The remarkable story of John Alexander Redpath, who was awarded two gallantry medals in World War II, has been brought to life.
Graeme McLeod, from Waikanae, has written Two Home Runs, which highlights Redpath's extraordinary wartime service.
Redpath was one of a handful of New Zealanders to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal as well as the Military Medal.
McLeod's interest in Redpath was piqued while compiling his comprehensive book New Zealand Honours and Awards 1840—2020 which is 704 pages long, weighs just under 2kg, and comprises more than 50,000 entries both military and civil.
"I wondered why he got two bravery awards."
Based on information from medal citations, newspaper articles, translating a book from Greek into English, and other sources, he would find out.
Redpath, born in Christchurch, joined the New Zealand Engineers, at age 36.
He went to North Africa operating water barges before transferring to Crete where he was captured by the Germans while repairing a ship.
After escaping capture, he found himself in Anapolis, southern Greece, were he "rounded up a bunch of other escapers and evaders, stole a caique boat and sailed to North Africa" coming under attack from the Royal Airforce because the boat was carrying a German flag.
Six bombs straddled the boat but none of them exploded because the plane's navigator had forgotten to arm them.
The boat, which would see the flag removed once in safer waters, also came under attack by the Luftwaffe and narrowly escaped harm.
The trip would later see Redpath awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Redpath decided to go back to Greece, via a British submarine, to look for more escapers.
That involvement led to him receiving the Military Medal.
In Paros he was betrayed and dobbed in to the Italians leading to his second capture before being taken to the island of Rhodes and then a Greek POW camp in mainland Italy.
"He was in that when the Germans invaded and was put on a train to a POW camp in Germany.
"He jumped from the train and spent about six weeks walking south through Italy until he met up with the Americans."
Then it was back to Egypt where he volunteered for the Levant Schooner Flotilla which took part in long-range missions around the Greek islands.
"He was quite a busy lad."
McLeod called the book Two Home Runs because of Redpath's two successful escapes from the Germans.
He was happy with the 180-page book but noted there was no padding in it.
"It's all strictly Redpath."
He also points out that while the book stated Redpath was one of only two New Zealanders to be awarded both medals in the war, he has since discovered there were three including Tom Moir and Albert Lock, or four if Ashley Shaw, who was serving with the Royal Army Service Corps, was added too.
Meanwhile, McLeod said creating New Zealand Honours and Awards 1840—2020 had taken "about 30 years" to complete.
He undertook the work after his friend Bob O'Leary, who was the medals officer for the Ministry of Defence, "suggested it would be a good hobby to get into".
"I never really intended to publish it but then a friend said 'you've got all that — why are you sitting on it?'
"I'm pretty sure it's unique in the world. It's not only military it's civil as well."
Information was gleaned from a variety of sources including base records at Trentham Military Camp and the London Gazette in Wellington.
The research included lots of double checking before placing into alphabetical order to make finding people easier.
"I'm happy with the book.
Copies of either Two Home Runs or New Zealand Honours and Awards 1840—2020 are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org