followed by a crowd o New Zealanders. German troops abandoned the first 6-inch gun and retreated into two houses. Sergeant Hinton smashed the window and then the door of the first house, and dealt with the garrison with the bayonet. He repeated the performance in the second house, and as a result, until overwhelming German forces arrived, the New Zealanders held the guns. Sergeant Hinton then fell with a bullet wound through the lower abdomen and was taken prisoner.
War Medal 1939-45
New Zealand War Service Medal
Mention in Despatches
Coronation Medal 1953
Jubilee Medal 1977
New Zealand Sesquicentennial Medal 1990
Born 17 September 1909 Colac Bay, New Zealand
Died 28 June 1997 Christchurch, New Zealand
Buried Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand (Plot 1I, 187)
John Daniel 'Jack' Hinton VC was a New Zealander, a World War II soldier in 2NZEF who was awarded the Victoria Cross for leading an assault in Greece in 1941. The Victoria Cross, is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Captured by the Germans, Hinton twice escaped. He is however perhaps best remembered for his profanity.
Jack Hinton was born in Colac Bay, Southland on 17 September 1909. He had only a rudimentary education, having a variety of tough manual jobs including at the age of 12 working on a whaling ship which visited Antarctica At the outbreak of war he enlisted in Colonel Howard Kippenberger's 20th Battalion 2nd NZEF (The Canterbury Regiment), and rapidly rose to the rank of sergeant. He was sent to the Middle East with the 2nd New Zealand Division under General Bernard Freyberg. Shortly after the division arrived in Egypt, Hinton was commanding a squad practising shooting when visited by Freyberg, who asked him how the men were shooting. 'How would you expect them to bloody well shoot?', replied Hinton, '— not enough bloody rations, stinking heat and sand'. Freyberg asked him to repeat the comment, which he did word for word. Hinton was not disciplined and a ration increase was announced that evening. The 20th Battalion deployed to Greece to support the Greek resistance to Italian and German invasion, seeing action at Thermopylae before falling back. On 29 April 1941 the unit was preparing to withdraw by sea when the New Zealand troops heading for the port of Kalamata to await evacuation were attacked by enemy machine-gun fire and self-propelled 6-inch guns. While organising a counter-attack Hinton was ordered to retreat and evacuate from the port. He dismissed the order with the words; "Fuck that, who's coming with me". He later explained his action as being because "I didn't like the way things were going". However it should be stated he met up with and had the full support of his immediate commanding officer for most of the action. Sergeant Hinton rushed forward to the nearest gun and, hurling two grenades, killed the crew. He continued towards the quay, clearing out two light machine gun nests and a mortar with grenades, then dealt with the garrison of a house where some of the enemy were sheltering. He then assisted in the capture of an artillery piece, but shortly after was shot in the stomach, immobilised and captured. While a prisoner of war Hinton twice escaped, and made several other attempts. He was told he had been awarded the VC as he lay in hospital recovering from a beating given after one of these attempts. Jack Hinton received his Victoria Cross from King George VI on May 11, 1945, at Buckingham Palace. After returning home, Hinton spent many years managing hotels up and down New Zealand before settling in Auckland. He served as a steward at several racing and trotting clubs. Jack Hinton died in 1997.