My short bio: Grandson here - My Pop was a Signalman attached to the 3rd division of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. Further to this he was a Post Master in Wakefield, New Zealand from 1966-1978. He will be sitting around with me for a few hours answering some questions! Shoot away Reddit.

My Proof: My dashing Pop in 1940 -

Edit -More info about NZ's participation in WWII for the interested

Edit II - He's a little overwhelmed at the attention but he's still enjoying answering all your questions! Should be on for a bit longer!

Final Edit - Thanks guys it has been a blast. My Pop is amazing and I am just so grateful and proud to share him with the world! Unfortunately, despite his incredible youthfulness, he still needs sleep! He said he hasn't been to bed this late in over 10 years (11:44PM here, 1:44AM in Aotearoa). He doesn't fully appreciate how many people he has actually reached out to, but thank you from both of us!

Comments: 486 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

stejlor262 karma

Ok as a starter: In your opinion what has changed the most (both technology and lifestyle) during your life?

Psych_Tim416 karma

"Probably computers - although I don't know how to use them (avid FaceTimer). It seems like they [computers] now do all the things that I used to do"

squareleader155 karma

Could he have ever imagined something like an iPad or iPhone existing in his lifetime, back when he was in his 20s?

Psych_Tim372 karma

"No, definitely not, I knew things were to come but not like that. That I can talk and see my friends around the world is amazing"

Sheikh_Rattle_n_Roll180 karma

In recent years Anzac Day (at least, in Aus.; I can't speak for NZ) has tended to be more nationalistic in tone. I get the impression that the day used to be about making sure the horrors of war were never forgotten, whereas now it seems to be more a recounting of heroic deeds.

Do you think that war commemoration has changed in your lifetime, and what do you think we should be principally thinking of on Anzac Day?

Psych_Tim343 karma

"Those 44 pictures I would like to show NSFW...actually I would like to get someone who likes public attention to show. Those pictures show what it was really like."

(of ANZAC day) "I don't think it's a party, I'm pleased there are more young people marching. Put it this way, there were 32 of us when we started marching, now there is only one."

marmletea97 karma


Psych_Tim189 karma

"Up to a point, we were never allowed to carry a diary or any personal written effects after you left New Caledonia -in case you were captured."

grinbearnz96 karma

Did you come across racism towards the maoris? There was famous riots in new zealand in relation to the treatment of maori soldiers by american soldiers stationed there

Psych_Tim171 karma

"We treated them like brothers. I never really saw any animosity towards them by the other riff raff."

Backfiah75 karma

Fyi, Maori shouldn't be pluralised with an s.

Psych_Tim62 karma

Thanks for that. Ignorant Aussie here!

tryndaqueer93 karma

Kia Ora friend! I'm a 15 year old who also lives in New Zealand, I live in Auckland though :P Anyways, I've always been fascinated about the war and the military, particularly New Zealand's history. So, do you think if you were 18 now, would you join the army or do something different like become an engineer or real estate agent or something ha-ha? And if you were to do something different, would that have changed from when you were 18 in 1940? Also, would you encourage young men and women to join the New Zealand military now? Cheers, Tryndaqueer

Psych_Tim122 karma

"I joined the Territorials when i was 18 years old. I used to do training at nights once a month. Then I Joined the Canterbury, and Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast Regiment long before the war. I would definitely recommend young people to join the Army -it teaches a sense of discipline."

positron_potato87 karma

How did you hear the news that WWII had finished?

Psych_Tim132 karma

"The announcement was made on the 12:00 news after I was let out of the hospital"

Dozen_79 karma

What's on your bucket list?

Psych_Tim226 karma

"I think I've done most things. I consider my life...thinking -I wouldn't change it, put it that way"

izi66676 karma

Which was the most remote country you had to travel during WWII ?

Psych_Tim241 karma

"The Treasuries -they had never seen anything like us before, they were all standing around with their bollocks out"

JuggerFucker74 karma

What's the strangest or most memorable thing you've ever posted?

How do you feel about the amount (or lack) of recognition that NZ gets about it's involvement in the world wars compared to the allies such as Britain or USA?

