THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
UPTON Geoffrey Thompson
46278, Lieutenant Colonel, New Zealand Infantry, att Fiji Infantry Regiment

CITATION
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Gazetted


Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted
In late 1943 Lieutenant Colonel Upton took command of the 1st Battalion, Fiji Infantry Regiment.  His Battalion was given the task of harassing the enemy forces on Bougainville.  After a reconnaissance based on the abandoned mission station at Ibu resulted in heavy losses to the enemy, this officer personally selected a site and garrisoned it under his leadership.  An air strip was cleared and a force of some 500 was assembled.  A policy of heavy patrolling and numerous ambushes resulted in many times their number of enemy troops being committed to the task of combating them.  On 14 February, large enemy forces attacked the Fijians in an effort to clear them from Ibu and its surrounds.  These attackers were held up at a road block and retreated after heavy fighting leaving 30 dead.  After further probing attacks from the Japanese showed that they were present in overwhelming numbers, the Fijian troops followed the withdrawal plans of Lt Col Upton and made a fighting retirement with all equipment.  All troops arrived at the coastal embarkation point and were safely removed by sea being in the allied perimeter by 19 February.  Approximately 200 enemy were killed by patrolling and a further 150 during the retirement.  The success of the operation and the lightness of Allied casualties was due to the meticulous planning of Lt Col Upton.  His leadership, courage and personal example was an inspiration to all under his command
(Based on the report and account of this action published in “Among Those Present” HMSO, 1946)

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted

AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
       Mention in Despatches
NZ War Service Medal
Bronze Star (US)

NOTES
Born 8 October 1912, Auckland, New Zealand
Died 18 March 1989, Rotorua, New Zealand