Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

New Zealand’s warriors, so far away from home.

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There were many surprises  that came from our visit to the World War One cemeteries around the Belguim town of Ypres.  Things we’d just never given any thought too before,  for example I’d only been thinking of the  British nationals that were buried in the immaculate grave yards, surrounded by poplars trees, and a vast expanse of fields and sky, the kind of image we are all familiar with.

 

We booked a guide, Patrick Jonckheere of 2explore, this was the best move we could have made.  He suggested we should start our first day at the Flanders Fields Museum, in Ypres, to start to familiarise ourselves with some of the key events.  He then picked up in his car and whisked us away, taking us too places we’d probably never have found or thought to visit on our own. like the Yorkshire Trench, in the middle of an industrial estate. It’s a long time since I’ve  been quite so focused or learnt so much in five hours! However the tour was so well paced and knowledgeable it simply flew by (we’d not asked for any specific places to be included, but Patrick prides his ability to research and deliver tours particular regiments, events, or people) .

In my naivety, I’d not thought about the fact that WWI was at the time of The British Empire, and those fighting and dying came from across the globe. Would I ever have thought of a Maori Battalion from New Zealand? (Over 16,000 New Zealand soldiers died during WWI).

NZ WWI-0091 

The memorials to the soldiers of New Zealand, are both  beautiful and evocative

New Zealand -0180

This  image is taken from within an art work, that  forms part of a New Zealand memorial garden at the Memorial Museum, Passchendaele, it made me wonder what it was like deep within those muddy trenches.

NZ WWI Memorial garden -0174

I’ve not yet written about the act of remembrance that takes place at the Menin Gate in Ypres each evening. I defy anyone, not to be moved by it, but  this video brings a very special and, powerful and emotional energy, just watch.

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Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

9 thoughts on “New Zealand’s warriors, so far away from home.

  1. ONE grandfather survived the trenches with MC and bar and Croix de Guere and bar, his brother was killed in 1917, my father’s father was injured and died of wounds shortly after the armistice. Then the next generation did it in ww2, one in North Atlantic torpedoed and sunk in the navy, my father in Burma chasing the Japanese. My cousins all joined the services, I broke the mood and went into mining, it seemed safer! Thank goodness we do not have to make these sacrifices any more, none of my family were military they were solicitors, farmers or landowners who got dragged into the horror of WW1.

    I went to Flanders when I was 19, part of the reason I am a civilian.

  2. Sorry my family were NOT military they simply got sucked into the military machine along with millions of others.

  3. I pay more attention to all things New Zealand now that I have readers from that county, and friends who have visited. This is yet another side of their history: sad, and yet inspiring.

  4. Hi Heather, it is Glo from Porcelain Rose blog and I was trying to email you using the link on your About page, with no luck. Do you have a recent email address?

  5. Pingback: Sewing a Seed of Remembrance | Uphilldowndale

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