Poppy places ready to grow

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - MALCOLM HOP­WOOD

A World War I re­lated cam­paign that’s lasted nearly a year is about to bear fruit.

Well-known busi­ness­man Steve Par­sons, ap­proached the City Coun­cil in De­cem­ber 2014 ask­ing that streets with a sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tion to World War I, be recog­nised.

Steve had been alerted to the New Zealand Poppy Places Trust es­tab­lished in 2014 to iden­tify places in New Zealand which have a link to our mil­i­tary in­volve­ment, and to recog­nise them with an RSA poppy.

He and his fam­ily live in Rus­sell Street, named af­ter Gen­eral Rus­sell, one of New Zealand’s mil­i­tary lead­ers at Gal­lipoli. In­volved in the Au­gust 6-7, 1915 as­sault on Chunuk Bair, Gen­eral Rus­sell and his men seized the foothills im­me­di­ately be­low. Later that year he suc­ceeded Gen­eral God­ley as com­man­der of the New Zealand and Aus­tralian Di­vi­sion at Gal­lipoli.

Iron­i­cally Rus­sell Street was orig­i­nally called Fritz Street, named for former mayor, Fritz Jensen who was of Nor­we­gian de­scent. How­ever, be­cause those ori­gins could be mis­in­ter­preted, the name was changed to Rus­sell St on Novem­ber 16, 1917.

Seven other Palmer­ston North lo­cal­i­ties have been iden­ti­fied – An­zac Park, Car­roll St, Chay­tor St, Marne St, Martin St, Ron­gopai St, and Union St.

Steve was keen for the street names to be recog­nised on An­zac Day, the cen­te­nary of the Gal­lipoli cam­paign, but is pleased archi- vist, Evan Green­sides, agreed to carry out the re­search and com­plete the project by Ar­mistice Day, Novem­ber 11.

"I’m de­lighted the City Coun­cil has seen the merit of my pro­posal and pleased it will be com­pleted while we can still com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary of Gal­lipoli.’’

The Poppy Places for Palmer­ston North ex­hi­bi­tion will be launched on Novem­ber 11 in City Li­brary with the poppy in­signia at­tached to the street signs around the same time.

‘‘The nam­ing of the streets keeps our mem­ory of World War One and the sac­ri­fices made by thou­sands of New Zealan­ders alive,’’ Steve says.

A dis­ap­point­ment is that that An­drew Ave isn’t in­cluded in the list. There’s strong ev­i­dence that it was named af­ter World War I VC win­ner, Les­lie An­drew, who was born in Ash­hurst and died in Palmer­ston North.

Cor­po­ral Les­lie An­drew was 20 when he re­ceived the VC for storm­ing three en­emy gun posts near Messines on the Western Front. An­drew Ave is be­tween Hulme and El­liott St, both named af­ter VC win­ners and near Upham and Ngarimu St, also named af­ter VC re­cip­i­ents.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Poppy Places for Palmer­ston North pro­moter Steve Par­sons with the Rus­sell St sign that will com­mem­o­rate Kiwi World War I com­man­der Ma­jor Gen­eral An­drew Hamil­ton Rus­sell with a poppy.

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