Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Menin Gate 19/12/2010 with Lieve Bierque

Thank you Maria Vander Meiren for your beautiful pictures !!

The Menin Gate on Sunday evening

wreath laying
Lieve Bierque & Mayor Cardoen

Part of the Zonnebeke delegation together with Guy Gruwez Past Chairman LPA

Lieve tired but satisfied

The Menin Gate with Christmas trees

Monday, 20 December 2010

Belgian Consul from Christchurch in Passchendaele

Oxford Road Cemetery
Lieve Bierque, the Belgian Consul in Christchurch, visited her family and friends in Belgium. She had a special mission. She was asked by the family of Ewen Taylor to visit his grave on Oxford Road Cemetery.

The grave of Ewen Taylor from New Zealand

He died 8 January 1918 at Reutel, he served with the Rifle Brigade.
His family is living near Christchurch and asked Lieve to honor Ewen .

His family hasn't been able to come over yet and to visit his grave

Lieve has put a picture of Ewen together with an RSA-poppy and a flower made of native flax from New Zealand

Under the Menin Gate, together with the Mayor of Zonnebeke and the LPA Past Chairman, Guy Gruwez

Lieve reading the Ode under the Menin Gate
Supported by a delegation of the Zonnebeke Town Council

Wreath laying together with Mayor Dirk Cardoen

meet and greet with the buglers

a cold Winter Sunday 19 December 2010 in Passchendaele!
Thank you for your visit Lieve, please take our best wishes for 2011 with you to the Uttermost end of the Earth.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Winter on Tyne Cot

Some pictures of Tyne Cot covered by snow.
Those pictures have been taken by Johan Dejonghe,
a volunteer working for the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.

This view, in the direction of Belle Vue spur
shows the Visitor Centre on the right of the picture.

Here you can see Berlin Wood from Tyne Cot.
Berlin Wood has been captured on October 4th 1917 by the New Zealand Division.

Monday, 29 November 2010

School from Le Quesnoy in Passchendaele

On Friday 26 November 2010, it was cold and wet. At 10.00AM , a class from Le Quesnoy came to perform the Platoon Experience.
The students are taken the identity of an Australian soldier and will experience October 4th 1917.
They are starting with a visit of the museum and an overall introduction to WWI.

All this was done in English! So it was not only learning about history but also language.

If you know that those students are around 14-15 years old we must confirm that they have been well disciplined and very brave. Congratulations!

The lunch was a WWI meal , a kind of stew (vegetables, potatoes and corned beef), named Tommy Tucker with mineral water. Of course , as in WWI, the lunch was taken outside

One of the young ladies was an assistant teacher of the school and she had no problem with the
language. She's from Wellington, New Zealand!

distribution of webbing , backpack and weapon

Mr. Franck Bruyére is the man who made this all possible and he was also wearing a uniform (all teachers did so)

It was raining when the weapon drill was teached

quick march in extended order on the old railway, the Road to Passchendaele

Some reflection, time for remembrance.
This is an Australian memorial marking the start of the Road to Passchendaele.

Al students are around the guide who's explaining what happened 93 years ago.

This marks the place were Lt Hart was killed after capturing the Thames Farm pill box.

How should a concrete bunker been captured?
A little bit later it was dark when the group arrived at Tyne Cot cemetery, there was also a snowstorm and everybody was wet and cold.
But they succeeded to do the whole PE.
French are tough , that's for sure!
Well done!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

With flags flying at half mast, KiwiRail staff laid poppies on a new memorial to the railway men who died in World War I.

The memorial at KiwiRail's mechanical workshops in Lower Hutt was unveiled in conjunction with an Armistice Day memorial service, held at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the time and date the war ended.

More than 7500 railway workers served in World War I, more than half the entire workforce. Of those, 444 were killed.

The memorial features a train wheel and a plaque, which is a replica of those that were placed on an Ab-class locomotive in 1925, naming it Passchendaele after the war's deadliest battle for Kiwis, in honour of servicemen who worked for the railway.

The original plaques were removed from the train during World War II and are on display in Christchurch and Dunedin railway stations.

KiwiRail director Bryan Jackson said the memorial was a way to honour the Kiwi soldiers who served their country, and the railwaymen among them.

"When you consider the loss of life and impact of the battle, this single contribution doesn't seem anywhere enough recognition for the loss of life ... it goes some way to marking the event and in particular railway's involvement, and helping to remember the sacrifice made by those who fought."

Belgian exchange student Manoelle Godin, 18, was at the service, and read the Ode of Remembrance in Flemish and English.

Passchendaele is in Belgium, where Armistice Day is a public holiday, and Manoelle said she was proud to take part in yesterday's service. She accompanied former railway worker Eileen Smeaton in laying a wreath on the memorial.

Mrs Smeaton, 95, who worked as a shorthand typist, was thrilled to take part. "It's wonderful that people remember – it feels like they didn't die in vain."

Railways workers were tightknit, she said. She had married a foundry worker, and would tell their two sons they had "railway blood in them".

KiwiRail workshop production manager Phil Hankinson organised the memorial. The replica plaque had been hanging in an office, but was now in the workshop's memorial garden

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

12 October - Remembrance Day for the fallen New Zealanders in Passchendaele

Jo Kane reporting:

Today the Waimakariri Passhendaele Trust in conjunction with the combined RSA held a service to commemorate the links forged between our two countries during the first world war but importantly on the 12 October
I know that Don Staples in Wellington has organised a similar service , as have the Auckland connection.
We will together lift the prominence of this day in New Zelands history
We will be thinking of you all today

the picture is from Luke Thomas, The Christchurch Mail

Don Staples reporting:

I am very pleased to report that we held a commemoration for the Passchendaele Offensive this morning at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

Attending were Belgium Ambassador, H.E. Mr Patrick Renault, First Secretary, Ms Sophie Hottat , Honorary Consul Mr Don Staples and Consulate Secretary Mr John Rolls. From the National War Memorial were the Chairman, Rear Admiral David Ledson (rtd) and Curator Mr Paul Riley. From the NZ Returned and Services’ Association, Mrs Margaret Snow and New Zealand Army, Colonel Mike Shapland. Also attending was the retired Belgian Consul Mr Rowland Woods and his wife Anita.

The order of ceremony was as follows:

· Respects paid at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

· Tolling of the Peace Bell (by me) during which Admiral Ledson escorted the party into the Hall of Memories.

· Laying of wreath by H.E. Renault and H.Consul Staples

· The Last Post - sounded by NZ Air Force Bugler

· The Ode recited by RSA representative, Mrs Margaret Snow

· Reveille

· HE signed the Visitors' Book

· Laying of poppies on Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
Particularly poignant was the sounding of the Peace Bell and the Last Post which resonated mystically within the beautiful marble lined confines of the memorial

Iain MacKenzie reporting:

I have just returned from our Commemoration Service at the Cenotaph outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It felt just right. We had a meeting afterwards in the Museum and there was agreement that we should repeat this type of commemoration service next year with something a bit more special in 2012 and of course 2017.

There was a wish for a bit more formality in the organising group with people indicating a preference for an " Auckland Passchendaele Society" which would meet more regularly so the next meeting will be hosted by the 3rd Auckland and Northland Regiment and we will further that idea.