Archive for the ‘World war’ Category

Passchendaele Pin

July 22, 2017

This year is the centenary commemorations for the Battle of Passchendaele where Roy's Dad (also Roy) was wounded in action on the 4th October 1917. This is one of the reasons we are off to the UK & Europe in a couple of months time. And if any of you are trying to do the maths and match up dates, yes, Roy senior was born in 1897 and yes he was an older father when he had Roy and Karel…..something that seems to run in the family!!! Back to the centenary.

Roy senior was wounded at the Battle of Broodseinde.

"The battle was fought on 4 October 1917 near Ypres in Flanders. The battle was the most successful Allied attack of the Battle of Passchendaele. Using "bite-and-hold" tactics, with objectives limited to what could be held against German counter-attacks, the British devastated the German defence, which prompted a crisis among the German commanders and caused a severe loss of morale in the German 4th Army. Preparations were made by the Germans for local withdrawals and planning began for a greater withdrawal, which would entail the loss for the Germans of the Belgian coast, one of the strategic aims of the British offensive. There were 20,000 casualties and losses which consisted of 1853 New Zealanders, 5000 men were also taken prisoner on 4 October." Wikipedia. More detail can be accessed here.

On her recent trip home, Alexandra brought a gift with her for Roy, it came in this box

Inside is an explanatory note

Along with the following

Inside the box is a commemorative pin

Each pin commemorates a life lost during the Battle, in this case that of a Private JC Robinson. The pins are made from the brass shell fuses recovered from the fields of Ypres Passchendaele by local farmers. These centenary edition pins are specifically a mix of British impact and shrapnel shell fuses. Both the red and green enamel contain finely ground earth recovered from several key locations in the area, representing the essence of the battleground and the very ground the soldiers of 1917 fought and died upon.


The pin will be proudly worn by Roy on the 4th October 2017 at Broodseinde on our upcoming visit.

Belated 2

March 28, 2016

 

Once again a catch up of photos and comments.

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This photo is for you James, you should have approached Tui for sponsorship on recovering the billiard table at the Lodge!!

Before  leaving Lake Wairarapa Bernice and I took a train ride in to Wellington where we met up with Bernice’s niece Natalie & family.  Before doing so we went to the National War Memorial to see the extension to the exhibit we had previously seen.

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The exhibition has been extended with the addition of a Gallipoli section.  This primarily consists of a time line from the landing through to the evacuation presented through a series of colourised original photographs.  These include New Zealand and Australian photographs in the main.  Each is presented within the context of the time and place of the action associated with the photograph.  There is also a roughly four metre square diorama of the action at Chunuk Bair.

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The detailed work of colourisation has made those old black and white photos really come to life and add a depth to the experience which is significantly greater that that achieved through the original black and white photographs.

Meanwhile we moved from Lake Wairarapa to Ngawi.  So where is Ngawi?  It is about 5km from Cape Palliser which is the southern most point of the North Island. 

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Parked up at a POP just a kilometre out of Ngawi.  Friends of Steve and Pat own the property.  Lovely spot close to the sea.

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One of a pair of Highland cattle who are our neighbours.

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Due west (where the sun is setting) is Seddon, on the South Island.  We have caught sight of the South Island from time to time.

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This shot shows the reflected light, form the sunset above, on the dry hills immediately behind where we are camped

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A cloud formation above the Aorangi Forest Park shaped like a feather.

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The toilets which are positioned on the sea side of the road around this area are all well tied to the ground to avoid disappearing in the high winds. And yes, we have experienced a little of the strong winds.

We took a short trip from here to Cape Palliser.  This is the southern most point of the North Island.

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Looking from the carpark up the steps to the Lighthouse.

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Bernice part way up the stairs, taking in the view.

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There is the top.  Not quite there but close.

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And here is a shot of the original lighthouse keeper’s house at the bottom.

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Steve and Pat waiting in the carpark for the mountaineers to return.

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I think this sign may have been relocated from somewhere a little further south!!

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A very happy little bach, or crib for those of you in the south.

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This boat is being launched in Ngawi.  Note the very long drawbar between the cradle and the bulldozer.  Also the angled  connection is actually a ramp leading from the back of the bulldozer to the side of the cradle and the crewman driving the bulldozer can use this to go on board the boat.

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Oops!!  Genuine seaside residence, with only a sight problem with the foundations.  Unobstructed sea views with direct access to the sea.

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This is the view from the ridge track to the lookout at the Putangirua Pinnacles, a formation very similar to the clay cliffs outside Omarama.

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Some photos missed in passing

November 15, 2015

The following photos were taken during our visit to Wellington to view the ANZAC Exhibitions.  I have previously written about the exhibit at the National War Memorial but not the Te Papa exhibit. 

But first a picture from the National War Memorial, this first photo created quite an impression as it was taken on the exact day when my father was wounded and in Passchendaele although it is in the Australian sector rather than Abraham Heights where my father was hit by shrapnel in the face and right knee and subsequently invalided back to Hornchurch in England.

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Back to Te Papa.  I have had great difficulty in coming to grips with this exhibition so here are some photos with minimal text.

