Newsletter #7

Posted on December 10th, 2012
Membership drive
Members are asked to encourage acquaintances to join the PS.  The commemorations on October 12th at Auckland War Memorial Museum proved there is a heightened interest in the Battle of Passchendaele. The number of ‘hits’ on our webpage over the following days, with ‘peaks’ of 117 individual visitors on October 12th and 107 on November 1st  are encouraging as they mean that our message is getting out there and being read.  However there were only 1 or 2 new member requests received as a result of all that publicity.   We know that there are large numbers of people whose families were affected by the Battle, and who are gradually finding us.  We would like to reach out to them.

You may also like to consider for yourself subscribing to Paid Life Membership which is currently only $250.


Fields of Remembrance Trust
In further news of the White Crosses Project initiated by our Vice-President Chris Mullane, the Passchendaele Society is proud to be a confirmed Constituent Body of the Fields of Remembrance Trust along with the Auckland Returned & Services Association and the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association.

The Auckland RSA has donated $10,000 as seed money for the White Crosses Project and a “Fields of Remembrance Trust” is in the process of being set up.

The Trustees have appointed Chris Mullane as the Executive Director. Congratulations to Chris on this appointment and also for the hard work he has done behind the scenes to get this fantastic project up and running.


Fort Takapuna
 Auckland Council is funding $1.2 million for the restoration of the Fort Takapuna guardhouse. The new Officers Mess Restaurant will open there in 2013.  Well-known restaurateur Jeremy Schmid has been granted a 10-year lease –  he currently owns and operates the award-winning Two Fifteen Bistro in Mt Eden.  It is hoped that the building will also provide the Passchendaele Society with a permanent location for exhibitions.

The Auckland City Council is also considering creating a Sculpture Court in the Domain.


Royal visits
Our President Iain MacKenzie laid a wreath on behalf of the Passchendaele Society on November 11th at the Armistice Day Commemorations at the Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph  –  plus Board member Ron Longley read the poem “In Flanders Fields”.   The ceremony was held outdoors and HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also laid a wreath.

And at the end of November a high level Belgian delegation led by HRH Prince Philippe came to New Zealand. Four members of the Belgian Federal Government’s Organising Committee for World War One Centenary were also part of the delegation. They met with Iain MacKenzie, to discuss commemoration plans.

An official reception was held at the Event Centre at the AWMM on November 28th and was well represented by many of the Passchendaele Society Board members and a special luncheon to celebrate Iain MacKenzie’s Belgian Knighthood was held at the Northern Club.

LtCol Chris Powell was also presented with a signed book from the Passchendaele Society Board at the luncheon. Chris is on the Board but is stepping down as the appointed ex-officio member as his term as CO of the 3rd Auckland Northland Battalion Group comes to an end this month.  The Board acknowledged at the luncheon Chris Powell’s significant contribution to the original Belgian Exhibition & associated commemorations/ceremonial on North Shore – in particular overriding NZDF preferences for not involving Army units and Chris’ subsequent unstinting & proactive support of the Passchendaele Society.

CWGC controversial agreement
 “Are images of dead soldiers a vital historical resource or an insult to fallen heroes?”, asks John Hayes Fisher in this article

It appears the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has come to a new agreement with the Flemish Government, their policy on filming the remains of war casualties aims to preserve the dignity of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Military historian Paul Reed, who has witnessed the exhumation of several WWI soldiers – including the Messines New Zealander – believes it is “important that we confront the realities of battlefield death as the beautiful soldiers’ cemeteries sometimes belie this”.

At the PS we too believe that the true horrors of war should be shown in order to distance ourselves from the term the ‘Glorious Dead’ when in reality our relatives suffered a great deal making it even more important that they be remembered.


National Theatre of Great Britain’s ‘War Horse’
 The smash hit production War Horse is coming to Auckland August 20th until September 8th 2013. Internet sales are available here.

The National Theatre of Great Britain and Global Creatures present the remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship.

At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself in no man’s land. 

But Albert cannot forget Joey, and still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.’

Read more about this stage show on their official website. (Editor:  Sandi Notredame)

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