Feature - ANZAC - April 2019

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Pre-War Europe 2

1907 The Triple Entente is agreed between Great Britain, France and Russia as German militarism becomes a concern

1912 Formation of the Balkan League, a military alliance against the Ottoman Empire

1908 Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina causing tension with Serbia

Ashburton Guardian

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Ashburton District Anzac Day services Ashburton Dawn service – 6.30am Cenotaph, Baring Square West, Ashburton Hakatere service – 7.30am Hakatere Marae, State Highway 1, Ashburton Cemetery service – 9am Services Plot, 48 Bremners Road, Ashburton

Methven Rakaia March (for ex service and relatives) – 10am Rakaia Service – 10.15am Rakaia Community Centre, Mackie Street, Rakaia

Civic service and wreath laying – 11am Cenotaph, Baring Square West, Ashburton

Mayfield and Districts Parade – 9.45am Mayfield Panther Rock Cafe carpark, Mayfield

Hinds Service – 10am Hinds Hall, 20 Rogers Street, Hinds

Service – 10am Mayfield Memorial Hall, State Highway 72, Mayfield

Methven March – 9.30am Memorial Arch, McDonald Street, Methven

Morning tea – noon Mayfield Memorial Hall, State Highway 72, Mayfield

Service – 10am Mt Hutt Memorial Hall, 160 Main Street,

Golf match – 12.30pm Mayfield Golf Club, Mayfield


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Jul 28 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia Jun 28 Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo

Aug 3 Germany declares war on France Aug 4 Germany invades Belgium and Britain declares war on Germany

Aug 1 Germany declares war on Russia

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


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100 years on, we still remember This year marks 100 since the world celebrated the first anniversary of peace after the battlefields fell silent in World War One.

Donna Favel


The Great War, a devastating campaign that ended in 1918 after four years of bloodshed, has a particularly poignant meaning for us in New Zealand, as it was this war that brought forth the Anzac legend, a symbol of comradery, friendship and bravery that we remember to this day. A century after those first commemorations of peace were held, Anzac Day remains a powerful and revered day of mourning, contemplation and respect for those who have served, fought, fallen and returned from various wars and conflicts that our country has been involved in. I always experience a sense of appreciation and pride each year when I see our community remain faithful to Anzac Day commemorations. Each year, crowds gather at our district’s numerous services as the bugle sounds The Last Post, and it is in these moments that I am reminded of our compassion,

Above – Soldiers rest, March 1918. togetherness and collective respect for those who fought for the freedom we each enjoy every day. The memory of Anzac and of peace also lives on in what are referred to as ‘peace oaks’ that were planted around our district from 1919. Peace oaks were planted all around the district, including in the Ashburton Domain, around Methven, and by numerous schools. This was how our community

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Jon McAuliffe


attempted to express its gratitude for the peace that had been granted around the world. Many of these trees remain standing today, and I think they act as a great symbol of how we too have kept the spirit of Anzac alive in our hearts and minds, even after the passing of so many years. Like many, I find it difficult to fully comprehend the depth of devastation those brave men and women must have gone through in the Great War.

The uncertainty, violence, shock and grief must have been unbearable. Anzac Day is an opportunity for us to keep their spirit alive and reaffirm our values of peace, and I hope to see many people at our services doing just that. It is heartening to see in recent years the increased attendance at these services. Like those peace oaks, we will not let the passing of time erode our sense of loss and respect. We will be as strong as ever.


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Sep 5 First Battle of Marne begins

Aug 23 Japan declares war on Germany


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Oct 19 First Battle of Ypres begins which essentially ends the war of movement on the Western Front

Aug 29 New Zealand captures German Samoa

Aug 19 President Woodrow Wilson announces that the United States will remain neutral

Oct 29 The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) enters the war on Germany’s side

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


A time to remember Andrew Falloon RANGITATA MP

It’s difficult for us today to comprehend an event like the Great War. All told, more than ten per cent of our population, or over 100,000 New Zealanders, would leave our shores to serve. They went not knowing the horrors they would see, the hardships they would endure. At the time we had little national identity. We were a far flung outpost of mother Britain, and when the war began we in New Zealand, and we in Mid Canterbury, answered her call. My great grandfather Thomas McGregor was one of them. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Tom to leave a town like Ashburton, to travel half way around the world to flight in a conflict in places he’d never heard of. Today international travel is as easy as jumping online and buying a ticket. You can be pretty much anywhere in 24 hours.

Right – Mr and Mrs McGregor.