The following are photos of the models which are 1.8 times life scale.  Each shows a specific individual and is surrounded with displays of letters,  photographs and belongings of the person.  There are detailed biographical notes and also recordings of either the individual or of others who took part in the same action.  All fought at Anzac Cove or in the case of the nurse, supported those who were fighting.

Each of the persons are presented in a tableau representing specific actions on their part,  giving context to their role and action.

The detail in the tableaus is absolutely amazing

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Very expressive of the motions involved

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And that detail includes the conditions in which these persons found themselves

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The last of the tableaus gives a very good sense of  the thousand yard stare and has obviously created a very strong response by attendees as it has become decorated with poppies.

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On a much lighter note at Te Papa, this example of art from tins/cans.  The corned beef cans used were representative of those which were sold throughout the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and a wide range of markets across the world.

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Nearer to our present location the following photo is of a stained glass window in the Whatawhiwhi Church not far from Maitai Bay DoC Camp.  It was first mentioned to us by Stuart Park, a cousin who lives in Kerikeri, who was head of Historic Places in the North and had done research into a large number of churches.  His interest in New Zealand glass art is also represented here as he knew the artist and her work.  We accompanied Stuart and were very very impressed by the window.  It is a very impressive representation of the end of the Karikari Peninsular.  The twin bays at the left are Maitai Bay where the DoC camp is situated and the bottom bay is Waikato Bay.  

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The text at the base of the window translates from the Lord’s Prayer   Thy Will be Done.  The church itself is interesting as it is old but when one approaches it, it turns out that it has a concrete block exterior.  On talking to a very friendly local, it turns out that the concrete blocks are a shell erected around the original wooden exterior in order to preserve the original extrerior.  The interior is original and contains many photos of former clerics, prominent Maori and local people.  A very illuminating historic record.

Meanwhile back on the beach the picture below shows a strange creature? body? piece of flotsam washed ashore.  It consists of connected sacs some of which have filled with sand as they have washed ashore.  Identification would be appreciated, the closest we have come is squid egg sacs?

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And here is an unusual Pukeko showing signs of a malignant growth on the side of its neck.  It appears to represent no hindrance to its growth or abilities.

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Nor on its ability to appreciate an apple a day!

The Great War Exhibition

May 18, 2015

 

When we went to Wellington two weeks ago a major objective to see both of the World War 1  exhibitions.

The Great War Exhibition

Rich in personal stories and highly evocative of the times, The Great War Exhibition highlights the activities, challenges and sacrifice that was made by New Zealanders on the First World War battlefields and also at home in wartime New Zealand. The exhibition was developed by Sir Peter Jackson and his team at Wingnut Films assisted by Sir Richard Taylor and Weta.   It  offers a unique opportunity for visitors to see and feel a special part of New Zealand history.

Gallipoli: The scale of our war

Experience the triumphs and tragedies of Gallipoli through the eyes and words of the ordinary New Zealanders who were there. The worlds of movies, model making, and museums combine to take you on an immersive journey through the battlefields.  Developed by Te Papa working closely with Weta Workshop, Gallipoli: The scale of our War promises to be a highly emotional experience and a fitting tribute to those that served and those that lost their lives.

Both proved to be immensely interesting, emotional, and thought provoking.  I have written on both in separate blog entries as they are different in the way they have approached their subject. 

So here is a view of The Great War Exhibition, from our perspective. 

The exposition is a mixture of tableaux with a main character followed through from his enlistment to his discharge. 

Here is the young man enlisting at the beginning of the war.

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At each stage there are a combination of illustrative panels, artefacts, visual, audio and written memoir and explanations as well as some olfactory displays.  Some are by the participants themselves, others from commentators, papers and collectors.

Bellow is a typical mixed grouping showing a team of horses towing a gun into position with a plane mounted above and a roadway below with a double decker bus transporting troops to the front.

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The displays are in chronological order with each year entered by an  archway with an inscription pertaining to the period. These archways are very reminiscent of entrances to the cemeteries in France and Belgium.

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There are a number of interactive scenarios where one can see what the soldier of the day was seeing or doing.

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Throughout there are definition boards showing words or expressions used during the war with the definition of the word.

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The two pictures  below show the same location before and after the battle that took place in the location.  This goes some way to illustrating the utter destruction wrought on the country over which the major battles were fought.

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There are also dioramas illustrating specific terrain.   This one shows a model of the Western Front trench lines including in the second picture, taken on the side of the model, showing the underground warfare being waged.

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A typical model (life size) seen throughout the exhibit.

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There are a number of colourised black and white photographs at various points throughout the exhibit.  The one immediately below is a photo which iconic and is often used to illustrate the conditions during the winter months on the Front.  These photos take on a much more immediate impact for having been coloured.

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The one below is of particular interest as it is taken on the day my father Roy was wounded.  He was with the New Zealand forces attempting to take Abraham Heights, adjacent to Broodeseinde where the photo was taken.  He received shrapnel wounds to his right knee and face on the 4th of October 1917.  He was invalided back to Hornchurch, England and subsequently was invalided out and left for New Zealand in December 1917.

