Poppy places ready to grow
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.
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.