Troopers of the NZ Machine Gun Squadron, NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade, Palestine, 1918.
The shocking events described by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in Hit and Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the Meaning of Honour are not without precedent in the history of New Zealand’s military engagements overseas. In the tiny Palestinian village of Surafend, in the final days of 1918, New Zealand troops participated in what was indisputably a serious war crime. The parallels with the SAS “Revenge Raid” of August 2010 are striking. The Surafend Massacre was also sparked by the killing of a New Zealand soldier. It, too, was a murderous “fiasco”, the details of which were kept from the New Zealand public for many years. This, as best as I can determine, is what happened.