Harry showed value of work
Pukenui’s Harry Lamb is one of three New Zealand soldiers who survived World War I whose stories have been remembered in WW100’s latest campaign, Finding Our Way Back.
He did not return home unscathed however, but with an artificial arm. Grandson Nigel Herring remembered that some had called him Harry Hook, or Harry Hookum, behind his back.
Harry was wounded by artillery fire eight days after his brother died in battle on the Western Front. With a shattered elbow, he hauled himself three miles in knee-deep mud to a field ambulance station. His arm was amputated, and he was sent home with the prosthetic that gave him his nickname.
As part of his rehabilitation he underwent 72 days’ training in shorthand, bookkeeping and typing, but, with good money being paid for kauri gum, he learned to dig the Far North swamps despite his disability.
“Harry is a great example of the Kiwi can-do attitude,” Mr
"He started with next to nothing. Everything he achieved was done by hard work and sheer bloodymindedness. How many other one-armed gum diggers were out there?"
Grandson Nigel Herring on Harry Lamb
“He started with next to nothing. Everything he achieved was done by hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness. How many other one-armed gum diggers were out there?”
Later, granted land at Pukenui under the Discharged Soldiers’ Settler Scheme, he became a successful farmer despite the difficulty of clearing and ploughing land and milking cows with an artificial limb.
He gave his name to Lamb Rd, and Lamb’s Bridge, on SH1 at Pukenui.
Senior digital adviser Matthew Tonks said WW100 was designed to reflect New Zealand’s experience on the battlefields of Turkey, Europe and the Middle East, and on the home front. Almost 10 per cent of New Zealand’s population served in World War I, and the journeys back for those who survived took many different routes.
The trauma experienced by returning soldiers and nurses affected them and their families in untold ways, the government supporting them by way of training, loans, land settlements, pensions and rehabilitation schemes.
Pukenui veteran Harry Lamb is one three World War I soldiers who featured in WW100’s latest campaign.