(Just a random fact I read on the wiki you posted, around 140,000 NZ people served in WWII, around 4,700,000 from the UK and 12,300,000 from the US. Interesting numbers I'd never thought to look up before.)

Psych_Tim110 karma

1) "Pretty young girl upside-down in a mail-bag. though she wasn't posted."

(In reference to his time as a telephone operator) "We would ring a couple of random Chinese people and cross the lines and put them on the phone together to try and talk it out"

2) "No complaints, I've been treated very well by the RSA and the War Veterans."

edit quotation marks

ozftw53 karma

Kia ora, thank you for the AMA and a big thank you for your service, from across the ditch! I have a handful of questions:

  • Did you serve with many Australian units or personnel during WWII, and if so, did you feel the ANZAC Spirit helped forge mateship in a different way to, say, American personnel?

  • Did you or any of your mates get redeployed to Italy when the 3rd Division was disbanded? Were there any internal views at the time as to whether disbanding the 3rd Division was a good or bad idea?

  • If you had a single piece of advice or insight as result of your life experience, to pass on to a young person of today, what would it be?

Psych_Tim83 karma

-"We met very few Australians. They were mostly Americans -Mostly Seabees - Mostly Dark/Black people that we got along famously with. They seemed to like us because we got along with our Māoris. They [The Seabees] were always coming around for dinner."

-"Yes certainly, quite a few, but I was on final leave before going to Trieste but I went to hospital for three weeks with appendicitis and didn't go."

(in regards to 3rd Div) "They never asked me -put it that way!"

- "Stick with them -thick or thin"

supers0nic46 karma

What's your secret to long life?

Psych_Tim278 karma

"Do what you want, eat what you want, drink what you want (he says on his 3rd Whiskey)...pauses...that and 5-7 vegetables every night.

Dad "I'd rather die young"

Ledhammer43 karma

What was the best thing about being post master?

Psych_Tim205 karma

"I got a free pencil"

AmmianusMarcellinus42 karma

Thank you for your service during WWII and of course everything you have done since. I have a couple of questions: 1. Can I ask your name? 2. What were your most memorable experiences of your service in the Pacific?

Psych_Tim99 karma

1) He said he didn't feel like giving his name, and I will respect that -he was embarrassed by the thought of being the centre of attention. 2) Dad "Drinking all your home-made grog with the Americans" Pop "We made it, but we didn't share it with the yanks" Pop "Probably watching the bodies being dragged out of a plane that had been hit in the tail. This one joker in the tail had been hit by some guns and blown to bits..paused I'll never forget that...never ever -Even I puked"

Distant_Texans_Fan37 karma

I'll read thru the AMA in a second, but I wanted to say, My Grandfather was Max Thompson. He worked at the Wakefield post office for a while as well and fought in WW2. I wonder if your paths crossed.

Psych_Tim67 karma

"There was a Gordon Thompson, but I don't remember a Max"

teemotommo31 karma

What was your favorite moment during the war?

Psych_Tim213 karma

"Coming home"

moremovesthandisco29 karma

What was your view of the Japanese during and in the first years after the war?

Have your views changed over the years and what are they now?

Also, my (aussie navy) grandfather said they kind of envied the Americans during the war because they would show up in the cities and all the girls would flock to them thanks to their flash uniforms etc. Did you have a similar experience?

Thanks for this AMA.

Psych_Tim90 karma

"How do you answer that pauses... The Japanese were doing the job they were told to do. But I didn't like their cruelty. I felt sorry for the Japanese POWS in a way. They just sat cross-legged in the cages."

"True, a lot of the girls thought that was the umpty dumpty. They got all the things we couldn't: Stockings; Combs. You couldn't get a comb in New Zealand."

Eucalypteae29 karma

What was it like being such a minor country in a world affair? Do not think i'm trying to belittle NZ in fact i lived their for about half of my life.

Thankyou for doing this AMA and your service is greatly appreciated.

Psych_Tim119 karma

"I never thought about it. We were there to do a job"

MzG28 karma

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. A lot of men from your time did not like to talk about it, and sadly so many stories from that important time in our history are no longer able to be shared by those who lived it. What were the women like when you returned to New Zealand?

