Anzac Day, 1952. Norman Pierson : Korean War photographs
Anzac Day, Korea, 1952. Norman Pierson : Korean War Photographs
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Field of Remembrance. Flickr, 2015-03-27-IMG_6779
I have to admit that Anzac Day has never really meant much to me, except as a day off school when I was a kid. This year, though, it seems so much more significant. You see, I’ve spent the last couple of months researching a soldier for the New Brighton Boys project, and suddenly the war became real to me. Seeing all those white crosses — I got a little choked up trying to explain to the Young Lad what it was all about. Each of those crosses was suddenly a person to me, not just a statistic, or a page in a history book, but a real person with a life, a family; a person with dreams for a future that ought to have been but never would.
I can’t think of John Frederick Haynes as anything but my soldier. My blue eyed, brown haired boy, who shares my Dad’s birthday, and lived round the corner from where I grew up — and died when he was just 23. I’d never heard of him before last November, and started out with just a name and a service number, but the more I found out about him, the more I wanted to know. The bald facts that I found in military records, electoral rolls, church registers, and Births, Deaths, and Marriages records coalesced, blossomed, and became tangible to me.
I could almost have been there in the room when his little brother Lawrence, who was just 19, came home and told his family that the attesting officer had let him enlist this time. I felt his mother’s sadness that she’d lost her middle boy to the war and now her baby had enlisted too. Was it she who convinced Francis, the eldest, that he needed to enlist to keep an eye on Lawrence? Did Francis’ wife, Reubena, try to persuade him not to go? Either way, Francis enlisted the very next day.
Lawrence and Francis came home. John did not.
This Anzac Day I will remember them.
In 1912, military training or “drills” were compulsory for boys from 14 years of age. Refusal to attend training, even on religious grounds, was considered a serious infringement that could result in confinement at a fortress for a period of 28 days. There were other potential consequences too.
In addition to imposing a fine at the beginning of this process, the magistrate may, and frequently does, declare the offender, for any period up to ten years, ineligible to be employed in the public service, or to vote at a Parliamentary election. The Education Department also takes a hand, and deprives the boy who has not done his drills of any scholarship which he may have won.
Pretty harsh stuff for teenagers to have to contemplate.
Published in London in 1913 by the “Friends’ Peace Committee” and written by “passive resister” Samuel Veale Bracher, Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists tells the story of 13 youths from Christchurch and the West Coast who refused military training and were subsequently imprisoned in Fort Jervois on Ripapa (Ripa) Island . Bracher uses the story of the Ripa martyrs as a plea against conscription in Britain.
Initially the boys are treated well and are happy to do manual work that is set them by the officer in charge, but when they refuse to clean guns and take part in military drills, and are subsequently punished with half rations they go on a hunger strike.
At about 3.15 p.m., Bombardier Moir and the other soldiers again came in, and this time we were asked if we would drill and learn semaphore signalling. Again a negative answer was given. An attempt was going to be made to force us to drill, but we were determined that it should fail. Force would have no more effect upon us than coaxing had previously. We had been offered a forty-eight hours holiday in Christchurch if we would drill. We had refused. Now we were going to be slowly starved into submission on half rations, but we would beat them; we would starve ourselves and so bring about a climax .
What follows is an interesting insight into what happens when an irrestistible force comes up against an immoveable object.
The drama unfolds very quickly with one chap succumbing to sickness very early (described later as “biliousness”) and attending his own hastily arranged court trial while unconscious.
Sergeant-Major Conley asked if Robson was to be brought in. ‘Yes,’ replied Macdonald. ‘But he can’t talk,’ protested the sergeant-major. At this moment the lieutenant lost his temper and said, ‘Bring him in! Use any force you like! ‘ A few minutes later Robson was carried in unconscious between two soldiers.
He’s subsequently accused of “malingering” yet remains floppy, pale, and unmoving for the entirety of his “trial”.
Appeals are made, an enquiry is called for, and a follow up trial is held which returns a rather different verdict.
Read the whole story online in Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists.
