New home for plaque to fallen sol­diers

The Southland Times - - News - Stuff re­porter

It was meant to be the war that ended all wars, but un­for­tu­nately it wasn’t.

But now some of the names of those who sac­ri­ficed their lives dur­ing World War I are on dis­play at Makarewa School.

An hon­ours board that had been on dis­play in the St Stephens Pres­by­te­rian Church was reded­i­cated to the school yes­ter­day, ahead of Ar­mistice Day to­mor­row.

Church spokesman Peter Noble said the church had been pri­vately pur­chased sev­eral years ago and with South­land re­searcher Ann Rob­bie’s help, they were able to bring the board across to the school.

‘‘It’s an hon­our that it’s go­ing to a good home in the com­mu­nity,’’ Noble said. ‘‘The chil­dren will recog­nise some of the names on that board, it’s a con­nec­tion to the past.’’

When speak­ing to the chil­dren, Noble said Makarewa was such a small place and the num­ber of men miss­ing from the com­mu­nity at the time of the war would have been no­tice­able.

‘‘It’s a re­minder of the sac­ri­fice made all those years ago. To have all those peo­ple miss­ing would have been sad.’’

Rob­bie has been on a hunt for South­land hon­our boards for about 20 years, with an es­ti­mated 90 per cent be­ing un­earthed, but some were still miss­ing. ‘‘I know some were lost in the [1984] floods,’’ she said.

The hunt for th­ese boards was a ‘‘mad pas­sion’’, she said, but she did not want them to be lost.

NZ Army Sergeant Zane Lang­ford also spoke at the reded­i­ca­tion and said wars were fought to spread mes­sages.

‘‘The New Zea­land De­fence Force goes around the world to say it’s not okay to be a bully.’’

Mean­while, Christchurch woman has put to­gether three pod­casts bring­ing two South­land sol­dier’s diaries to life. Robyn An­der­son, who is a writer, re­ceived a Can­ter­bury RSA Re­search Schol­ar­ship ear­lier this year which en­abled her to do re­search in Eng­land on World War I.

The diaries are of her hus­band’s grand­fa­ther, Wil­liam An­der­son, and of Eric Ry­burn, whose dairy was found at the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum in Lon­don.

Ra­dio sta­tion Plains FM, of Christchurch, made the pod­casts with the nar­ra­tor be­ing Christchurch broad­cast­ing school tu­tor Mark Aldridge. Christchurch stu­dents Henry Warner and Jack Mil­ner were the voices of Wil­liam and Eric.

Robyn said she wanted ‘‘young voices and not old voices’’ for the roles of Wil­liam and Eric, who were 23 and 21, re­spec­tively, when they left New Zea­land in 1916.

When lis­ten­ing to the pod­casts Robyn feels she is liv­ing the lives of both men.

Pic­tured, from left, Fiona For­rest, pres­i­dent of the Lorneville RSA, Zane Lang­ford, back, Ann Rob­bie, pupil Ben Spence, 7, and Bill South dur­ing the reded­i­ca­tion of the WWI Hon­ours Board from the sold St Stephens church, at Makarewa, to Makarewa School yes­ter­day. PHO­TOS: ROBYN EDIE/STUFF

The WWI Hon­ours Board from the sold St Stephens church, at Makarewa, was reded­i­cated at Makarewa School yes­ter­day.

Bill South, left, and Zane Lang­ford, speak to the chil­dren at Makarewa School yes­ter­day.

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