19 Oct 2012

Veterans arrive in El Alamein

3:14 pm on 19 October 2012

New Zealand veterans of the North African Campaign during World War II have arrived in Egypt for commemorations marking the 70th anniversary the Battle of El Alamein.

Twenty-two veterans, aged between 88 and 96, and a party of Defence personnel headed by Chief of Army Major General Tim Keating, travelled to El Alamein on a RNZAF Boeing 757.

At Dubai, 18 Australian veterans joined the flight for the last leg of the journey, as did New Zealand's Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Dr Coleman says the return of the veterans to North Africa will ensure New Zealanders remember the sacrifices soldiers made.

On Friday, the veterans will visit the El Alamein War Museum, and the El Alamein Railway Station, which, during the Desert War, was the only significant building in what is now a resort town.

They will later attend the New Zealand National Commemoration Service at the El Alamein Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where just over 1100 New Zealanders are buried.

An international service will he held on Saturday.

Photos from El Alamein during World War II