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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.


National Army Museum Te Mata Toa
Accession Number: 2003.347
Permission of the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Mauser sporting rifle, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated