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.