Thir­teen to be com­mem­o­rated

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

They served their coun­try in dif­fer­ent wars and are not buried side by side, but the Ryan broth­ers will soon get a per­ma­nent re­minder of their sac­ri­fice.

Tawa’s $170,000 me­mo­rial has bro­ken ground and it is ex­pected to be opened with an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony on April 22, be­fore be­ing the fo­cus of the sub­urb’s An­zac Day com­mem­o­ra­tions three days later.

His­to­rian Bruce Mur­ray said among the 13 names that will be on the three bronze plaques of ser­vice­men from the Tawa dis­trict who died in the South African, First and Sec­ond World wars, broth­ers Thomas and De­nis Ryan are worth re­call­ing.

‘‘Th­ese were guys, the youngest of a big fam­ily, who were farm­ers making a dif­fer­ence in this area, but they felt the pull of serv­ing the mother coun­try [Bri­tain] when the call came.

‘‘Trooper De­nis Ryan had to pay for his own horse and his own way to South Africa in 1899 - it was a dif­fer­ent world then, with such an ex­u­ber­ance about the Em­pire.’’

A mem­ber of the 1st Con­tin­gent to South Africa, Ryan was in ac­tion in the Cape Colony, but it wasn’t wounds that put his life in peril.

The 20-year-old con­tracted dysen­tery and, in hos­pi­tal, it was dis­cov­ered he had di­a­betes.

‘‘In­sulin wasn’t dis­cov­ered un­til 1921, so he was in trou­ble,’’ Mur­ray said.

In­valided home, Ryan was re­ceived as a hero at Porirua Rail- way Sta­tion on Oc­to­ber 28, 1900, there was a pro­ces­sion through Tawa Flat for him, but he died on Oc­to­ber 30.

Thomas Ryan also went to South Africa, but ar­rived in Fe­bru­ary, 1902, and the war fin­ished a month later.

Farm­ing in Tawa Flat from 1902 on­wards, he was 39 when he de­cided to en­list in 1916, dur­ing WWI.

Mur­ray said al­though Ryan had flat feet, his med­i­cal exam at Tren­tham stated Ryan ‘‘does hard bush work and never tires’’.

A ri­fle­man in France, Ryan died at Frem­incourt in Au­gust, 1918.

He is buried at Ban­court Bri­tish Ceme­tery in France.

Of the 13 names on the me­mo­rial, two served in the South African War, five in WWI and six in WWII. The youngest was 19 and the old­est 45.

Mur­ray said it was won­der­ful to see the me­mo­rial, be­ing built ad­ja­cent to Grasslees Re­serve, un­der way.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

The graves of broth­ers De­nis, left, and Thomas Ryan (a head­stone only) at Porirua Ceme­tery.

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