One of New Zealand's most highly decorated soldiers believed he survived the remarkable solo attack that won him the Victoria Cross because 12 German soldiers, some pointing guns at him, simply "got the wind up".
Their fright — and flight — came after Reginald Stanley Judson had thrown grenades into their three machine-gun placements.
Judson was awarded the VC, and before that the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal, for gallant acts that all took place within little more than a single month one century ago.
A some-time West Aucklander, Judson will be commemorated at a free concert at Glen Eden on September 2.
Judson's decorated valour occurred in the last months of World War I. The New Zealand Division was involved in fighting that culminated in the Battle of Bapaume, a village 15km north of the Somme River in France, before it swept east within a British army to the war's end in November 1918.
Sergeant Judson — he rose to the rank of major in World War II — won his first two gallantry medals west of Bapaume on July 24, by leading a grenade-throwing patrol along a trench, forcing an enemy retreat of more than 500m (DCM), and on August 16 when he led a successful frontal assault on a machine-gun nest.
A married man who at the time had four children, he was credited in the medal citations with inspiring courage and acting "without regard to his personal safety".
But his greatest valour was yet to come. On August 26, when leading another grenade-throwing attack, he climbed out of the trench alone and bombed three machine-gun crews. Two German officers and 10 soldiers refused his order to surrender, shot at him and demanded he surrender.
"When they fired they somehow missed ...," a Herald reporter wrote after interviewing Judson at his home in Dedwood Tce, St Marys Bay, upon his arrival home to a hero's welcome 11 months later.
Judson had leapt into the Germans' trench and fought hand-to-hand, killing two while others fled.
When asked why the Germans hadn't shot him, Judson said, "They must have got the 'wind up'."
The interview was halted by the arrival of Judson's boisterous youngest son, who, aged 5 and wearing a German cap, "seemed to consider a German revolver his father's most precious trophy".
When Judson had walked off his homeward ship in Auckland the day before, he wasn't recognised from the wharf until he had almost reached the bottom of the gangway, where his VC ribbon was noticed.
"By Jove! It's Judson!" a man shouted. "Cheers for Judson."
He was feted at a cheering Civic Reception in the Auckland Town Hall's concert chamber attended by Auckland City and Waitematā County councillors, MPs and military and union leaders.
He said he had received "far too much credit for the small part I have played in the war …"
"These decorations I wear are not a personal affair; they belong to my regiment, the Auckland Infantry Regiment … It is to the rank and file, the private soldier, in other words, the 'digger', to whom, in great measure, the success of the New Zealand Division has been due.
"The greater the hardships, the more determined they grew, and the better would they fight."
Sandra Coney, in her book on Great War memorials in Waitakere, Gone West, said Judson, one of the war's most-acclaimed soldiers, was a self-effacing man who was almost embarrassed by his achievement.
A 1924 medical assessment reported he was irritable, jumpy and depressed at times, easily fatigued and having trouble sleeping. He had been badly injured in the stomach by machine-gun fire in 1916.
Before the war, Judson, a boilermaker, and his wife had helped run the 30-room Waiatarua Boarding House built by his uncle in the Waitakere Ranges.
Judson remained in the army for some years after the war, divorced, remarried, had a fifth child, was elected to the Auckland City Council, served in the army in New Zealand during the 1939-45 war and, aged 70, was badly crushed in an accident on the Auckland waterfront, where he was a cargo worker.
He died in 1972 aged 90 and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery. Memorials commemorate him at several places, including the gates of Oratia School, which he attended, an oak tree and plaque at Stockade Hill in Howick, and in the VC winners' plaque in Dunedin.
• To book for the free memorial concert contact Auckland Council