The un­cle I never met

The Dominion Post - - Opinion -

Dur­ing this time of re­mem­brance, my thoughts go to an un­cle of mine and to many oth­ers from a for­got­ten group, who lie buried in Feather­ston Ceme­tery.

Of course, I never met my mother’s brother, Sec­ond Lieu­tenant James Alexan­der Melville, who can­not be of­fi­cially re­mem­bered as a war ca­su­alty.

Hav­ing been in the army in Egypt and sur­vived sev­eral of the Great War bat­tles, he re­turned to New Zealand in 1918 and went in to Feather­ston Camp. There, 165 sol­diers suc­cumbed to the in­fluenza which swept the world and had been car­ried home on troop ships.

My mother told me of the hor­ren­dous train jour­ney she and her mother took from Ro­torua to Feather­ston to see him, only to find they were too late. They weren’t al­lowed to see his body. He had passed away just days af­ter the Armistice was signed, aged 26.

Over the years I and other fam­ily mem­bers have made the pil­grim­age to that ceme­tery, where J A Melville is one of 165 buried there and re­mem­bered on a spe­cial memo­rial.

I sin­cerely trust that group know that they are not for­got­ten.

Mar­garet Melville Dun­ton, Tau­ranga

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