Mauser sporting rifle

This Mauser sporting rifle was presented to Yugoslav Army Reserve Major Frenku Rabel in 1955 by Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, in recognition of his actions as a partisan during the Second World War.

Major Rabel was a New Zealander, Corporal John Denvir. Denvir enlisted with the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) and departed with the 1st Echelon in January 1940. He was captured in Greece on 26 April 1941 and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Yugoslavia. He escaped in September, only to be recaptured. In December he escaped again and joined the Yugoslav partisans – as Frenku Rabel. He was wounded four times and rose to command the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Slovenian National Freedom Shock (Ljubo Sercer) Brigade.

In 1944 Denvir rejoined the New Zealand Division in Italy and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. For his service in Yugoslavia he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and the Soviet Medal for Valour – the only member of 2NZEF to receive this honour during the war.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Mauser sporting rifle

What do you know?

Megan Peterson

Posted: 14 Jul 2011

To Hayden Smith I am Grand daughter of John Denvir and have a lot of research I can share with you. Please contact me on peterson.family@inspire.net.nz

G Phipps

Posted: 25 May 2010

Hi Hayden - the caption above, including the reference to Frenku Rabel, was written using provenance information supplied by the National Army Museum in Waiouru. I suggest you try contacting the museum's curator, Windsor Jones for further information. Regards, Gareth Phipps

Hayden Smythe

Posted: 22 May 2010

This is a question rather than a comment. I was wondering where you found the information that John Denvir was also called Reserve Major Frenku Rabel. I am currently writing an honors dissertation on allied servicemen in Yugoslavia during WWII and cannot find any other references to Reserve Major Frenku Rabel. Regards Hayden Smythe