One of New Zealand’s oldest World War 2 veterans died in Whangarei on Tuesday aged 104.

Douglas Morrison, promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1944 and mentioned in dispatches, had earlier distinguished himself commanding a company of troops among the rearguard protecting the evacuation of forces from Greece in 1941.

Reporting his death, the Northern Advocate said the old soldier, widely known as Colonel Doug, was playing snooker with younger ex-servicemen just 10 days ago.

He beat the 80-year-olds and told them, “the trouble with you guys is that you are getting old”.

The newspaper said Morrison gave decades of service to the RSA, farming and sporting groups, and the community.

He commanded 29 Anzac Day parades, including one overlooking Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, and was foundation president of the Northland Officers Club.

He was born in Gisborne, but his family moved to Maungatapere, just outside Whangarei in 1908.

As a young man he became a farmer and built up a pedigree herd.

He served in Greece, Egypt and Italy during the war but a spinal injury ended his active service — and his farming career.

After his return to New Zealand he became a rural valuer.