New Zealand Divisional Provost Company, Italy 1944

MP clseDuring World War 1 New Zealand military police served on all fronts where New Zealand soldiers fought as part of 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They were all mounted. After the Armistice, the NZ Military Police were disbanded.

During World War 2, the NZ Military Police were re-established. The first detachment sailed for the Middle East in January 1940, where they served on all fronts and in all engagements with 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. After the 2nd World War ended, the military police were again disbanded.

Below is the duties of a Provost Unit as described in the unofficial history of the 5th NZ Provost Company (this company was based in the Pacific but the duties performed in Italy would have been much the same).

1. The duties of a provost unit are many and varied.

2. No community or body can function efficiently without some police system, and the provosts supply the system for the Army.

3. The patrolling of roads to enforce speed limits to save excessive wear on vehicles and road surfaces is an apparent need; but the elimination of accidents by these patrols, efficient signposting, and escort of convoys is apparent only by results.

4. Patrols in towns and villages not only prevent incidents or disturbances with the local population, but also protect military personnel from being exploited. The military policeman, in directing soldiers away from suspected sources is only protecting the soldier.

5. The protection of equipment and supplies from theft or damage is as vital as the detection of thieves and vandals, but the provosts fill both needs.

6. Specialised knowledge of road conditions and terrain enable convoys of vehicles to be brought safely and quickly to their destination.

7. Prisoners of war require collecting and guarding en route to rear areas and special knowledge is needed to carry out this work.

8. From the time of a landing until hostilities cease, provosts are incessantly directing stragglers to their units, directing traffic, and signposting routes and captured areas.

9. Liaison and control of native populations in the battle or occupied areas is, in itself, a big task.

10. These are but a few of the duties of the provosts. If there are any other odd jobs to do, just call on the military police. They are always willing and will do the job well.

The below photo of a NZ Provost taken near Casino in Italy and was the inspiration for my figure. NZ mil police 1

My figure is wearing a US made war aid, herring bone twill (HBT) bush jacket with sergeant rank and British made MP brassard. The khaki drill trousers are privately made possibly of Indian manufacture . The webbing is a mix of Indian (Bata Shoe Company manufactured belt and cross brace) and British (Webley ammunition pouch and the Mills Equipment Company holster). The brass silver plated whistle doesn’t have any manufacturing marks. MP full

Closer look at both the MP brassard and the whistle and lanyard.





One thought on “New Zealand Divisional Provost Company, Italy 1944

  1. Would very much like to find out where Richard (Dick) Hawkins was in the Battle of Greece. He was C Sqn, Div Cav and 2 troops from C Sqn were ‘swapped’ for Hussar tanks from 1st Armoured Bde of 6th Australian Div. Was he swapped or did he remain in 2nd NZ Div?


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