Most of us have been overseas, but for New Zealanders in 1914 those distances must have been incomprehensible. Tom fought bravely alongside thousands of other Kiwis at Gallipoli and the Battle of the Somme. Unlike so many others he returned home, but would forever carry a bullet in his upper chest. Nearly 17,000 of our fellow New Zealanders would not be so lucky, making the ultimate sacrifice in places whose names are now etched into our nation’s history. Passchendaele. Gallipoli. Le Quesnoy. The effects stayed with us for generations, not just for those brave men and women who served, but for those who remained, keeping the home fires burning. At the time the Great War was called the war to end all wars. Of course it wasn’t. Just two decades later the world was again in wretched turmoil. Once again New Zealanders bravely responded, but again the price paid was one of tragedy. This Anzac Day we remember their service. Those who have selflessly served us abroad, putting their lives at risk to protect the democratic freedoms we cherish. Lest we forget.


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Apr 22 Start of the Second Battle of Ypres Jan 19 The first Zeppelin airship raid on Britain takes place

May 7 The liner RMS Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat Apr 25 Allied troops land in Gallipoli

May 23 Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Ashburton Guardian


Take some time, to reflect Every April, across the country, we reflect and remember the sacrifices made by New Zealanders in overseas conflicts and peacekeeping missions. That is what Anzac Day is about for me, it is about sacrifice. The sacrifices that individual men and women in our country have made and continue to make, so the rest of us can live our lives in safety.

Jo Luxton


It’s a time of remembrance, to show gratitude and national pride for all of our service men and women. And, a time for reflection. To reflect on the lives of the brave Ashburton soldiers that never made it home, and those that did, but were affected for the rest of their lives. This Anzac Day marks 104 years since Anzac troops first landed at Gallipoli in Turkey, the site of New Zealand’s first major battle of the First World War. Two thousand seven hundred New Zealand

soldiers lost their lives during this battle alone. That loss is still felt profoundly by many New Zealand families. Around 100,000 New Zealanders, 10 per cent of our population at the time, served overseas during the War. This included more than 2200 Māori, serving in the Māori (Pioneer) Battalion. This year, through our expressions of love, compassion and unity, we reaffirm our commitment to peace and freedom of faith, not only in the aftermath of war, but every day.

On Anzac Day, I’ll be here in Ashburton, speaking at the 9am service. There are a number of services being held all over the region, and I encourage you to attend one of them to pay tribute to our veterans, and their spouses and families. Wear a poppy on your shirt, go to a dawn service, spend the day with your friends and family – whatever you do this Anzac Day, take some time to reflect on why we are able to do these things; due to the men and women that came before us.

Left – King George V passes the men of the Auckland battalion as they moved up to the front, March 1918.


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03 308 2030

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Dec 20 The Allies evacuate the Anzac Cove and Suvla areas

Sep 5 Tsar Nicholas II assumes control of Russian Army Sep 25 Start of the Battle of Loos, a British attack on German positions in northern France


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Jan 27 Conscription is introduced in Britain Feb 21 Start of the Battle of Verdun, north-east France


The water canteen which saved a life I never got to talk to much to my grandfather about the war before he passed away, it wasn’t really something he liked to talk about too much – but there’s a constant reminder of his sacrifice of fighting for our country sitting in the display cabinet at my parents’ house. In amongst a vast array of other heirlooms and special items collected over the years sits grandad’s water canteen from his time on the front line, battered and bruised like a front-rower after 80 minutes on the rugby paddock, it looks like it could tell a story from just its first appearance. Take a closer look though and the story becomes quite remarkable. Almost invisible to the naked eye, the top corner shows some frayed strapping and buried away behind it is a hole. That hole could be thanked for the existence of the entire side of my father’s family because it’s a

Matt Markham


shrapnel hole – a bent back mess of tin from where shrapnel burst through its defences – ultimately saving my grandfather in the process. It’s a hugely significant item in the history of the Markham family – for obvious reasons – and Dad often talks about playing with the canteen when he was younger and the shrapnel still rattling around inside the canteen. But like me, Dad doesn’t know too much about Grandad’s time away at war because it wasn’t something he liked to talk about. That’s a common occurrence for so many people who bravely left their families behind to go

and stand for our country all those years ago. So, when we remember tomorrow the sacrifice those people made and celebrate the world we now live in because of their efforts – it pays to remember that those memories sadly aren’t fond ones for a lot of people in our society. As for me, tomorrow I will pull grandad’s water canteen and medals out of the cabinet and take a moment to reflect on what he did and how lucky he was to come home. Handed down to me for my 21st birthday, I can’t wait to pass it on to my son when he turns the same age so that future generations of my family are reminded of just how much was put on the line all those years ago for us to live a better life.

