E-Newsletter #3

Posted on July 11th, 2012

Welcome to the Passchendaele Society’s 3rd edition of E-News! With just over 2 years before the start of the 100 year Commemorations of the various WW1 battles the news is beginning to pour in thick and fast, hence another edition of E-news before it was due as we would like to keep you all up to date with the developments.

Must See

We wish to draw your attention to the special “The Battle of Passchendaele” section of the Fairfax Last Post First Light website which can be seen here. What a great foundation on which to build all the stories of the First World War and Passchendaele that are waiting to emerge.

The Passchendaele Society has successfully managed to get them to create a special section “The Battle of Passchendaele” in the bar at the top of their Last Post First Light home page – the direct link is http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/last-post-first-light/battle-of-passchendaele/

How to research your relatives Military Service

Graeme Wilson and the 3rd Auckland North Regimental Association, together with the help from Passchendaele Society, Lt Col Chris Powell (Commanding Officer of the 3rd Auckland & Northland Battalion Group), Vincent Lipanovich (Auckland War Memorial Museum) and Graham Gibson (President of the Auckland RSA) are proposing two hour seminars on “How To Research Your Relatives’ Military History” during the 2012 Auckland Heritage Festival.

You can offer your individual help directly to Graeme so that he can co-ordinate, either as a presenter for the seminars or as a support person (on the door for example).  If you are able to help and/or would like to get involved, please contact Graeme directly at gcwilson@ezysurf.co.nz

The suggested plan so far is for the seminars to be held weekends at Auckland War Memorial Museum and weekdays at Arch Hill, Grey Lynn (Army HQ in Auckland), still to be confirmed:-

Saturday 29 September    AWMM

Sunday 30 September      AWMM

Monday 1 October           Arch Hill

Wednesday 3 October     Arch Hill

Saturday 6 October         AWMM

Sunday 7 October           AWMM

Tuesday 9 October          Arch Hill

Thursday 11 October       Arch Hill

Saturday 13 October       AWMM

Sunday 14 October         AWMM

“Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917” tour July 2012

Massey University invites alumni, friends and those with a passion for military history to an ‘after 5’ function where there will be a presentation by our Historical Advisor Professor Glyn Harper titled “Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917”. Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University and General Editor of the Centenary History Project.

Passchendaele Society members from all over New Zealand have the opportunity to hear Glyn speak as there are 4 sessions:-

Monday 16 July – Auckland War Memorial Museum

Tuesday 17 July – The George (Parkview room), Christchurch

Wednesday 18 July – Massey University Museum Building, Wellington

Thursday 19 July – Massey University (Japanese Lecture Theatre, University House), Palmerston North

Event format:

5.30pm to 6.15pm                             Your opportunity to connect with other alumni, students, staff and friends of Massey (canapés will be served and a cash bar is available)

6.15pm to 6.45pm                             Guest speaker Professor Glyn Harper will talk Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917

6.45pm to 7pm                                  A question and answer session will be held

7pm to 7.10pm                                  Overview of the ‘Centenary History Project’

7.30pm                                             Event Concludes

For more info and to make your booking, please visit the Massey University website or call 06 350 5865 or email alumni@massey.ac.nz .

Honour #3

Following on from the Honour #1 recently awarded to our President Iain MacKenzie (Knight of the Royal Order of the Crown, Belgium) and Honour #2 of the Queen’s Service Medal awarded to the Society’s Historical Advisor Professor Glyn Harper QSM we are proud to announce that there has been a 3rd honour awarded for one amongst our ranks:-

Our Vice-President Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Chris Mullane ONZM, MBE has finally received The Legion of Merit after being awarded it 33 years ago! The delay was caused through an administrative fault which cast doubt on his eligibility for America’s sixth highest military decoration. The award is in recognition of his contribution to leadership in the United States military in the post-Vietnam war era. It was presented by Major General R.F. Mathews, Deputy Commander, US Army Pacific on behalf of the President of the United States of America.

The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.