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The final time we see the young man, whom we saw enlisting,  is him lying wounded.

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But at the end of the exhibit here he is in his garden with his grandson, one of the fortunate who survived what must have been a shocking experience for the young men who went to the farthest point from home to such an horrific experience.

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And then there are those with no known resting place, or no identity, who are commemorated, when they are found, by this simple cross, or by their name engraved on the long lists on memorials,  so often seen in France, Belgium, Gallipoli and all the other foreign soil in which they lie. We visited a number of the graves sites whilst we were in France and Belgium,you can read about one of those visits here

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All in all a very moving exhibition which we can highly recommend a visit.  The exhibition is evolving with another section due to open in August this year.  This will be The Trench Experience where the challenging environment men lived and fought in for many months will be experienced through sights sounds and scents.   

Wellington

May 6, 2015

We’ve  just had a couple of days in Wellington, we flew down on Saturday night and were back in Auckland  by Monday evening so it was definitely a quick trip.  The sun was setting on the large cloud bank as we flew down on Saturday evening making for a very pleasant view. 

  

We went to Wellington to see the two World War One Exbititions; the Weta Workshop Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa and the Peter Jackson Great War exhibition at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. They were both amazingly breathtaking and are worthy of their own separate posts, which we shall report on shortly.

Whilst in Wellington we took the opportunity to meet up with my niece Natalie and her husband Richard and their two delightful wee girls Renee (nearly 7) and Michelle (nearly 2).  Natalie met us on Saturday night for a late dinner in town at Wagamama on the waterfront.    

 Roy and Natalie

Sunday morning we walked down to the waterfront for a quick breakfast.  Wellington turned on a stunning day for us and it was very pleasant sitting out in the morning sun watching the world go by.

 

We met up with Natalie and family at the War Memorial for a guided tour through the exhibition before heading  off to Scorching Bay for a late lunch.     

 Someone has been busy decorating the outside of the restaurant 

  
It was then back into town to Te Papa to see the Gallipoli exhibition, but the queues were still very long with a minimum 45 minute wait before we could get in, so instead we headed off to view the Air New Zealand 75th anniversary exhibition.  This brought back lots of memories of trips taken when flying was a novelty and a luxury.  Do you remember getting dressed up to take your flight? And being offered a menu? When seats were large and comfortable with room to move?  We certainly enjoyed the exhibition and viewing all the displays.   

 Who could forget Waihirere  wines?  – the Sauterne was Mum & Dad’s tipple of choice!

Soon it was time for Natalie to get the girls home for their evening meal, bath and bed.  We bade farewell to them, and look forward to seeing them all again soon.    Meanwhile Roy and I headed off to see the Gallipoli exhibition,  on our flight down we sat with one of the museum curators and she gave us a bit of helpful advice – that the best time to see the exhibition was after 4pm as the crowds tend to dissipate by then.  We walked straight in and had a good couple of hours exploring this amazing display before heading off for a bite to eat.

We headed for a well known Wellington institution for our early dinner – The Green Parrot.  The food is totally unpretentious and so old fashioned that it is probably back in fashion again.  I mean, where else do you get a plate of thin sliced white bread with butter delivered to your table on your arrival?!     

 This restaurant has been around since 1926, and is a hit with politicians and movie stars with the walls covered with pictures of famous guests.   The back wall has a large painting/mural of an internal scene of the restaurant with a variety of famous faces from past and present included.  The meals are renown for being large and generous, as we had had a good lunch we both chose an entree sized portion for our evening meal and even then we struggled to finish our meal. 

Monday morning and after breakfast in town we went for a quick ride on the cable car   

  Wellingtons cable car  (which is actually a funicular) – you can google the differences.

View from the top

 Then it was back to Te Papa for a second viewing of the exhibition.  Although we got to the museum at opening time, the queues we even longer than Sunday so instead we headed to the top floor and worked our way down all the floors looking at the different exhibitions.  At Iunch time we had arranged to meet up with Natalie again, and also Roy’s cousin Dr Antonia Davin as it had been a couple of years since we had seen her.  We all had a lovely lunch at St. John’s, a short walk from Te Papa and managed to catch up with all their latest news.  Antonia has led a very interesting and varied life, her father (brother of Dan Davin the author) was in the Diplomatic Services, Antonia’s early life and education was very international having attended schools throughout NZ, as well as in London, Paris, New York, Rome and Canberra, she then went on to complete her degrees in France and Belgium.  Her working life was just as interesting and varied and it is always fun listening to her tales.   After an entertaining long lunch, it was farewell to Natalie and to Antonia, till next time. 

 Roy and Antonia 

Roy and I went back to Te Papa and as luck would have it, the queue for the War exhibition had again dispersed so we took advantage of the lack of crowds and went back through the displays, this time picking up much more information and detail.

Soon it was time for us to head off to the airport for the flight back to Auckland and to our van parked at the NZMCA park at Ardmore Airport.  We will stay there for a couple more days to catch up with Antony as well as restock the larder and get a few chores done before we go to Waharau on the Firth of Thames for a week or two.