Newsletter #5

Posted on September 19th, 2012

Reminder #1

The Commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele is on Friday 12th October at 11.00am at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. We look forward to seeing you all there! Please enter via the Cenotaph Entrance and assemble by 10.45am in the First World War Hall of Memories (on the second floor)  –  medals may be worn, and personal floral tributes laid.

Guest speakers this year are Professor Glyn Harper QSM and Lt. Col. Chris Powell. As last year there will be a Passchendaele Luncheon hosted by the Auckland Officers’ Club at the Northern Club, 19 Princes St., Auckland members’ restaurant directly after the ceremony. The price is $41.25pp (including main course, Petit Fours, wine)  –  numbers are strictly limited so please make your booking through Bob Davis by 3rd October latest at, and send a Cheque to Phil Martell, PO Box 308057, Manly, Whangaparaoa 0952  (Phil Martell is the Assistant Treasurer of The Passchendaele Society) or by Bank Transfer to Kiwibank, Account No: 38-9011  0519917-00 for credit to The Passchendaele Society Inc, quoting your initials, surname and ‘lunch’ as the reference.

Western Front from Above

If you missed this excellent BBC documentary shown on Prime on Sunday 8th, then here is the link to view it in its entirety

The destroyed city of Ypres features early on in the film footage and again at about 31 minutes. Passchendaele features at about 40 minutes. Although a story about the British forces as a whole, one statement stood out to me when they mentioned that the number of casualties endured to capture the Passchendaele Ridge equated to 20,000 casualties per step!

Our Website

Our own website has had a major revamp and although now ‘complete’, it is still a work in progress and has had a few recent additions, such as the posting of Eve Bain’s winning entry to last year’s Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs competition titled Why don’t we remember the Battle of Passchendaele?


Membership is steadily growing with members as far south as Balclutha and Invercargill, and four in Australia. The Society will have a strong presence at the RSA’s upcoming National AGM in Wellington on October 16th where it is hoped that more RSA’s will become members of the Passchendaele Society. Our brochure and an introductory letter will be included in each of the 350 attendee’s satchels.

Our geographical network is widening but more members of the Society are sought to ‘help spread the word’. A special thanks goes to Charlotte Descamps who did an excellent job of informing the public about our existence during her recent lecture tour throughout New Zealand. Membership fees are:- Individual $20, Schools $50, RSAs $100, Companies and Organisations $250 and Individual Life Membership $250, all of which are entitled to one vote per individual member

Reminder # 2

The Auckland Heritage Festival runs from September 29th until October 14th. Graeme Wilson has coordinated the seminars on “Researching your relatives’ military service”. More info about times, dates, location and how to book can be found on their website.

Community Newspapers

A special thanks goes out to Mr Matthew Gray (Head of Content) for his initiative and story for the recently published articles in the Auckland Suburban Newspapers. Our President Iain MacKenzie and his grandson James MacKenzie were interviewed for this story, which also helped to launch their competition aimed at youths under 16 years old called “Portraits of Passchendaele”. The aim of the competition is to encourage young people to find out about their ancestors’ involvement in the Battle of Passchendaele.

The excellent article was written by Karina Abadia  –  if you missed seeing it then you can see it here. There is also an accompanying video (in 4 parts) with unique footage half way down the article that you can click on, a rather graphic representation of the conditions our boys fought in.

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