Virtually forgotten by New Zealand rugby, George Fletcher Hart was - along with Dave Gallaher - arguably our finest ever All Black to die in war.

A mainstay in the national team in the early 1930s and judged by many (including the late Sir TP McLean) as our finest winger of the decade, Hart served as a tank commander in World War II, dying on June 3, 1944, of wounds sustained during the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Unlike Gallaher, however, Hart's remarkable story has never been fully told - until now.

By Ben Stanley

They're almost all gone now, the men and women who loved George Hart.

The fullbacks, the flankers, the props. The coaches, the newspaper writers, the fans.

Gone are the Kiwi kids of the early 1930s who, ball in hand at lunchtime, cut inside, then back out again just like George Hart, All Black winger.

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Many of them were destined to die in the same war that he would, too.

But if they served alongside Capt. G.F. Hart, a tank commander in the 20th Armoured Regiment, maybe that'd tell you a truth that still matters to Kiwis today: