In my previous post about Wellington I shared my photos of my walk from Wellington Station along the waterfront to Te Papa. I also did a blog post about visiting Te Papa – Museum of New Zealand‘s Gallipoli exhibition
One of the places that I would have stopped longer, if it hadn’t been so cold, was this memorial wall at Frank Kitts Park. But I thought it was worth sharing a few of the memorial plaques I did quickly stop to view. I just wish I’d had more time as these looked very interesting, so I’m sharing a handful below.
The 25 Infantry Battalion was made up of those from the Wellington, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay areas. They served in North Africa – Egypt, Libya and Tunisia as well as in Europe in Greece and Italy.
Extract from http://www.russianconvoyclub.org.nz/RussianConvoys.htm
From August 1941 to May 1945 more than forty convoys totalling 792 ships were sailed outward and 739 returned; some sailed independently. Sixty-two ships were sunk on outward passages and twenty-eight on the return journey, with a loss of 829 lives. The Royal Navy lost two cruisers and seventeen other ships with 1,840 officers and men. At this great price some four million tons of supplies valued at GBP428,000,000 were delivered to Russia.
Extracts from NZ Herald article about the unveiling of the Second Battalion plaque.
On a freezing, windy, raining Wellington day nearly 60 years ago the TSS Captain Cook departed with the last batch of troops to fight in the Malayan Emergency.
It took 19 days for the Captain Cook to reach Malaya, now Malaysia, and the men arrived to blistering heat and locals who did not want to speak with them.
The soldiers stayed in Malaya for two years conducting counter terrorist operations in the northern jungle areas of the States of Perak and Kelantan, south of Thailand’s border.
Since this time, New Zealand’s armed forces have only been involved in peace keeping and humanitarian missions around the world.
Taken from the plaque –
On 31 October 1944, 733 Polish refugee children and 105 adult caregivers sailed into Wellington Harbour on the USS General Randall. On 1 November, they settled in the Polish Children’s Camp in Pahiatua.
They had been invited by Rt Hon Peter Fraser, Prime Minister of New Zealand, for the remainder of World War II. They had lost their homes and family members following the 1939 German invasion of Poland, the occupation of Eastern Poland by the USSR and subsequent deportations of 1,700,000 Polish people to the USSR.
In 1941, after being attacked by Germany, the USSR joined Allies, granted “amnesty” to Polish deportees, allowed the formation of the Polish Army in the USSR and agreed to its subsequent evacuation to Iran (Persia) to fight the common enemy. However, only 120,000 soldiers and civilians were evacuated, before mass graves of thousands of Polish officers, murdered by Soviet Secret Police, were discovered in the Katyn Forest. The USSR denied responsibility, but halted the amnesty. After two years in Iran, the 733 children who had been part of the evacuation from the USSR arrived in New Zealand. At the end of the war they were to return to Poland. However, the Yalta Agreement ruled this out. Eastern Poland was annexed by the USSR and the rest of the country was under communist domination. It was unsafe for the children to return to their homeland, so most accepted the Government’s offer to stay in New Zealand. They became self-sufficient, hard-working loyal citizens and 60 years later, together with their families, they say thank you to the New Zealand Government, New Zealand Army, Catholic Church, caregivers, teachers and all who extended a helping hand.
Thank you all and God bless “Bóg Zapłać”
New Zealand had no official involvement in the Spanish Civil War and few people from New Zealand took part.
If you are interested in learning more of New Zealand’s involvement and those who served in the Spanish Civil War, you may like to read the section on the excellent NZ History website.
The following extract from waymarking.com
With the advent of World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, it was critical to set up bases in the Pacific theater, especially with the threat of Japan. New Zealand was an obvious choice because of its strategic location and it needed help in strengthening its defenses since some of their forces were engaged in the Middle East. New Zealand was an ideal launching point and for stockpiling supplies. On June 14, 1942, the first Marines arrived at Aotea Quay in Wellington. Over the next two years, 400,000 American troops passed through New Zealand — the Marine Corps at Wellington and the U. S. Army at Auckland.
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This is a story that demands more attention……
I knew we took children from the UK but I didn’t realise about the Polish children.
There is a fascinating story someplace here. I wonder how many other countries took in Polish children. I never understood the extent of Poland’s losses during World War II until I watched the documentary “The Fallen” a few days ago.
If you want to view it, the link, http://www.fallen.io/ww2/, will take you to a short, data-driven documentary that explores the mortality statistics of World War II. With the use of very sophisticated graphics, it conveys nearly incomprehensible information in a manner which people can begin to understand. I say “begin to understand”, because the magnitude is almost beyond understanding. I have never seen anything like it.
If you choose to visit the site, click on the button marked “INTERACTIVE” to begin the presentation. Below that button you will see a section marked “ticket price”. Don’t worry about that. The presentation is without charge. After clicking on the “INTERACTIVE” button, another screen will appear. Click on the standard start arrow to begin the documentary.
I think you will enjoy the graphic sophistication of the presentation.