For more information on the Ripa Island dissenters and compulsory military training for youths see:
‘We sighted the Southern Cross tonight & the first time I’ve seen it since 1916′ – E.H. Aubrey, Soldier’s diary
‘On 1st May, 1941, I entered Burnham Military Camp, Pte. R.T. Street, 19088′ – Rewai Street : World War II letters, diaries and photographs
Sergeants Mess, Japan, on the way home. November 1952. Norman Pierson : Korean War Photographs
We have just added the following to our digital collection:
Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He kept a diary from May 1917 to November 1917, but carried on using it until 1919 to make notes in. He tore some pages out occasionally to send home to relatives.
You can see his diary now:
Edward’s war started with embarking on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated.
1917 November 5 Mon
Wounded 12-30 mid day
Operated on again to have tubes put in my leg & knee fixed up a little
1917 November 13 Tues
Another operation on Nov 19th to have my leg off
His war record simply says “Lost leg”.
His diary offers a good insight into goings on of the First World War – the fighting, but also the waiting and day-to-day life (see 28 June 1917):
Nothing startling has happened here today. We have put in the time in the same old way doing some reading & writing and having some arguments.
All the New Zealanders are being issued today with high velocity rifles & are handing in our old ones. Our regiment rode over to Khan Yunus in the morning it is a small native town on our new railway line & we have a large dump there. We got our new rifles & also new bayonets there & so should be able to do something wonderful the next battle we are in
1917 June 2 Sat
The place we left was heavily bombed today & the Yeomanry that relieved us a lost a good many horses & several men. We had an easy day today & weren’t worried with bombs or shells. Sent part of this diary back to New Zealand to-day up to May [1st] 1917
Left Oaklands Park Hosp. on Dec 8th 1918 after being there for 8 months & 8 days
Dec 9th 1918
Went on board Ambulance Transport Ruahine at 4 pm on Dec 8th. at Lilbury Docks Thames River.
Drew out from wharf at 3 am on Dec 9th & lay in stream until 1 pm that day. so sailed from England on Dec 9th 1918 so had 10 months & 4 days in hosp. in the old country.
The sea is calm today & we are looking forward to a good trip home
Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain (“10 months & 4 days in hosp. in the old country). When he arrived back home in New Zealand, he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers’ initiative.
the Southern Cross tonight & first time I’ve seen it since 1916 so seems as if we are getting near home again.
Sunday 5th 1919
We had a church parade today & a funeral at same time. A man named Cox died of pneumonia after four days illness
He died at 9 am today & was buried at 11 am.
He was a
I spotted a familiar address in his diary, Dover Street in St Albans – probably the address of one of his mates, and did a wee delve, and wonder if this is his wedding announcement in the Otago Daily Times (12 May 1920). Edward died in 1963.
Find out more about the First World War:
Being the 100th anniversary of the First World War, there has been an avalanche of material arriving in the library on this subject. Many are long forgotten diaries and personal stories that are understandably harrowing and poignant to say the least.
Alongside these important stories are some lighter – but none-the-less interesting – facets of war that haven’t previously been published.
The Great War Cookbook
Contains over 500 wartime recipes, from Ox-Brain Fritters and Fish Custard, to Shepherd’s Pie and Trench Pudding. Apparently according to the publisher “there is something for everyone!”
Antiques Roadshow World War I in 100 family treasures
The ever popular Antiques Roadshow team decided to mark the centenary of the start of World War I by filming a series of specials at the Somme, where the public brought in their family’s war memorabilia and photographs. This book selects 100 stories that shows how they fit in to the wider history that was occurring around them.
Fashion : Women in World War One
Women’s wartime roles as nurses, naval officers, factory workers of course needed the right clothes for the job. From the luxurious silks of High Society, to the boots and breeches of the Women’s Land Army, Fashion: Women in World War One explores the impact of war on fashion from 1914-1918 with unique images and beautiful original garments.
And the Band Played On
Songs, stories and singalongs played a huge part in keeping moral going during the long months spent in the trenches. This book seeks to recreate the music and the camaraderie that accompanied these men who went to war.
