Unknown soldiers’ photos discovered
‘‘It is only assumed that they are from the Roll of Honour.’’
When Glenn Hansen went looking for spaces at the Kaponga War Memorial Hall he found more than he bargained for - he found a forgotten piece of history.
Hansen, the community development advisor for the South Taranaki District Council, discovered an old frame with 20 photographs of soldiers scattered around inside it.
‘‘It was in a very neglected state but contained photographs of soldiers from World War I,’’ he said. ’’There are no legible names on the photos and it is only assumed that they are from the Roll of Honour on the Victoria Park entrance.’’
The WWI Roll of Honour has around 30 names on it and despite the fact it is only an assumption that the two are linked, these mystery men have been dubbed the ‘Kaponga Military Heroes’.
Hansen found the frame in the old, cobweb-filled cinema room behind the hall in April and no one knows how long the it had been there.
He contacted Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki district archivist Cameron Curd and asked what to do next.
‘‘I said ‘look I’ve found these really cool photographs, is there a way we could enhance these and I could give them back to the community?’’’ Hansen said.
Over the months that followed Curd enhanced the photographs, put the originals into the archives, and created a poster to fit the frame. Hansen cleaned up the original frame as best he could before presenting the final product to the Kaponga RSA.
Alistair Abbott, the president of the Kaponga RSA, said he and the members were pleasantly surprised by the part of history.
Abbott has a vague memory of the frame and its contents, but has no idea where he had seen it that is the next mystery.
Hansen said when he cleaned up the frame there were about four different colours of paint splattered on the frame indicating it was once on a wall somewhere and been painted around, or moved around often.
The mystery of the frame and the identities of the men has led locals to reach out but it will be difficult.
However, Abbott expressed his concern that his grandfather was too young to go to WWI, and he died decades ago - how would they ever identify these men?
Hansen said this was the next project, and he hoped they could one day redo the poster and have names of the heroes attached.
Alistair Abbott, the Kaponga RSA president, is concerned about finding out the identities of the mystery men. Glenn Hansen