Untold war tale
Whitby man Dale Williamson has written and published a book examining the New Zealand Coastwatching service.
For Special Duty Outside New Zealand: The New Zealand Coastwatching Service During WW-II traces the origin and deployments of the coastwatchers, who served the war effort from both domestic and foreign shores.
Much of the book’s detail focuses on units deployed to remote Pacific islands charged with operating communications equipment. Some of these New Zealanders were captured and executed by the Japanese.
Dale’s father, Jim Williamson, served briefly as a surveyor on the small atoll of Suwarrow and was part of his inspiration to tell the coastwatchers’ story.
Mr Williamson says the men’s contributions have largely been forgotten, despite the then-government’s assurance they would be remembered.
‘‘ There weren’t very many people involved and those that were didn’t want to talk about it,’’ he says. ‘‘What I wanted to do was get the story out there because it’s a story that hasn’t really been told.’’
Before this project Mr Williamson, a strategy, policy and planning advisor for the public service, had only written academic essays.
The book took 10 years to complete, he says and cost well over $1000 in photocopying fees at the national archives.
It was never intended to be a profitmaker, he says. Fifty to 60 copies have been sold so far.
Mr Williamson describes his book as a labour of love, completed through ‘‘stupid dedication’’.
Next on his agenda is a book studying the military history of Greater Wellington. For Special Duty Outside New Zealand is on sale at Capital Books, Wellington.
Not forgotten: Dale Williamson with his new book, which examines the New Zealand Coastwatching service during World War II.