Expert Session at AWMM

Charlotte Descamps is visiting from Belgium. On July 21st at 2pm in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Charlotte will be presenting an Expert Session about ‘Life on the battlefields 95 years later”. She is a seasoned lecturer so we are sure her presentation will be extremely informative! She has been running battlefield tours in Flanders since 2004.

Her talk will cover what remains from the destruction, including the unearthing of bones, ordinance (200 tons of ammunition is still collected every year) and other objects that are a constant reminder of the grinding war that took place on Flanders Fields. More information and reservations can be made on the AWMM website. Meet in the Atrium by the Red Arrow.

Auckland Police Pipe Band

Two of our members, Bob Davis (Hon Secretary of the Passchendaele Society) and John Graham (our own official piper and President of the band), are touring Europe and Flanders in July with the Auckland Police Pipe Band and will be playing at the Menin Gate in Ypres on Tuesday 24th July. The Band will lay a wreath on behalf of the Passchendaele Society as part of a significant New Zealand content  at a ceremony involving the Band in their splendid No 1 uniforms.

E-Newsletter #2


The Passchendaele Society’s website is undergoing a major revamp, making it easier to navigate and to  link to other interesting sites.

Milestone 1

It is with great pleasure that we announce that by the Royal Decree of King Albert II of Belgium, our President Iain MacKenzie has been made a Knight of the Royal Order of the Crown.

Iain was Honorary Consul for Belgium in Auckland from 2000 to 2009 and a highlight of this period was his organising of the visit of the travelling exhibition “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” to Auckland in 2009. He also arranged Commemoration Services which were addressed by the Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key, the Belgian Ambassador His Excellency Patrick Renault and His Worship the Mayor of North Shore City Andrew Williams. On retirement as the Honorary Consul his attention then turned to the forming of The Passchendaele Society which grew out of these activities. We can feel honoured that the hard work of our President and his team of enthusiastic Board members has been recognised in this way.

Milestone 2

The Queen of New Zealand has been pleased on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday and Diamond Jubilee, to award The Queen’s Service Medal to Professor Glyn John Harper, of Palmerston North for “services to historical research”.

This award is not only well deserved but reflects very positively on the work he is doing to achieve public recognition of the coming anniversaries of the Battle of Passchendaele, the Western Front and the Great War of 1914-1918. Professor Harper is a member of the Passchendaele Society and is the Society’s Historical Advisor.

Our Patron

On June 9th our Patron, the Rt, Hon. Helen Clark ONZ was the guest keynote speaker at the opening of the refurbished “In Flanders Fields Museum” in Ypres. Helen Clark was also in Ypres on 4th October 2007 (the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Broadseinde), when she was representing the Government of New Zealand as Prime Minister where, together with the Flemish Government, they signed the Ypres Agreement (2007).

The agreement committed New Zealand to cooperate in “…increasing broad community recognition…educating younger generations…honouring the war dead…preserving heritage material…and encouraging tourism to commemorative and historical sites in Flanders and New Zealand…”

The Agreement then inspired the Memorial Museum Passchendaele to create a travelling exhibition to New Zealand in 2009 entitled “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten”. You can read her full speech on our Home page.

Expert Session at AWMM

Charlotte Descamps is visiting from Belgium. On July 21st at 2pm in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Charlotte will be presenting an Expert Session about “Life on the battlefields 95 years later”. She is a seasoned lecturer so we are sure her presentation will be extremely informative! She has been running battlefield tours since 2004.

Her talk will cover what remains from the destruction, including the unearthing of bones, ordinance (200 tons of ammunition is still collected every year) and other objects that are a constant reminder of the grinding war that took place on Flanders Fields. More information and reservations can be made on the AWMM website. Meet in the Atrium by the Red Arrow.

 Auckland Heritage Festival

The Auckland Heritage Festival 2012 is being held from September 29th until October 14th. One of the aims of this festival is to promote learning and understanding of our heritage. The Passchendaele Society feels this is a wonderful opportunity to inform and upskill the local community on ways to research their ancestors that fought and died during WW1 and in particular to encourage a greater understanding of the events that took place during 1917 at and around Passchendaele, Belgium.