Right – Grandad’s army water canteen is a hugely significant item in the history of the Markham family.

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Apr 29 British forces surrendered to Ottoman forces at Kut in Mesopotamia (Iraq)

Sep 15 Tanks used for the first time during the 3rd phase of the Batlle of the Somme

Jul 1 Start of the Battle of the Somme

Mar 15 Tsar Nicholas II is forced to abdicate as political unrest grows in Russia


Feb 1 Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare campaign resumes having ceased from September 1915 due to outrage from neutral countries

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Ashburton Guardian

Recalling the facts of war Linda Clarke


It’s been 30-plus years since I visited Gallipoli as part of my OE. I still remember the sombre veil that dropped over our happy tour bus that day – there were tears and heavy hearts as we saw where our soldiers landed and the steep slopes where they were fodder for the Turkish troops. The mood did not lighten as we took in more war sites and cemeteries. My photos are faded now in an album hardly ever examined. As a mother now of two fighting-aged sons, I wonder how I would have dealt with news of their death in such an inhospitable spot. Angry, I’m guessing, but back then there was no way for people to know exactly what happened and how savage, but ultimately futile, the attack would be. The lives of so many young men were snuffed out at the peninsula, and the lives of many more changed forever because of the things they saw and the things they did to survive.

Thanks to the excellent research of family members in Northern Ireland, I know relatives of mine fought in World War One and their small communities were equally affected. My own existence in New Zealand is related to a war, but one that was fought in Ireland between the Protestants and the Catholics. Information that has filtered through the generations points to

my grandfather being a member of the B Specials, an Ulster Special Constabulary unit that regularly patrolled the border between the newly-partitioned Ireland and Northern Ireland. Family rumour has it that he was working one night when his patrol dog was shot. It was seen as a sign that the next bullet would be for him. He and his brothers fled the country and moved to different

parts of the world. By all accounts it was a swift departure from Ireland, and also for his wife and young son (my late Uncle Joe). The family struggled and grew in Eiffelton and my Dad was born here, the last of a long line of brothers and sisters. War fashions families for good and bad. It should be remembered not for its glory but for its fact.


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Jun 7 Battle of Messines begins Apr 6 USA declares was on Germany


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Nov 7 The Bolsheviks successfully overthrow the Russian Government Jul 31 Start of the Third Battle of Ypres. The attack ends after the capture of Passchendaele in November

Dec 17 Armistice between Germany and Russia comes into effect

Nov 20 British tanks help win a temporary victory at Cambrai

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Names on monument fathers, sons Stand on the beach at Gallipoli, wander the slopes that run down to the sea and wonder at the insanity that sent troops into battle on that narrow strip of the Turkish Peninsula. Anzac Cove and the surrounding hills today are tranquil places, deserted most often, except come Anzac Day each year. There’s a strange kind of peace about the place for the rest of the year, just the odd visitor walking across grassy slopes, across land that 100 years ago was littered with the dead and dying. The names carved on memorials tell nothing of the horror that was Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915 when wave after wave of soldiers were delivered onto the beach only to be gunned down by Turkish troops on the hills above. Husbands, sons, grandsons, young men whose lives had barely begun, mown down, dying in agony, their bodies left where they lay. Many families can count ancestors who were part of the Gallipoli campaign. My great uncle died there, two weeks into the

Sue Newman


campaign. His body was never returned, He is just a name on a memorial – Leonard Rountree. The Gallipoli campaign is a kind of insanity that’s difficult to understand, driven from war offices in England, designed by planners who had little idea of the geography or topography of the area. To them it was simply a battle to win, but to the men who

went willingly, to their families waiting at home it was a special kind of hell. World War One might have ended over 100 years ago, but the memories of that war and subsequent wars are very alive today. Anzac Day is when we recognise the sacrifice thousands of New Zealanders made over the past 100 years, fighting battles on foreign soils. Those men and women are part of who we are today.

In every family there will be links – some tenuous – but links nonetheless to World War One and the battle on the Gallipoli peninsular that sparked the birth of today’s Anzac ceremonies.

