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POW, NZ soldier Glyn Coulthard Bynon Powell

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Our Uncle Glynn as far as we know was shot and wounded somewhere around Palestine in 1941, captured and sent to the POW camp at Lamsdorf until the war ended in 1945.

I'm the eldest son of Clifford and Merle Bynon Powell, born in 1946. My younger brothers are Chris and Richard. Our Grandfather Percival Pugh Bynon Powell seems to have used the maiden name of his mother Anna Beynon (Bynon), Percival moved with his family from Wales to New Zealand, he worked as a timber agent.

Percival's brother Will (William James Powell) back in Wales was very close to all the family. As you will see on the Novelty Postcard sent from Aberystwyth in 1913 by Uncle Will in 1913 the address to Glyn Powell was "Green Meadows", Taupiri, 12 miles north of Hamilton, where they first settled in New Zealand, and this was the villa our Dad (Clifford) was born, the house has been fully restored to original condition when Percival Pugh lived in it with his wife Edith. Glyn is sometimes written Glynn in the Welsh way.

His name was Glyn Coulthard Bynon Powell, although on the nominal roll, his name Bynon is spelled incorrectly as "Byron". Glyn's service number was 29609. He was a Clerk in Hamilton, Waikato when he enlisted. On embarkation, he was a Private in Infantry Reinforcements of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was captured with the 24th Battalion on 13 December 1941 and became a Prisoner of War in Salonike, Greece. He was at Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf, Germany and was in the imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list: section 4. N.Z. 1945. He was also a POW at P.G. 57, Gruppignano, Udine, Italy.

Uncle Glynn grew up to work in the Merchant Navy. My wife Storm and I have found a Certificate Of Discharge dated 20 / 9 / 1929 and it looks like it might be a good part of the puzzle regarding his early years in a job he had as a Merchant Seamen into the late 1920s and early 1930s, with the connection to the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, Aitutuki, Tahiti and the Pitcairn Island where the ship "WAIPAHI" had sailed to as a banana boat. The family story is that at one of those ports he met Errol Flynn when he was filming "IN THE WAKE OF THE BOUNTY " in 1932, so it's the right time period. The WAIPAHI was owned by the Union Steam ship co. New Zealand till 1936. Uncle Glynn met Alice Agnus Walker his future bride who was working at the Union Steam ship co. They married in 1950 - 1952. I remember going with Dad (Clifford), Mum (Merle) and brother Chris to meet Auntie Alice at the Union Steamship Co in downtown Auckland where she worked in the office. So that's how Uncle Glynn could meet her before the War. I was about five in 1951 and we were in the Oldsmobile and staying at the Ellerslie Fire Station. The WAIPAHI is photographed on

As well I have also attached a picture of Uncle Glyn's service Medals, the "Africa Star", the "Allied Defence Force Star", the "New Zealand Services Medal" and the "War Medal 1939-1945".

Attached are a couple of photos of Uncle Glynn with four of his mates around him Murray, Graham, Harold and Ken entering the PAPAKURA MILITARY CAMP 3/10/1940.

As you know Uncle Glynn like a lot of returned POWs would not talk about their experiences during their time as prisoners or the war. On their return home they went via Aitutaki an Island in the Cooks (The Friendly Islands) group for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation, not sure for how long, but one of his tales to me was that "the girls were beautiful" unusual for him to come up with something like that. It's probably why he took a shine to my wife.

In one of the stories my Dad (Clifford) used to tell us, was that his Mum Edith made him in 1941 a Christmas cake and packed it into tobacco tins and sent it to the prison camp, as far as we know he never got any of them, Edith died in 1942 probably of a broken heart. Another part of this story was Dad told us most times at our Christmas dinners, "We don't know how lucky we are having this food, because your Uncle Glynn when he was a prisoner of war got half-cooked Horse meat for Christmas dinner". Just one of the POWs' atrocities.

When Uncle Glynn returned to New Zealand, he and Auntie Gwyneth (always called"Gim" by us) opened up a delicatessen called "THE TUCK INN" in Hamilton East, about 1950. His expertise at cooking Christmas Hams by the hundreds was nothing short of him being a genius, the taste of his hams is something that you don't get today. He would bring in a secret recipe and cook 20 or so hams at a time in the old wood-fired copper, of which he had four off, plus one at our place, I can still remember the smell in our house of hams cooking overnight. Some of the other tasty morsels were the thousands of club sandwiches, of which in the school holidays Chris and I (Wayne) had to butter the 40 to 50 loaves of bread a day to make the sandwiches, our pay was free lunch every Monday for 52 weeks of the year. He specialised in many types of cheese, Blue, Tasty, Gouda, Edam you name it he had it. They were Big round blocks and stored in a BIG cooler. HEINZ variety products were another speciality at the TUCK INN, UNOX Pork N Beans, IMPERIAL luncheon beef, LACTA Full Cream condensed milk, plus many many rare and tasty brands not seen today. It was a very popular shop in the 50s early 60s, then came the SUPERMARKETS that put them out of business. When he married Alice, she became a partner in the Tuck Inn business until it closed in the early 60s, he then became a Hospital Orderly until he retired mid-1970s.

One of the things that was given to Glynn on his arrival back from overseas duty was his parents' house 38 Wellington Street home. The house nameplate is RADNOR (see picture). Radnorshire is the county in Wales that the family came from. There he, Auntie Alice and Auntie Gim took care of Percival Pugh Bynon-Powell until he passed in 1950 and Glynn was also given his parents' car that they had owned since 1935, given to them by their oldest son William Harry Bynon-Powell (1934 OLDSMOBILE TOWN SEDAN) in 1965 Uncle Glynn passed the car on to me (Wayne), I have partly restored it and still have it to this day. Been in the Powell family 89 years.

One other thing that comes to mind is that my Mum Merle Powell (nee Edmonds) when I was born named me "Michael Wayne Bynon Powell" however Uncle Glynn had a different idea, and he started calling me MICK, much to my mother's disgust, she had to take my Birth certificate back and have my name changed to Wayne Michael Bynon Powell. Glynn never called me MICK again.

About 1955 for £500 Glynn and his wife Alice purchased a half-acre property on Waiheke Island at Cory Road, Little Palm Beach with 360-degree panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf, it had a two-bedroom half-finished bach on it. My brothers and I spent many a holiday there with them in paradise. As he got older Glyn lost interest in the Waiheke property, 38 Wellington Street was sold, he and Auntie Alice bought their own house in Forest Lake Road where they both passed, Auntie Alice first, then Glynn passed away in 1985 at the age of 74.


Item list and details

The 'RADNOR' name came off 38 Wellington Street house before it was demolished, now on our place at 38 Dalton Crescent; Glynn marching into Papakura miltary camp at the rear of the group; Uncle Glynn in uniform on the right; Uncle Glyn's service Medals; Discharge certificate from Merchant Navy 1929; Novelty Card at the beach sent from Aberystwyth in 1913;

Person the story/items relate to

Glyn Coulthard Bynon Powell

Person who shared the story/items

Wayne Michael Bynon-Powell

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was my uncle

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID