Remembering the Somme

September the 15th marks the day the New Zealand infantry joined the battle of the Somme, and this year marks exactly one hundred years from that catastrophic day. It was our first major experience with the Western Front, a very, very different kind of battle to the ones we had experienced in Gallipoli, and would turn into the largest loss of new Zealanders lives in our post-1840 history.

More New Zealanders lost their lives on the Western Front than in Gallipoli, although Gallipoli still overshadows the Somme in the public memory. Today, let’s look at some of the local boys who lost their lives that day, and remember them, and the thousands and thousands of others that would follow them.

Frederick Everard Turner signed up in the very early days of the war in August 1914. He was an Anglican lad, who lived on Princess Street on Woolston. Though he survived the Gallipoli landings of the 25th of April, 1915, he was shot and killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. When he died, he was 25 years old.

Frederick Everard Turner, Canterbury Times, 18/10/1916, CCL-TurnerFE
Frederick Everard Turner, Canterbury Times, 18/10/1916, CCL-TurnerFE

Thomas Arthur Raxworthy grew up in Upper Riccarton, and was living in London Street, Richmond, when he enlisted. He worked for the Christchurch City Council, and married his wife Margaret in November, 1912. He was killed when he was 23 years old, on the 15th of September, 1916. His two children, Edith and Thomas, were still only toddlers.

Frederick Reginald Ashworth
Frederick Reginald Ashworth , Kete Christchurch

Frederick Reginald Ashworth grew up in Hornby and went to Hornby School. He and his brother John, who was also killed, were from a well known and highly respected family. Frederick enlisted in October, 1915, but less than a year later, on the 15th of September, he was killed in the Somme. He was 23 years old.

Travis Armitage grew up in New Brighton and went to New Brighton School. He had two younger sisters, Constance and Mary. When he enlisted, he was living up in the Manawatu with Ninna, his wife of four years. He was killed by a shell on the 15th of September. His friend, William Scott, witnessed his death. Travis was 27 years old.

In the days that followed, many more were lost. Edmund Lincoln Gate from Addington was killed the second day; Thomas Henry Ellis from Spreydon was wounded on the 19th of September and died the next day; Cyril Bigthan Cooke from New Brighton was only 20 when he died on the 1st of October, the same day that we lost Bernard Gabriel Joseph O’Shaughnessy from Halswell. The list goes on and on.

You can read more about these soldiers, and more, by searching ‘Somme’ on Kete Christchurch.

More information

Celebrate Suffrage Day / White Camellia Day – Monday 19 September 2016

Monday 19 September 2016 is Suffrage Day / White Camellia Day – On 19 September 1893 women in New Zealand got the vote, and the white camellia was the symbol of the suffragists.

Here in Christchurch,  there’s a celebration honouring the achievements of women from 12 to 12.30pm by the Kate Sheppard Memorial on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace. Mayor Lianne Dalziel will speak, and the Kate Sheppard Memorial Award 2016 will be presented. The finalists in the Lois Middlemiss Award will read their poems, including Beth Walters, Aranui High – “East Side Youth: Our Voice”. (info from The Christchurch Mail)

Kate Sheppard memorial. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2212
Kate Sheppard memorial. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2212

More about suffrage

Busy Things is getting busier

Sometimes my job is just sublime. An example of this is when Busy Things – a very popular kid’s eResource was upgraded. In the name of research I was “forced” to colour in dinosaurs, design football kits, create a lost pet’s poster and name a number of shapes. You see Busy Things was aimed at 3 to 7 year olds but it has undergone an upgrade to include activities for those aged up until the age of 11.

Colleens Fireworks

Never dull, this eResource is instantly appealing to kids and able to hold their attention as they move between free play to more structured learning. The interface can be worked by even very young children and older crusty adults such as myself.  When you now enter Busy Things you can select the most appropriate age group and then disappear into a huge range of entertaining, safe and educational activities. Headings range from English, Design and Technology, Geography, Food, Maths and Family and Community.

As you can see from the above poster of a Chinese fireworks display I constructed using Busy Things its possibilities are endless. Granted I am not artist, but I still had fun and used some pretty cool computer skills to get it to work! Try it with your little ‘uns today!

Colleen Busy screen