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Mar 21 Germany launches the first of series of Spring Offensives which the Allies eventually counter successfully

Sep 19 Ottoman forces routed in Battle of Megiddo, Palestine

Aug 8 The ‘black day of the German Army’ as the Allies advance. German Army begins to collapse

Oct 4 Germany approaches United States to discuss an armistice but fighting continues

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Ashburton Guardian

There is no glory in war World War One killed about 18,000 New Zealanders and more than 60,000 Australians. It left behind shattered families, many of which are probably still affected by the event to this day. Personally I have a connection to the war, with my great grandfather John Albert Emmett of Sydney having been killed in action in France. Known as Jack, he was a member of the 33rd battalion. The war was only five months from finishing when he made his first foray onto the frontline on the Somme. It was to be the last day of his life. The story of his death is told by his comrades, including a Private Burton, today recounted online in the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files. Private Burton said he and his cobber Jack were detailed to carry rations, and at about midnight on 17 June, 1918, they were making for a place called Diggers Supports at Villers Bretenneux. “Emmett had never been up in the lines before, and he got tired; so he lay full length in a trench on his back while I moved on a few yards and sat down on a fire step,” Private Burton said. “A shell fell right between Emmett’s knees, and blew off his legs and the lower part of his body; and we buried him at a place called Crucifix Corner just out of Villers Bretenneux.” Crucifix Corner Cemetery today contains 660 Commonwealth burials of the

Susan Sandys


First World War; I am presuming my great grandfather is among them. Just like many who grew up knowing our elders had lived through times of war, we just accepted none of them ever talked about it, and it was not the thing to ever bring up in conversation. It is only in recent years we realise the importance of recording such stories, as time marches on and memories fade. Consequently from talking to my aunty, a little has been filled in of the tragedy of Jack’s time at war. Aged in his 40s, he had five children and a wife who depended on him, so did not have to go. However, he wanted to live up to his conviction that fighting in the name of one’s country was the right thing to do. The fact that he never came home was a loss of mammoth proportions for

his children, of which my grandfather was one. As family lore goes, my grandfather was a difficult child for whom his mother had little affection. Even though she was left a wealthy widow, she gave minimal time and money to her least favourite child. The repercussions were felt throughout my grandfather’s life and he later became an alcoholic father to my mum and her two sisters. His wife, my grandmother, struggled as best she could, but the family were poor and would have benefited greatly from caring grandparents, something World War One had robbed them of the opportunity of ever having. I was always grateful my mum, with help from my dad of course, was able to give me the good childhood she had never had. However, she carried the scars of a broken upbringing, and to some extent that sense of tragedy and heartache has been carried down the generations. There is no glory in war, it really is a futile thing. Yet fighting for our freedom was something our forebears were compelled to do all those years ago, and today we can justly be proud of the sacrifice they made.

Members of the Australian Imperial Guards listen to music with the enemy less than 30 metres away.


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Oct 30 Ottoman Empire signs armistice

Nov 11 Germany signs an armistice with the Allies - the end of fighting in the First World War Nov 3 Austria-Hungary signs armistice


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Gallipoli & getting there

Aug 5, 1914 Governor-General Lord Liverpool announces that New Zealand is at war

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Make sure our children remember My six-year-old and I were looking at an atlas the other day, checking out the route that his grandparents were about to embark on for a tour through Europe. We followed the path from Amsterdam to Budapest, and I was explaining the little I knew about some of the places, when my son saw Turkey. He said “hold on mum, I’m just trying to find a place I know that’s near Turkey”. We were visiting my nana at the time and we looked

Erin Tasker


at each other, probably a little confused. What sort of place would he know about that’s near Turkey?

He was struggling to find what he was looking for, when I suddenly had a thought. I asked him if the place he was looking for was Gallipoli. “Yes!” he exclaimed, looking very proud of himself. They’d been learning about Anzac Day at school, he told me, and Gallipoli was the place where all the soldiers died. It made me think back to when I was growing up and what I knew about Anzac Day when I

was six, and at what point the reality of what actually happened all those years ago, really sunk in. Every Anzac Day when we were kids, mum and dad would take us to the dawn Anzac service and we would watch on as both of our grandfathers marched past. It was always a little bit exciting, trying to find the two of them in among – what was back then – a sea of faces. When you’re young, it’s hard putting the sheer numbers of

lives lost while fighting for our country into context. It can be hard to believe it happened. But it did, it’s a huge part of our history which shaped New Zealand’s future and, just like my parents when we were young, I now take my kids to a service every Anzac Day. It may have happened well before my time, and well and truly before their time, but I’m determined that my kids will always remember.


