Margaret Ball's father never brought it up, but war records show clearly that he lied about his age, twice, to enlist for World Wars I and II.

Harold Martin Sanders was only 14 when World War I began, but he made his way among training troops by pretending to be older.

"He only got as far as the training stage," Ms Ball said.

"But he would've been too young for that too."

When World War II came around, Mr Sanders knocked five years off his age to join again - a forgery Ms Ball can see in the records.

He fought in North Africa before being captured and spending several years in four camps as a prisoner of war.

Ms Ball's mother waited for him all that time until he was able to return home to New Zealand.

But nobody heard much about his war experiences - the most that Ms Ball's mother learned was when her husband was pumped full of morphine on his deathbed.

Thirty-one years after his death, Ms Ball has decided to find out more about her father.

"I guess I always have been interested," she said.

She has gone online to the site for its new war records, and has contacted Internal Affairs about archived documents.

She said it felt great to catch glimpses of him in old records. "It's wonderful."

She used to be the only person her father would allow to clip the hair on the nape of his neck, where a piece of shrapnel remained lodged all his life.