Author(s): D. J. Riddiford; Yvonne Riddiford
"Escaping is the most exciting activity" wrote Daniel Riddiford, describing two years of his life from November 1941 when he was captured in North Africa at Sidi Rezegh, to Christmas 1943, when he finally rejoined the Allied Forces in Italy. In the interval he had been in six prison camps across three countries, changed his identity twice and made two attempted excapes. His third attempt, disguised as a Frenchman, from the Austrian camp of Spittal was successful. His subsequent adventures in the mountains of Northern Italy and at the hands of the Partisans in Yugoslavia make fascinating reading. For his part in helping to lead a large group of escaped POW's through Yugoslavia to freedom, he was awarded the Military Cross. In the remaining 17 months of the war, he rejoined the 6th Field Regiment in Italy and was wounded. He was seconded as Intelligence Officer to the Special Boat Service (a branch of the SAS), completed his parachute training and was involved in operations with the Partisans in Istria until hostilities ended. Back in New Zealand as a Territorial, he commanded 52 Battery, 5th Light R.N.Z.A. and was for many years a director of the Dominion newspaper. He practised law, farmed in the Wairarapa, married and had six children. In 1960 he became the National Party member for Wellington Central, and from 1969 served as Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of Labour and Immigration and as Attorney General. He died in 1974 aged 60.