Newsletter #11

Posted on November 23rd, 2013

Welcome to the Passchendaele Society’s 11th edition of E-News. The Commemoration of the 96th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele is on Saturday 12th October at 11am in the Auckland War Memorial Museum. We look forward to seeing you all there! Please enter via the Cenotaph Entrance and assemble by 10.40am in the First World War Hall of Memories (on the second floor) – medals may be worn, and personal floral tributes laid.  The New Zealand Army Band will play from 10.35am and during the Ceremony.

Falls the Shadow

PS member Helen Pollock has been in Belgium installing her ‘Falls the Shadow’ commemorative sculpture in the Passchendaele Memorial Museum in Zonnebeke. She was present also for the successful re-opening in July.

The clay for the sculpture came from the place where the New Zealanders stopped to rest the night before the devastating attack on Bellevue Spur, which cost 846 New Zealand soldiers’ lives.

Falls the Shadow is a ‘voice’ for the almost 12,500 New Zealanders who died and are buried on the Western Front. It also speaks of the impact of these deaths, and the physical or emotional scarring of those who returned, on their families and communities at home in New Zealand.

Snippets

The Passchendaele Society has again registered with the Auckland Heritage Festival programme which coincides with our commemoration on October 12th. Last year’s publication informed many about the ceremony that would otherwise not have come, resulting in standing room only! So I suggest an earlier than usual arrival this year as the awareness of this ceremony continues to grow.

The Victoria Theatre in Devonport is screening Private Peaceful from August 8th until 14th (ends next week!)  The movie is set in Flanders during WW1.

The Bruce Mason Centre are delighted with the return of the On Parade! Grand Massed Bands Concert at 2.30pm on Sunday 25th August. Tickets are $24 adults, $19 seniors and available from the Box Office or their website.

The theme for the main garden at the 2014 Ellerslie Flower International Flower Show in Christchurch is the “100th anniversary of the First World War”.

PS member Alan Taylor wrote to us and asked:- “Just wondering if our fellow members of the Passchendaele Society are aware of this sitearchives.govt.nz/passchendaele-casualty-forms By accessing this site I found out more information about my Great-Uncle and I am sure our members will too. Service records of many of our fallen. I even found out how much he weighed upon enlisting! Not to mention that he’d been gassed several months earlier. Amazing detailed information here (and sobering).” Please note however that not everyone is mentioned, the list is incomplete and only a selection of 700.

The WW100 website www.ww100.govt.nz is an excellent website for staying abreast of developments and WW1 projects, particularly for those in the smaller regions and communities as well as Legacy Projects of National significance. The Passchendaele Society Board recently met with Andrew Matheson, Director of WW100, to understand and explore how our two organisations can work together throughout the 2014-2018 period, and particularly in 2017.

The NZ Veterans Band has produced a DVD and a high quality paperback style book showing aspects of the 2012 tour of Belgium  & France. If people wish to make a purchase, they should email Lesley Petterson* at pettersons@xtra.co.nz.

Tax Exempt Status

The Society is registered with IRD as a Charitable Organisation and due to this registration, has also been granted Donee organisation status by IRD. Individuals can claim a tax credit for donations ($5 or more) made to the Passchendaele Society (PS) and they can claim back 1/3rd of all donations within limits.

Passchendaele: The Anatomy of a Tragedy

Andrew Macdonald’s new book on the New Zealanders at Passchendaele is due out in September.

This extensively researched book tells the story of one of the darkest hours of Australia and New Zealand?s First World War military history. With the forensic use of decades-old documents and soldier accounts, it unveils for the first time what really happened on the war-torn slopes of Passchendaele, why, and who was responsible for the deaths and injuries of thousands of soldiers in the black mud of Flanders. Macdonald explores the October battles of Third Ypres from the perspective of the generals who organised them to the soldiers in the field, drawing on a wide range of evidence held in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and Germany. His book is far more than a simple narrative of battle and includes critical and comparative assessments of command, personality, training, discipline, weapons, systems, tactics and the environment. It looks equally at the roles of infantry, artillery and engineering units, whether Australian, New Zealand, Canadian or British, and in so doing presents a meticulous, objective and compelling investigation from start to finish. Along the way it offers numerous unique insights that have, until now, been obscured by a nearly century-old fog of war. This book will reshape the understanding of one of the most infamous battles of the First World War.

Suburban Newspapers Competition

The Suburban Newspapers have again launched an essay writing competition aimed at young people up to the age of 16. Entrants are encouraged to talk with older relatives and use additional biographical information available on websites such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph database, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Archway Archives.

And on a separate note, we are delighted to learn from the new Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse that the Year 13 students will shortly be invited again to compete for the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs competition “Why don’t we remember the Battle of Passchendaele” –  previously won by Eve Bain and Nathan Garry.

Interesting Links

Following are some direct links to excellent video clips on YouTube about Passchendaele including two clips about New Zealanders based on Glyn Harper’s book “Massacre at Passchendaele.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejcj-n44sJI “Massacre at Passchendaele” – Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2C9YKNUTTU “Massacre at Passchendaele” – Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7l0xyXCFhM – “Our Bloodiest Day” – featuring our Patron Helen Clark.

A performance of the song “On the Road to Passchendaele” (solo on guitar with lyrics provided) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mbE6H5_ZaU

And a performance of “On the Road to Passchendaele” by pipers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1HzDZXslWk

Also have a look at this link, the first item is about war reporter New Zealander Peter Arnett.

http://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/words-of-war After viewing that video you are offered a range of short videos to select from including a number about Passchendaele (NZ, Canadian & Scots).

Comments

  1. Mike Evans says:

    This was really helpful but it would be nice to have some of the Historians different opinions/perspectives on the campaign.

Leave a Reply to Mike Evans