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Dec 3, 1914 NZEF disembarks at Alexandria, Egypt to begin training Oct 16, 1914 New Zealand Expeditionary Force leaves Wellington

Apr 25, 1915 Anzac troops land at Ari Burnu (Anzac cove)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


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A terrifying time in our history In my hallway sits a bayonet with four quite horrifying notches embedded in its wooden handle. We aren’t sure whether it’s from World War One or World War Two, probably the latter, but it’s immaterial really. It’s part of our family history and it tells of a terrible story. The bayonet, owned by my grandfather, has a mechanical pin where it could be inserted on the muzzle of a rifle for close contact warfare. As a child the blade used to sit in a glassed bookshelf in my parents’ house and we would remove it from its leather scabbard and run our fingers down the jagged indentations. We would imagine what made the bayonet owner feel compelled


to make the notches and wonder about the lives which were taken. Who were the victims, were they married and did they have children? For me this memento of a terrifying time in our history represents the immense sadness and gratitude I have for the sacrifices that were made by my family and our forefathers.

In another sense it constitutes all that is wrong with war. This isn’t a criticism, because I believe everyone who has served to defend our nation deserves our utmost respect. And I feel like a fraud for even having an opinion on this. My generation for the most part has escaped major conflict. Gallipoli and the Western Front were before my time and I was too young to remember much about the Vietnam War. In my lifetime the conflict zones have been Iraq and Iran, Kuwait, Afghanistan and others. That’s not to say my family has not been involved. My father served for two years with British troops in Malaya and always protested that he never

saw action, admitting only once to bullets zipping past him. My grandfather served in World War Two in Egypt as a medical officer with the New Zealand Medical Corps, and my great aunt was a nurse in the same country. He reached the rank of captain and was invalided home. My great grandfather I believe was a major in World War One and another decorated family member commanded the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Brigade until 1921. I can’t imagine the atrocities that they saw either in hospital beds or the battlefield. As far as I’m aware my family was lucky and suffered no losses, but that doesn’t diminish their contribution or the mental scars they might have

carried home. We aren’t exactly sure of the bayonet’s history or who it belonged to. It could have come from a family member, but my grandfather was a doctor who accepted “gifts’’ from returned servicemen who could not afford to pay their medical bills. So what does Anzac Day mean to me? It’s obviously a time of remembrance which commemorates all New Zealanders killed and wounded in war and also honours returned servicemen and women. But it’s also personal for me because of my family involvement and that’s why I have a rather gruesome artefact to remind me of another era when great sacrifices were made.

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Dec 20, 1915 Evacuation of Anzac troops from Gallipoli

Jul, 1915 The Maori Contingent is despatched to Gallipoli Aug 8, 1915 Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bar


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

No matter race, age or religion, Anzac Day is important ... Anzac Day is a day ultimately about reflection, and with this small allocation of words I wanted to try and reflect on what the past, the present and the future of one of our most significant national days means to me.

Jaime Pitt-MacKay REPORTER

Unlike some of the other writers for this feature, I have not stood on the beaches at Anzac Cove and been able to reflect on the horrors and bravery that played out on that fateful day. I do not have a piece of prized family memorabilia that links back to the horrible conflict that was World War One, but I do have family members that have served our country. I had two great grandfathers that served during World War Two, but in the time I knew them when they were alive I was unaware and likely would have struggled to connect those two great men with the horrors that likely faced them at that time. So when I reflect on Anzac Day, I think of them. When I think of what Anzac Day means now, I think of what it means to those currently serving in our armed forces. I have a friend who is currently in the army, and probably didn’t appreciate just how important the

day is to those currently serving as it is for those who have served in the past. A role in the army is a thankless task, only often appreciated in the worst of times. Even in peace time, life in the army is not easy, and getting the chance to be acknowledged alongside those who have served in the past is an important thing.

And on to the future of Anzac Day. Some have suggested that actions taken around the cancellation of Anzac events and the suggestion of Islamic prayer being broadcast at the events would be an attack on what those who have served in the past fought for. This is simply not the case. The people who served did so to keep New Zealand a free country,

and to allow us to live the lives we do today. Whether we were born in New Zealand or not; Christian, Muslim or any other religion, we are New Zealanders, and we should be able to pause and reflect on Anzac Day in any way we please, because without Anzac Day, it is something we would not be able to do in the first place.



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The Ashburton RSA and the Ashburton Rotary Club would like to sincerely thank all the businesses that have taken part in this feature for their support. The Ashburton Guardian would also like to thank all the businesses involved in raising funds for the Poppy Welfare Fund which will receive 10 per cent of the proceeds.