New Zealand WW2 hero 'committed war crimes'

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 April 2006, WELLINGTON - A New Zealand war hero broke the international rules of combat by killing German soldiers in World War II while disguised as a Nazi paratrooper, according to a new book reported Sunday. Alfred Clive Hulme was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British and New Zealand bravery award, for his actions in the 1941 Battle of Crete, where he killed 33 German snipers and other soldiers while dressed in a German paratrooper's smock, historian Glyn Harper writes in his book, In the F

10 April 2006

WELLINGTON - A New Zealand war hero broke the international rules of combat by killing German soldiers in World War II while disguised as a Nazi paratrooper, according to a new book reported Sunday.

Alfred Clive Hulme was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British and New Zealand bravery award, for his actions in the 1941 Battle of Crete, where he killed 33 German snipers and other soldiers while dressed in a German paratrooper's smock, historian Glyn Harper writes in his book, In the Face of the Enemy.

The book says that at one time the New Zealand army sergeant climbed up behind a nest of German snipers and pretended to be part of their group.

"He shot the leader first, and as the other four snipers looked around to see where the shot had come from, Hulme also turned his head as if searching for the shooter. Then he shot and killed two more in quick succession.

"The other two snipers, knowing something was amiss, began to leave, but Hulme shot them, too."

Harper said The Hague Convention on international rules of combat defined this "as an act of perfidy," and British allied troops had routinely shot any Germans found fighting while disguised in Allied uniforms.

The Sunday Star-Times quoted Peter Wills, deputy director of Auckland University's Centre for Peace Studies, as saying that Hulme's actions were "unsanctioned murder", and that New Zealand should track down the families of his German victims and apologize.

Auckland University associate professor of law Bill Hodge told the paper that killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform was "prima facie a war crime."

Harper, who co-wrote the book with Colin Richardson, said that Hulme deserved his VC for his outstanding bravery.

"But he shouldn't have done what he did (in disguising himself)."

Hulme died in 1982, and his daughter Anita told the paper that accusing her father of war crimes was "a terrible thing to bring up".

She said: "I didn't know it was against the rules of war. I don't think it's an issue - you do what you need to survive, don't you?"

DPA

Subject: German news

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