Saturday, 23 April 2016

New Zealand Defence Force Military Contingent Pilgrimage in Passchendaele

At 's Graventafel memorial

In the lead up to ANZAC day , the NZDF military contingent was doing a battleffield tour as a pilgrimage to remember and honour their forebears who are here in Flanders since 1917. 
21 April was a moving day for all the participants with a some special moments at the memorials and gravestones. During the tour we went to the places were their ancestors were buried but also the places where they have been buried in a field grave or where they were missing or killed in action.
together listening to the stories at Tyne Cot

location field grave John Hunter
Elisabeth paying respect to John Hunter, a family member
John Hunter was one of the only 4 victims of the Maori Pioneer Battalion (MPBn) who have been killed in October 1917 in this region. John Hunter is the only one of the MPBn who is buried on Tyne Cot. We are quit sure that he and his comrades have been shelled and brought to the nearest post where they could be helped. This was at Schuler Galleries, behind Schuler Farm. Unfortunately John died soon after he was wounded and they give him a field grave in the vicinity of this stretcher bearer relay post. During our research we find out in his personal military file that he was buried on another spot than what has been recorded on the burial return sheet from the CWGC. We are quite sure that the location on the burial return sheet is the correct one.

  Another place we visited is the site where the James Gilbert and William Friar have been wounded on the same day, 12 October 1917, in the same company and very near to each other. William Frier followed the medical chain to St Jean, Ypres and then to Nine Elms in Poperinge. He was brought over to the hospital in Boulogne France, about 130 Km from Passchendaele but unfortunately he died at the General Hospital in Boulogne on November 5th 1917.
Both were wounded at Belle Vue, this shows the 3th Bn Coys of CO LtCol Winter Evans who disappeared that day. His name is on the Memorial for the Missing NZ-ers at the apse on Tyne Cot

James Gilbert was badly wounded but survived the war. Both were in D company 3Bn 3th Rifle Brigade on 12/10/1917. What we discovered very recently is that William Friar is the Grandfather of Te Kani Te Wiata, the ceremonial warrant officer of the NZDF group and James Gilbert is the Great Grandfather of Te Kani s' wife Angela.
at the Memorial for the Missing New Zealanders

praying before entering the German Cemetery in Langemark

Te Kani Te Wiata, ceremonial warrant officer of the group coming into the German Cemetery

paying respect to the German victims

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