Byfield & District in rural SW Northants.' NZ TWIN
Templeton is a small town just to the west of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.
Message from Templeton RSA's President to Byfield & District RBL, April 2018...
"Thanks for your enquiry and, yes we would like to 'twin' with you and be able to share news, views and other tidbits, and perhaps even to visit somewhere down the line.
We already have a sharing arrangement with Delungra (inland NSW in Australia) and it has provided considerable contact between our two organisations.
To that end I have enclosed copies of our ANZAC Day programme (see below) and the poem read by Judith Ackroyd (see this Website's Poetry page). An interesting poem, found amongst the belongings of the poem's reader's great uncle after he died.
It was a hectic two weeks for the Club executive committee leading up to ANZAC Day on 25th April, with so much to do but it paid off, as many expressed their views - they enjoyed the day. It obviously meant something to them, being present and being able to make the most of the exceptionally good weather and the company of others who attended. It was great to see your Vice Chairperson Joy's father John Carr there as we have been missing him lately. He is our sole remaining WWII veteran now, and we have only a handful from the Korean theatre; they are valued members also.
Many attended the 0600 dawn service at the front gates of the Burnham Military Camp which was the usual spectacle. They have two NZ Army sentries posted on the wall by the gate and two Maori warriors in traditional garb (grass skirt and woven bandolier complete with taiaha - carved spear). This year there was also the troop of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles wearing the WW1 clothing and accoutrements. The welcome is a traditional one in Maori by a kuia (senior lady) which is a haunting experience with the keening involved. It was well attended by local dignitaries and residents alike.
We are really fortunate at Templeton as the Templeton Primary School next door really support us and they had a 20-strong choir leading the National Anthem and singing the ANZAC song. Two senior pupils also spoke and read a poem.
We too had the Mounted Rifles troop in attendance and it was fascinating for the public and all who attended. Our padre is a NZ Defence Force chaplain and he led the prayers and benediction. We had wreathes laid by the RSA, Local Community Board (Christchurch City Council), Navy, RNZAF, NZ Police, Corrections staff from the nearby prisons, Girl Guides, Scouts and members of the community. We are also supported by the Caledonian Pipe Band who also provided the Lone Piper for the lament. The bugler was a member of the NZ Army Band, Hayden CULLEN. There was about 400 people in attendance from the community and overall it was an excellent day.
In the afternoon two members conducted commemorative services at two of our local Rest Homes much to the appreciation of the residents there.
Whilst the 100th anniversary of the RAF was commemorated on 1 April very little was done locally but representatives from the NZDF went to England and attended some of their services there.
Our focus this year is further developing the Club and celebrating our 80th anniversary along with the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, both in November this year.
NOTES from Byfield & District RBL:
We had a speaker last year (2017) who told us about Lt. William Rhodes Moorhouse VC, a WW1 pilot who was the first flyer to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Recently, another speaker also mentioned him - and reminded us that his parents came from NZ and his mother was of Maori descent.
We claim him as a Northamptonshire lad because he did spend many of his younger years here in our county. However he was born in London and eventually lived in Dorsetshire, where he was buried.
NOTES from down under:
Thanks Terry, yes, that sounds very interesting. I didn't recognise the Rhodes Moorhouse name but I will certainly look the documentary up. Things are fairly quiet at the moment and we are still trying to get used to the cold and rain as we had such a warm summer! Last Saturday night we had the Ellesmere Big Band in the club playing for the Wartime Theme Dance. What a great night it was too - the band is 120 years old based in the wee town of Leeston (near Lake Ellesmere) but well supported through the generations of band members. The costuming was very 'period' and the dancing reminiscent of that era - minus the tobacco fug though! It must be getting warmer up there in Byfield. We haven't had a speaker in for a while but heard of Jack Marshall DFC who was a WW2 pilot who gave a great talk at a rest-home recently so we will try and look him up.
The 2nd Great Pilgrimage 90 years on (since the first)...
From 05 to 09 August 2018, our Standard Bearer Chris, and our elected Wreath Bearer Bob joined more than two thousand other RBL Members on the second Great Pilgrimage to Ypres in Belgium, to commemorate the beginning of the last 100 days of the First World War. Whilst there, they were able to take a little time to pay homage to those from New Zealand who fell in that awful conflict. There are a couple of images below that record the Memorials to some of those who died in Caterpillar Valley on the Somme.