Brave, ded­i­cated men hon­oured

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - SVEN HERSEL­MAN

A 21 gun salute rang out over the Tua­ma­rina Ceme­tery on Wed­nes­day in hon­our of the Marl­bor­ough men who fought and died in ser­vice of their coun­try in the Sec­ond South African War.

A com­mem­o­ra­tive ser­vice was held to re­mem­ber the 11 men who left New Zealand shores for a for­eign land and for­eign war far from their homes, but never re­turned.

The war, also called the Boer War, marked the first time Ki­wis took part in an over­seas war. While the war was ul­ti­mately cre­ated by Bri­tish of­fi­cials to gain con­trol of South Africa’s rich gold and di­a­mond de­posits, for the Kiwi sol­diers it was a chance to serve the Bri­tish Em­pire.

Such was their ded­i­ca­tion that the first men pro­vided their own weapons, equip­ment and horses.

Marl­bor­ough Dis­trict coun­cil­lor Cyn­thia Brooks is the grand­daugh­ter of Li­onel Wil­liam Her­bert Vi­cary, one of the men who went over to fight. She read from his diary, which gave an ac­count of the fi­nal months of the war were he served from Jan­uary to July 1902.

In it he speaks of the hard­ships they faced as well as the heart wrench­ing story of the horses they took over. ‘‘The horses played a vi­tal role in the life of a New Zealand soldier in South­ern Africa.

‘‘De­spite the sol­diers show­ing their mounts the ut­most care, the voy­age took its toll on the horses,’’ Cyn­thia says. Only one horse, named Ma­jor, ever re­turned home.

A fi­nal ex­cerpt from the diary reads: ‘‘June 1st very good day. Peace was signed at 12 o’clock last night. Horse graz­ing in the af­ter­noon. Church pa­rade in the evening.’’

‘‘June 1st very good day. Peace was signed at 12 o’clock last night. ’’

PHOTO: SVEN HERSEL­MAN/FAIR­FAX NZ

LionelWil­liam Her­bert Vi­cary Marl­bor­ough RSA mem­bers Brian Sel­wyn, left, and John Dod­son pay their re­spects.

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