Here are a few of the covers from our August Science Fiction newsletter:
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7 August 2013
3 March 2013
By the end of The Great War, forty-five Australian and New Zealand nurses had died on overseas service and over two hundred had been decorated. These were women who left for war on an adventure, but were soon confronted with remarkable challenges for which their civilian lives could never have prepared them.
They were there for the horrors of Gallipoli and they were there for the savagery the Western Front. Within twelve hours of the slaughter at Anzac Cove they had over 500 horrifically injured patients to tend on one crammed hospital ship, and scores of deaths on each of the harrowing days that followed. Every night was a nightmare.Their strength and humanity were remarkable.
Using diaries and letters, Peter Rees takes us into the hospital camps, and the wards and the tent surgeries on the edge of some of the most horrific battlefronts of human history. But he also allows the friendships and loves of these courageous and compassionate women to enrich their experiences, and ours. This is a very human story from a different era, when women had not long begun their quest for equality and won the vote. They were on the frontline of social change as well as war, and the hurdles they had to overcome and the price they paid, personally and professionally, make them a unique group in Anzac history.
11 November 2011
Monday 10 July 1916: Was hit this morning. Got it in the left hand ear and neck. Parapet came down on top of me; was buried for about an hour… on Nov 6th sent to Monckworth.
Nov 14th – sent to action.
And there ends the War diary of Herbert Harold Stephens. I got a bit teary-eyed as I thought that meant he was lost in battle, but then read about the provenance of this diary, and how it ended up being digitised in Christchurch City Libraries’ collection:
This war diary is a small pocket diary donated by H.H. Stephens’ family some time after his death about 1968, and deposited in the Canterbury Public Library by Mr R.C. Lamb, 27 April 1978.
The diary is full of the everyday stuff of war and hospitalisation – shipboard life, clergymen visits, lady visitors, and the joy of meeting other Kiwis, especially Cantabrians:
… saw 4 NZ men there. One was from Belfast, and knows Rangiora and Chch well. Had a long yarn with him … he has lost a leg above the knee.
Private H.H. Stephens from Sydenham, Christchurch, joined up and was stationed in C Company, Infantry, of the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He departed for the war zone from Wellington on Saturday 14 August 1915, as a member of the Sixth Reinforcements. Private Stephens’s war quickly became a personal battle against dysentery which took him to England and hospital. On 9 May 1916 Private Stephens arrived at the Western Front near Armentieres. On 10 July he was wounded and again evacuated to the Middlesex Hospital in England.
6 August 2011
For something completely different, I agreed to work my club’s stand at the Arms and Militaria Show held at the Riccarton Racecourse. I have to confess that I have a long-standing fascination with things military, reaching back to a binge on WWII young adults literature at high school. Even so I didn’t really know what to expect, and hadn’t really expected quite such a range of people and products as were on show, and for sale. Here are a few photos of some of the different stands.
Medieval armour and weapons were on display at the Society for Creative Anachronism stand. This was a major hit with the kids, many of whom got to try on helmets, gauntlets and other bits of armour. The SCA has been ‘recreating’ the medieval world for over 40 years and also put on displays of combat outside the building.
Right next door to them was the Western shooting club whose members were also clad in appropriate gear (cowboy hats and fringed leather).
There was a huge amount of military memorabilia on display, some of which was for sale. Medals, coins, books, magazines, uniforms and weapons were all available for the eager collector. We have quite a lot of resources for collectors of militaria I discovered, including several collectors’ guides, books about medals and badges, toy soldiers, collectable guns and blades and many titles about uniforms and armour including the well known Osprey books.
In addition to our book collection the PriceIt source is another useful tool for the collector. It collates information from a wide variety of auction houses including eBay and includes authoritative articles about repair, restoration and conservation of antiques, hiring an appraiser and many specific areas of collecting.
Like all our sources PriceIt is free to use online: just enter your library card number and PIN.
24 June 2011
Prime has been showing a programme called Blitz Street. A typical English street of World War II vintage has been created and then blown up to simulate the kind of damage caused by bombing. Along the way survivors of the Blitz share their experiences. It’s finished now, but it’s the sort of thing that might resonate with Christchurch residents. Earthquake street could be our new reality show!
What the Blitz survivors talk about is resilience. How to endure terrible experiences and stress and bounce back up again. Resilience in the face of adversity can help with your mental and physical well being. So how do you build your resilience?
The other day the water went off in my house for half a day. It was the first time since any of the quakes and it really threw me for a while. I found it hard to concentrate or do anything. I had to remind myself about all the positives – power is on, house is warm, house is weatherproof and so on. I went to have a look around our neighbourhood and saw the comforting sight of men at work. Then I made preparations in case we were without water for some time. I tried to get through a crisis in a positive way but it made me realise I wasn’t as resilient as I thought.
I looked up the library catalogue to see what I could find and sure enough – resilience brings up a good list of titles.
Our earthquake information page also lists the help out there – asking for help seems like a pretty good sign of resilience. This web page is a good starting point for all kinds of help.
22 April 2010
ANZAC Day is celebrated on 25 April every year in New Zealand and Australia to remember all the members of the armed forces who served in the two World Wars and other major conflicts, such as the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Children can learn some interesting facts about ANZAC Day and some of the wars that our troops fought in by:
There are also a number of dawn parades and memorials around Christchurch and Canterbury that you could go along to to remember those that died fighting for their country.