Maseko was working as a delivery driver when he volunteered for service in the South African Native Military Corps during WWII (NMC). Later he was sent to the 2nd South African Infantry Division after finishing basic training in North Africa.Due to South African race regulations at the time, they were unable to carry firearms. They were only allowed traditional weapons such as spears for guard and ceremonial duty.Maseko served as a stretcher carrier for the allied forces in North Africa, providing medical assistance to the wounded. When his commander surrendered to the Germans at Tobruk in June 1942, he became a prisoner of war. He was forced to work on the ports at Tobruk.
Being a former miner, he made an astonishing bomb on July 21 using condensed milk tin, cordite & a long fuse. He loaded the little tin with gunpowder and placed it in the hold of a German ship near some petrol drums.He planted his bomb deep in the hold on June 21, 1942, just before they were set to leave the already overloaded ship. He lighted the fuse and dashed to the dock. An enormous explosion erupted sinking the ship instantly.He eventually escaped from the prisoner of war camp and rise to the rank of lance corporal. He was supposed to get the Victoria Cross,the highest and most prestigious millitary award but instead received a mere Military Medal.