MAJOR-GENERAL Sir William George Gentry, KBE,CB, DSO, was born in England in l899 and educated at Lyall Bay (Wellington) School,
Wellington College and the Royal Military College of Australia at Duntroon, from which he graduated in I919. From I920 to I922
when he was attached to the Indian Sappers and Miners, he saw active service in Waziristan and Malabar. On his return to New Zealand
he held various appointments in the Central Military District until l934 when he went to the United Kingdom for a series of courses
at British military engineering establishments.
General Gentry was at the Staff College, Camberley, when hostilities opened in 1939. For two months he served on the General Staff
at the War Office before going to France on attachment to the staff of the British 3rd Division, then commanded by Major General B.L. Montgomery.
He was one of the first New Zealand Officers to reach the Middle East in January 1940, and served successively as General Staff Officer,
Second Grade, Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General (in Greece) and General Staff Officer, First Grade (in Crete, Libya and on
to the Alamein Line).
In September, 1942, General Gentry was appointed to the command of the 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigade and he led this formation
right through to Tunisia and the final battles of the North African campaign.
In I943, he returned to New Zealand to be come Deputy Chief of the General Staff. He rejoined the 2nd New Zealand Division at the end of
1944 as commander of the newly formed 9th NZ Infantry Brigade. He trained the Brigade at Fabriano before taking it into the last
Italian campaign. The 9th Brigade was the first New Zealand formation to enter Trieste.
After the war, the General represented New Zealand on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Organisation in Melbourne and later served a second
term as Deputy Chief of the General Staff. In 1948 he attended a course at the Imperial Defence College, London, and on his return
in 1949 was appointed Adjutant General. He assumed the appointments of Chief of the General Staff and General Officer Commanding the
New Zealand Division on April I, I952.
During his term as Chief of the General Staff, General Gentry attended many important military conferences in London, Pearl Harbour,
Washington, Melbourne, Canberra and Bangkok. In February, I955, he accompanied the Prime Minister (Mr. Holland) at the conference
of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London.
On 14 August, 1955, he relinquished the appointments of Chief of the General Staff and General Officer Commanding the New Zealand
Division and on I9 March, 1956, he was posted to the Retired List.
Major-General Sir William Gentry was awarded the OBE in I941 for his service in Crete; the DSO in May, 1945, the CBE in 1950, the
CB in the Birthday honours of 1954, and was made a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the
Birthday Honours of 1958. In addition, he holds the Greek Military Cross and the American Bronze Star.
We should all be proud to be associated with a Class named after a Gentleman with such a distinguished career. I am!