Psych_Tim142 karma

"If you'd been up in the island as long as I had. How do you think the women looked like?"

Freeman009228 karma

What do you think about the modern Germany?

Psych_Tim106 karma

"No comment"

DeanoAus28 karma

Thank him for his service but also thank him for letting strangers on the internet ask him personal questions about a terrible time he went through.

In fact, if you wouldn't mind asking him what he thinks of this concept? Strangers from all around the world talking in real time, asking him questions about the war.

Psych_Tim68 karma

"Normally I do NOT discuss the war with anybody except people I was overseas with, but they are all dead so I can't." -Pop had a best-friend/veteran buddy for many decades that he shared a nightly chat and a "toot" with in his shed, however he has unfortunately passed.

shteamboatwilly19 karma

What is a "toot"?

matjunkie59 karma

His grandpa 420tootsit what do you not get m8

Psych_Tim72 karma

A "toot" referred to a whiskey -normally some homemade stuff.

robbob00926 karma

What's your favorite food, and your go -to place to get it? Thank you for your service!

Psych_Tim117 karma

"Potatoes from my garden."

flyingpig6924 karma

Hiya, fellow NZer here. + My Grandfather served in WWII as a paratrooper who dropped into Nazi occupied Greece to help the underground resistance.

Question What's your view on the RSAs we have? Do you feel they are being neglected by communities? Do you have a local one? if so how often do you visit it?

Many thanks to both of you.

Psych_Tim34 karma

"RSA are wonderful, I'm good friends with the President and visit as often as I am able (>1 per month). I know they get pulled over the coals but I think they do what they can to help everybody."

Kenobi4218 karma

Do you play rugby?

Psych_Tim51 karma

He did for many years until he was knocked unconscious for a third time.

TripleOGeg17 karma

First of all thank you, especially as a British person we owe you a great debt. My question is this: What modern technology would you most liked to of had available to you during the war?

Psych_Tim53 karma

"The use of satellites"

JimmySavillegang17 karma

compared to today's military, do you think they have it easier or harder than back then?

Psych_Tim45 karma

"Easier today...'course they do, they don't have to sleep on straw palleases (spelling?) [straw sacks]."

Awarmingtrout17 karma

What was your reaction to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What did you think of the nuclear age?

Psych_Tim50 karma

"Horrified but grateful"

latitudezero17 karma

I was told the Australian and New Zealand troops during WWI and II were some of the toughest in the world. Who were the toughest soldiers you ever encountered (friendly or otherwise)?

Psych_Tim43 karma

"toughest, I don't know, that is hard - Marines were probably the hardest"

aflyboy15 karma

I've always wondered what a Kiwi veteran thinks of the NZ Flag Debate? What is your opinion on the changing of New Zealand's Flag? Would you feel disappointed if it was changed, or are you open to having a new flag without a Union Jack?

Thanks very much for the time you take to answer, I've been having a great time reading some of these questions.

Psych_Tim41 karma

He said that he would still have the union jack in the corner with the silver fern in the middle.

MatthewOC14 karma


Psych_Tim21 karma

"Not much contact except for an Aircraft carrier that passed through"

"No, never heard of it"

piledriverofthegods14 karma

Were you stationed on Fiji during WWII? What did you and your friends do in your off time during WWII?

Psych_Tim44 karma

"No, never."

"We used to take one of the big flying boats and go fishing with a 3-second delay, other than that we played cards (usually 500) till 3:00AM most nights. When we first landed on the island, we were given two bottles of beer to wash and clean with [evidently they were afraid the water may have been poisoned]."

(When discussing homemade alcohol) "We made our own hooch out of coconuts, or out of torpedo just (although he fervently denies he was involved as there was apparently a court-martial)

CarrotOnAStick13 karma

Hi, I'm from Belgium and I'd like to thank you for your service (I feel many Europeans forget there was a war aswell in the pacific).

