Poppies 

Roy received a wonderful gift for his birthday from Alexandra and Ian.  It was a bit of a family affair organising the gift, with me asking Alex to purchase the gift, Alex purchasing it and then sending it to NZ being addressed to Antony for his safe keeping until required.  The gift was a very meaningful and poignant poppy, but not just any poppy but one of the ceramic hand made unique pieces of art.  It is one of the 888,246 poppies from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red which marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.  Each poppy represents a British or Colonial Military fatality during the War. 

You can read more about the moving installation  here

  The box

   The enclosed certificate and booklet


  The poppy

  instructions

Completed poppy.

Roy’s father, who was also called Roy,  attempted to enlist to join the war effort before he was eligible as many many young men did. However he did enlist when he turned 18 in 1915 and embarked from Wellington 11 October 1916. His brother Luigi had embarked 16 October 1914 and was one of the many young men sent to Gallipolli, where he survived that encounter to then be sent on to France to continue fighting the war effort.  Roy senior was injured at Paschendaale on October 4th 1917, and was fortunate to be invalided out of service, first to England to recuperate then returned to New Zealand.  Both Roy and Luigi survived the war, Luigi died in 1960 aged 66 and Roy died in 1980 aged 83.

Like most of his contemporaries, Roy Snr never spoke of his time during the war, and we have no photographic evidence of his participation.  Although we do have his war medals which we have had suitably framed, these are safely packed away in storage.  However, on a recent clean out of one of the many boxes of “handy stuff”  we have with us, we rediscovered his regimental collar badge. 

 It has written on it underneath the Heron ‘The Canterbury Regt – Ake Ake Kia Kaha’ the latter of which is Maori and translates as Forever and Ever Be Strong. 

We visited the site near where Roy senior was injured and the Museum at both Ypres and Zonnebeke when we visited Belgium  in September 2010

Regular readers will remember that I knitted a number of poppies as my part of the Call to Yarn commemoration Link here  and I have also knitted a poppy each for Roy and I (pictured below) as well as other ones for friends and family.   

 We wear them this week in remembrance. 

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