Armistice poppy wall at pit rim stays
The Poppy Wall by the Martha Pit Rim will stay, and proud families of war descendants were given replica poppies during Armistice Day commemorations on Sunday.
Project leader of the Lions Club World War I Centennial initiative, Kevin Corney, said Lions came up with the plan four years ago.
“We decided to find out all of the names of the people from our community that went to the war and we wanted to make poppies for each of them. I didn’t just want it to be those that were killed in action but all of those who had served.”
They wanted the memorial to be visual and it took a lot of time and help from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
“In our research there were 420 people from this community who went overseas. It’s not a definitive list as we made our cut-off who were living in the greater Waihi area when they enlisted.”
The feedback about the poppies had been fantastic, he said. The project coincided with the Lions’ 50th anniversary in Waihi and initially the poppies were going to be taken down after Armistice Day but would stay due to public support.
He acknowledged the work of fellow Lions and says it was great to give about 60 poppies back to family members.
Allan Morpeth’s father Gerald survived the war, Gallipoli and the Somme. He kept a diary of his experience that wasn’t discovered until 2000 which Alan published in 2008.
Entitled The Waiheathens at Gallipoli it recounts how Gerald went to war with brothers Allan, George, Robert, Moore and Sloan. Allan and Moore were killed in action.
“He was very strict with me and when I read the diary, I thought I am a chip off the old block. His diary was really interesting and pretty wild because he had a great writing flair.”
“The bombs are bad, shrapnel, rifle and maxim fire cannot get you in a good trench but a bomb in a trench is bad. Best scheme is to put an overcoat or sack over the bomb and jump away and lie flat as quick as you can.” Allan accepted poppies on behalf of his father andhis uncle Sloan.
“Moving” was how Chris Inglis described accepting three poppies alongside her sister Lauren and mother Ruth. The trio honoured their great uncles John Nicholson, killed in action and Angus who made it home, plus Ruth’s father Robert.
Chris Inglis (centre) accepted three poppies alongside her sister Lauren and mother Ruth.
Allan Morpeth’s father Gerald survived the war and battles at Gallipoli and the Somme.