Un­told war tale

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JAMES GREEN­LAND

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.

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