My question is, in the movie Windtalkers you see native americans use Navajo to talk in code so the Japanese wouldn't understand it. Do you know of anything like that with Maori radiomen?

Psych_Tim11 karma

He said that he never knew of any Māori signalmen in the 3rd Div.

zeddit12313 karma

Hello! I am from Nelson and it is really awesome to see someone so close to home here on Reddit! I just wanted to say thanks for your service. I attend every single ANZAC day and am always moved by the sacrafices made. My question is are you a Nelson College old boy?

Psych_Tim20 karma


shadowbannedkiwi13 karma

Hey mate, a personal question here. Did you know or know of many kiwi soldiers from the 2nd expeditionary force? I just want to get more perspective views on a relative of mine, Charlie Shelford.

Psych_Tim28 karma

He said he knew many, but didn't respond to the particular name sorry.

Thinking_WithPortals10 karma

Thank you for paving the way for RNZSigs. My questions are;

  • did you have any speciality such as Radio triangulation, manpack, Battalion Signaller etc?

  • On average, how many batteries did you carry/use?

  • Do you keep in contact with other veterans?

Certa Cito

Psych_Tim30 karma

-He operated a ZC1 radio specializing in radio and morse.

-"I don't know what was inside the 'blimen things"

-"I used to, but they're all dead. I don't know anyone in our outfit who is still alive"

Shezzam10 karma

As a fellow grandchild of a (93 year old) WWII veteran (cheeky little bugger that he is too), give your Pop a hug from us Aussie cousins. You rock Pop!

Psych_Tim12 karma


blydenz9 karma

My grandad is also 92 years old and escaped going to war due to an ankle injury. He stayed on in New Zealand and obviously helped out with the war effort here instead. Did you find that when you returned it was difficult to relate with those who hadn't gone to war?

Psych_Tim19 karma


Reotahikid9 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I wish I'd asked my pop more about the war while he was still alive. He was a Leading Telegraphist in the RNZN during WWII, and also ended up as a Post Master funnily enough (in Whangarei).

You hear a lot of questions about what has changed over the years, but what's one thing that has stayed the same since back when you were young?

Psych_Tim19 karma


Seen_The_Elephant6 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you assess the overall trustworthiness and good intentions of all the people you've met and interacted with in your long life?

For instance, 8/10 would indicate you feel only about 8 out of 10 people are generally trustworthy and good-intentioned.

Thank you!

Psych_Tim8 karma


Padre_of_Ruckus6 karma

I enjoy that painting on the wall in, could you take a centralized photo of it or maybe provide some background information on it? Hello grandpa! What is your most fond memory of the second world war?

2-Scoopz5 karma

what did you do as a teenager for fun?

Psych_Tim16 karma

Apparently they played a game with the slow cars of the day. They would put a paper bag attached to a string in the middle of the road and after the car stopped and the owner got out to see what it was, they would quickly pull the bag off the road so that there was nothing in front of the car.

-zMarcusHD-5 karma


Psych_Tim6 karma

He said the first thing he heard about it was through the media and through a close friend who was a POW held in Germany for several years. He said he didn't have any difficulty believing it.

kiwichris17094 karma

I want to ask a question but I have no idea what. I will just say thank you very, very much for your service to our nation and the larger effort.

And you don't call Wakefield home now do you?

Psych_Tim8 karma

Wakefield will always be my Pop's home!

Moviebuff243 karma

Respect for all of your services. I'm a huge ww2 buff it was always my favorite thing to learn about in history classes. My question is what was it like fighting in the deadliest conflict in human history?

Psych_Tim13 karma

He said he doesn't know how to answer that one.

JimPoeMicFreak3 karma

what is your favorite song? or your favorite song during the war?

Psych_Tim5 karma

A_jew12 karma

Why did you volunteer to fight in the war?

Psych_Tim6 karma

"I felt it was my duty"

lillesvin2 karma

Have you ever read Bukowski's Postal, and if so, how accurate is it for NZ?

Psych_Tim1 karma

He said not yet!

Talisin1 karma


Psych_Tim10 karma

laughing "I've got plenty of useless ones... If it's a skill, it's not useless -that's contradictory"