Last Men Standing on TV3

5:00pm – Sunday, April 24 on TV 3

Last Men Standing, screening on Sunday, April 24th at 5pm on 3, is a historical account of New Zealand’s Italian Campaign firmly rooted in the thoughts, feelings and memories of the veterans who fought there.

Using never before seen archival footage shot by the soldiers themselves, this is a fascinating insight into the struggles, joys and ultimate tragedy experienced by the men of the NZ Division in Italy.

Weaving a large collection of personal archival materials, it traces the return of these old soldiers to Italy to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Battle for Cassino and explores their struggle to find a final lasting peace with their own personal memories of war.

Some of the men in the film include:

Jack Knowles, a machine-gunner and career soldier who has never resolved his wartime memories.

Bill Pitman, the last surviving member of the Maori attack on the Railway Station.

John Waititi, the last surviving commanding officer of the 28th Maori Battalion.

Syd Mansbridge, a devout Catholic, who had a number of near misses during the war and is not quite sure why he made it home when so many of his friends were not so lucky.

Ron Hilton, who recounts days of silence in the ruins of Cassino town evading the unseen enemy.

The film had its genesis in 2004; Chris Hay was working on a project for the RNZRSA when a fax with a long list of names came through. Chris asked the receptionist what it was and she told him that it was the list of all the WWII Veterans who had died that month.

“Pretty soon,” she said, “there won’t be any left, the list gets longer each winter.”

Propelled by a strong desire to capture first-hand stories and memories from old soldiers on the ground, Chris arranged to travel to Cassino with a group of fifty veterans.

The film then remained on tapes for five years until Chris met up with film-maker Simon Price who provided the expertise to create the film.

Hear the heart-wrenching stories and see the unbelievable real-life footage in the ANZAC Special: Last Men Standing on Sunday, April 24th at 5pm on 3.

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