Re­mem­ber­ing Pass­chen­daele

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JENNY LING

Four fallen sol­diers from Kaeo will be re­mem­bered with a free out­door screen­ing of pho­to­graphs to mark the cen­te­nary of Pass­chen­daele.

Archie Cruller, James Les­lie, James’ older brother John Les­lie, and Bert Snow­den were among the 843 New Zealand sol­diers killed at Pass­chen­daele.

All four men lost their lives on Oc­to­ber 12, 1917 at the sec­ond bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele in Flan­ders, Bel­gium dur­ing World War I.

The failed at­tack on Belle­vue Spur on that day was prob­a­bly the great­est disas­ter in New Zealand’s his­tory in terms of lives lost in a sin­gle day.

Whangaroa Armed Ser­vices Com­mem­o­ra­tions Group spokesman Alistair Kay says the cen­te­nary events will be of­fi­cially opened with a Ser­vice of Remembrance and flag-low­er­ing cer­e­mony at the roll of hon­our out­side the Whangaroa Me­mo­rial Hall in Kaeo on Oc­to­ber 12 at 7pm.

Pic­tures of the men, and other im­ages taken at the bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele, will be pro­jected onto the wall of the Wes­ley­dale Me­mo­rial Church in Leigh St, in the cen­tre of Kaeo, on the evenings of Oc­to­ber 12 and 13 from sun­set on­wards.

‘‘Trib­ute pen­nants’’ – printed flags de­pict­ing the four sol­diers - will also be on dis­play in the Far North District Coun­cil ser­vice cen­tre and pub­lic li­brary in Kaeo and the main street will be dec­o­rated with red ‘‘pop­pies’’ in planter boxes.

‘‘Pass­chen­daele was pos­si­bly the most fu­tile and hor­rific bat­tle of a very hor­rific war,’’ Kay says.

‘‘But for four men from such a small town to die in one day must have had a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on fam­i­lies and friends left be­hind in such a small com­mu­nity.’’

The men were all farm work­ers. Their bod­ies were never found.

De­scen­dant of the Les­lie brothers’, Gra­ham Les­lie, will be at­tend­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tions.

‘‘I re­spect them for what they did,’’ he says.

Kay says the bat­tle was an in­cred­i­ble waste of life.

‘‘It’s sad that 843 New Zealan­ders died in a com­pletely fu­tile bat­tle and hundreds more died from wounds that they re­ceived that day.’’

Around 80 im­ages will be in­cluded in the slideshow, and Kay warns that some im­ages might be ‘‘a bit shock­ing’’ for younger mem­bers of the pub­lic.

The com­mem­o­ra­tions have been or­gan­ised by the Whangaroa Armed Ser­vices Com­mem­o­ra­tions Group and Cre­ative Com­mu­ni­ties North­land.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the events, con­tact the Whangaroa armed ser­vices group on their Face­book page.

De­scen­dant Gra­ham Les­lie stands be­side the Les­lie brothers’ me­mo­rial plaque in­side the All Saints Church in Kaeo.

Archie ‘‘Boy’’ Cruller, born 1895.

John Ge­orge Les­lie, born 1872.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.