Beyond the battlefield : women artists of the two World Wars
A fascinating account of female creativity in America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during the turbulent era of twentieth-century conflict highlighting women artists’ unique portrayal of war at the front lines. Documenting everyday life on the home front as well as being nurses, voluntary aides, ambulance drivers, these artists somehow found time to create astonishing art while working in the middle of war zones.
Great War 100: First World War in Infographics
And lastly an interesting way of highlighting all aspects of the World War using infographics.
This leads to a compelling and very visual representation of data and facts about World War I. See how the idea of depicting World War I developed.
These words stayed with me as I read The Sacrifice. This is a sharp and pointy book. It caught my attention. I was curious from the beginning as the first words sent shivers down my spine.
Seen my girl? My baby?
She came like a procession of voices though she was but a singular voice. She came along Camden Avenue in the Red Rock neighborhood of inner-city Pascayne, twelve tight compressed blocks between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Passaic River. In the sinister shadow of the high looming Pitcairn Memorial Bridge she came. Like an Old Testament mother she came seeking her lost child.
Who is the sacrifice in this story and what is being sacrificed? Is it Ednetta Frye the despairing mother seeking justice for her “young for her age, and trustin” daughter? Is it Sybilla Frye, the daughter, beaten and left to die in the derelict cellar of a disused building? Or Ignes Iglesias, the Hispanic (not black enough) woman cop sent to interview Sybilla at the hospital? Can it be Jerold Zahn, the young white police officer who is accused of raping Sybilla? Or Anis Schutt, the stepfather, who has a violent and dangerous past? What about the influential Mudrick brothers who stir up racial hatred after the attack? What are the consequences of their actions?
Joyce Carol Oates sets her narrative in the fictional town of Pascayne where skin colour, poverty, crime, and violence creates victims. This is a story full of powerful and convincing voices. The multiple perspectives establish empathy and sorrow for the characters and challenge perceptions along the way. Racial tension exudes from every page creating an edgy and evocative read.
Even though The Sacrifice is a work of fiction it is based on fact. I chose not to read about the actual case leaving this sharp point for later. I’m glad I did. The story became a national sensation and divided a country. This book will divide readers.
When I was travelling through Jordan, our guide pointed out some hills across from the Dead Sea. “That is Israel, we are still officially at war with them”, he said. It reminded me that New Zealand’s isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Then I got a job at the University College of London where everyone I worked with seemed to be multi-lingual. This made me see our isolation in another light. Kiwis can’t pop over to Germany for the weekend to improve their German! So there is also a loss when your nearest neighbours are an ocean away and Australian. Times though are changing with immigration, tourism and cheaper air travel our island is becoming increasingly open to other cultures and language.
It is not surprising that with more fluid borders that people are keen to learn languages other than their own. This is where Mango languages can come in handy. You do not have to worry about scratched discs or overdue fines – instead you can learn over 60 languages online. Mango will let you learn from basic right through to advanced levels, with grammar and cultural notes.
So if you are looking for ways to learn a foreign language or need a better grasp on English then this is a great place to start. Mango for languages is available from home with your library card number and password/PIN or in libraries.
Celebrate New Zealand music throughout May with Christchurch City Libraries, CHART, RDU and live gigs. NZMM launches in Christchurch on Friday 1 May 7pm at Central Library Peterborough. The gig features the legendary Martin Phillipps from The Chills performing a short solo set, along with smooth sounds from The Bats offshoot – Minisnap – featuring Kaye Woodward’s songs plus Amiria Grenell and Amy Grace as The Swan Sisters.
Sound Garden (across the road from Central Library Peterborough) will be hosting Beat in the Street before the launch gig (6 to 7pm on 1 May). Come along, bring the kids and get creative.
Explore more NZ Music Month events including jazz, sax, violin, folk, choirs, and ukulele pirates.
Ngaio Marsh was so much more than a crime writer. But remember we have over 30 of her crime novels as eBooks.