American woman Jenni Dinger is on a search - for the special friend of her late grandfather William 'Bud' Green who was a marine in the US 2nd Division and who spent time during WW2 in Hawke's Bay.

It was during that nearly two years of being stationed in New Zealand that he struck up a friendship with a young woman - a woman Ms Dinger said would likely be around 92 now and a woman she would like to contact - or her family.

Her name was Beryl Gill, and Ms Dinger said she thinks she lived in Hastings.

Her name would have changed though, as one of her last letters to Mr Green was of her wedding day in Hawke's Bay.


"My grandpa and she dated while he was stationed nearby with the US Marines 2nd Division," Ms Dinger said when contacting Hawke's Bay Today from Boston, Massachusetts.

"She meant so much to my grandpa and I would like to return the lovely photos and pass on my thanks to her, or her children, for giving him some joy during a terrible time."

Among the items Beryl had given her grandfather was a very special ring.

"She saved up rations during the war in order to give him a gold ring with his initials engraved on it - very special."

Mr Green kept all his mementoes and memories from those years, including postcards from his leave time, snapshots with friends around Napier and Hastings, programmes from the military dances he played at (he played saxophone in the Marine Corps Band) and even a receipt from the Criterion Hotel in Napier.

William Green enlisted over the Christmas break of his second college year at Emporia State University in Kansas.

It was just after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour and the young man stepped up to his duty for his country. He was involved in several operations as part of the broad Pacific war front and found himself stationed in New Zealand - and Hawke's Bay.

It was during that time he met Beryl and they became good friends.

"From what I know, Beryl was likely from Hastings and I believe her family had some sort of store, but I'm not positive about that."

The time spent in Hawke's Bay was a tonic for service personnel like William Green. Being a saxophonist with the Marine Corps Band meant he got to meet plenty of locals at the dances and functions he played at.

Unfortunately, the harsh reality of war separated him from his local friend - for good.

He was wounded during action at Saipan, for which he received the Purple Heart.

His injuries meant he had to be shipped out for medical care.

"Without the opportunity to say goodbye to her."

Mr Green was given an honourable discharge in January 1946, and for his family back home, there was great relief as his three brothers, who also served in the war, all survived.

They did continue to write for a few years and both made their own paths through life.

Beryl got married and Mr Green completed a bachelor's degree in education and industrial art and went on to have a 40-year career as a teacher and principal in several Kansas public schools.

He married Margaret Jean Fleming and they went on to have seven children, 18 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Ms Dinger and her cousin had been planning to embark on a journey to New Zealand, and Hawke's Bay, back in January of 2013 as he was still in relatively sound health.

"He very much wanted to see the country that had been so welcoming to him and his fellow marines."

Sadly, they were not able to make the trip, and in May that year Mr Green passed away.

His wife died last June.

Ms Dinger said while she regretted the trip did not happen, she intended to one day hit the shores of Hawke's Bay herself.

And she will be wearing something special. "I wear what is lovingly referred to in our family as 'the ration ring' - I wear it every day."

Ms Dinger would love to hear from anyone who may know where Beryl Gill, or her family, are today as she would like to pass on several items her late grandfather had of his time in Hawke's Bay. And to say "thankyou" for the friendship he received during a very traumatic time. Please contact Roger Moroney at