There is nothing formalised as yet, so ideas and help are sought from our members on how to present a notable representation. This could be in the form of a workshop, lecture or just a manned information desk which members of the public could seek advice on how to research and receive an information pack. LtCol Chris Powell and the former CO 3ANR Graeme Wilson are formulating a plan for people on “How to research your relatives’ Military History” and is a work in progress. Please note that our application needs to be in by June 29th!

E-Newsletter #1


We are proud to advise that the Passchendaele Society’s website is now up and running, albeit a work still in progress and about to receive a major revamp. Everything to this point has been done with volunteer hours, with thanks in particular to Michael Pritchard and Juliana Austen for their efforts to get it thus far.  Be sure to visit regularly the Events Page on the website to see what is happening around the country.

Lapel Badge

You may have noticed the new logo at the top of the E-news, this is also available as a Lapel Badge at $6 each or 2 for $10 from Mike Pritchard, 28 Ewen Alison Avenue, Devonport, Auckland 0624.   You can pay by cheque, or bank transfer to KiwiBank Account No: 38-9011 – 0519917-00 for credit to The Passchendaele Society Inc.  –  quoting surname and badge(s) as reference.


This year marks the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. Be sure to note in your diaries now the commemoration ceremony at 11am on Friday  12th October 2012 at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the First World War Hall of Memories.


Our first AGM was held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on March 22nd – thank you to all of those who attended. You should all receive shortly the Minutes of the AGM and they will also be posted on the website. The elected Board members are Iain MacKenzie (President & Community portfolio), Chris Mullane (Vice-President & Communications portfolio), Bob Davis (Hon. Secretary), Bill Rayner (Hon. Treasurer), Ken Young (Commemorations portfolio), Lode Notredame (Historic Sites portfolio), Mike Pritchard (Heritage Materials portfolio), Phil Martell (Younger Generations portfolio & Assistant Treasurer), Ron Longley (Related Organisations liaison), Chris Powell (Military – ex-officio) and Sandi Notredame.

Board meetings will be held Bi-monthly, usually on the 2nd Thursday of the month. If you would like something discussed at this meeting then please contact the appropriate Board members.

Other persons of note are:- the Rt.Hon. Helen Clark ONZ is the Patron of the Society; Eve Bain, the winner of the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs 2011 Passchendaele competition, has been appointed as our first ‘Youth Ambassador’; and Prof. Glyn Harper of Massey University has been appointed as the Society’s Historical Adviser.


Membership is steadily growing (68 individuals, 2 RSAs and 7 Honorary members) including four as far south as Palmerston North and Alexandra, three in Australia and one in Northern Ireland, but more members of the Society are sought to ‘help spread the word’. The Board has revised the membership fees slightly (to be presented at the next AGM) to:- Individual $20, School $50, RSAs $100, Corporate & Companies $250 and Individual Life Membership $250, all of which are entitled to one vote per individual member or entity.

We already have 8 paid Life Members.  They represent a very helpful injection of funds in these still relatively early days of the Society  –  many thanks for your contributions. They are: Arthur AVIS, Iain MacKENZIE, Ken McKEE WRIGHT, Phil MARTELL, Greg MOYLE, Chris MULLANE, Mike PRITCHARD & Ken YOUNG. Please feel free to become a Life Member yourself at anytime.

The Board is inviting as Honorary Members the following:- Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Navy Museum, the National Army Museum, the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, the Passchendaele Society 1917 vzw (Belgium), Zonnebeke-Waimakere Trust and the Ranfurly Trust. There is no fee (nor voting rights) for Honorary Members.

 Help required

A notable achievement of the Society is to have the mural on the side of the Greymouth Evening Star building successfully altered – it was painted in 2001 so for years the description on the bottom incorrectly said ‘Messines – France’. But after repeated lobbying by Lode Notredame it has finally been corrected to ‘Messines – Belgium’.  Unfortunately references to France instead of Belgium are quite common, even though the soldier mentioned on the memorial died in Belgium.

Members of the Society can assist by informing us of any other discrepancies they might stumble across throughout New Zealand on Memorials so they can be fixed and corrected before the 100th anniversary in 2017.

How to contact us           



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