Her­itage Bell peals for war dead

Bush Telegraph - - FOCUS ON FARMING - By WAR­REN JONES Web­mas­ter Woodville Lions Club

Un­der a cold grey sky, smartly at 1050 hours, a lone bell — at least a cen­tury-old taonga from from Woodville’s first Catholic Church — rang out 87 times across Woodville’s Foun­taine Square, cap­tur­ing the at­ten­tion of sev­eral hun­dreds as­sem­bled last Sun­day.

Its voice, to­gether with threat­en­ing skies over­head, painted a dra­matic back­drop around those gath­ered to com­mem­o­rate sign­ing of the armistice, a treaty to end the first global con­flict, the Great War, which was said to sig­nal the end of all wars.

Woodville, like most ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties of the era, cheer­ily sent the flower of its youth to serve “at King Ge­orge V’s plea­sure” into what was to be­come one of his­tory’s worstever char­nel houses.

Al­though the vil­lage ceno­taph pays trib­ute to 81 fallen sol­diers, a Woodville’s RSA re­searcher’s ef­forts un­earthed a fur­ther six un­recorded com­pan­ions, so the day’s ser­vice high­lighted the sac­ri­fice of 87 men.

The ex­tent of this loss was made es­pe­cially poignant through an in­stalled field of pop­pies, a three-di­men­sional em­blem of Flan­ders fields, made for the day by pupils of nearby Kumeroa and Pa­p­atawa Schools. Eighty-seven pi­geons were re­leased that hope­fully re­turned home safely to Ash­hurst.

Neat ar­rays of real pop­pies, grown for the oc­ca­sion, added fur­ther colour to the field.

The event, MCd by Jim Wor­boys of Woodville RSA and ser­vice of com­mem­o­ra­tion by Vicar Rosie McMil­lan, was sup­ported by a pol­ished, high qual­ity pre­sen­ta­tion from 2 Work­shop Coy, Lin­ton Mil­i­tary Camp, led by CSM An­drew McDou­gal.

A two-minute si­lence was ob­served sharp on 11am, and wreaths were laid on the ceno­taph in a man­ner re­flect­ing the solem­nity of the mo­ment.

Ev­ery­one at the ser­vice was moved by the at­mos­phere around the square, tes­ti­fy­ing to huge ef­forts con­tributed by many lo­cal folk in the months lead­ing up to the com­mem­o­ra­tion.

Or­gan­ised by Woodville RSA, to­gether with the Angli­can Church and Woodville Dis­tricts Vi­sion, the ser­vice con­cluded with re­fresh­ments for the vil­lage’s se­nior cit­i­zens, army and guests in the Sta­dium Hall.

RSA Re­searcher Bryan D James pre­sented his book com­mem­o­rat­ing the ser­vice his­tory of all Woodville’s fallen sons to CSM McDou­gal.

Copies of the book were also gifted to Woodville Li­brary and the Na­tional Archive.

Eighty-seven re­cy­cled art pop­pies made by Kumeroa and Pa­p­atawa school stu­dents de­pict Flan­ders fields in Foun­taine Square, each one com­mem­o­rat­ing a fallen son of Woodville.

CSM An­drew McDou­gal leads 2Work­shop Coy on to Woodville's Foun­taine Square.

Part of the crowd as­sem­bled at Foun­taine Square to com­mem­o­rate Armistice Day in Woodville.

CSM An­drew McDou­gal, 2 Work­shop Coy, Lin­ton MC re­ceiv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion copy of Bryan James' book de­tail­ing all eighty-seven fallen World War I ser­vice­men, from Ian Daly, Pres­i­dent Woodville RSA.

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