How many did serve?
Re: Whose freedom, rights? October 5 letter.
Another brilliant letter from Roger Handford — thank you. He concludes by saying, “we need to remember our forebears such as the Maori Battalion and many, many others, gave their all . . .”
I have tried unsuccessfully to find out the number of others, from here, who served in the World Wars. I wonder if your readership might educate me?
I was raised in Timaru and did my CMT (compulsory military training) in Burnham military camp in 1957. I was a rifleman in the 1st Canterbury Regiment. I used to tell trainees at work not to mess with me, as I was a government-trained killer, but for some reason it never seemed to work too well.
I arrived in Gisborne in 1978 and over the intervening years have met men who served as pilots in the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm. I used to visit a gentleman who was a squadron leader in the Indian Air Force and had won the DSO. Does anyone know how many people served in both the First and Second World Wars from here?
A lot of my relatives served in either the 1st or 2nd World Wars and some have not returned. My mother's first fiance lies in Doullons Military Cemetery in France. He was born in Peebles in Scotland and emigrated to New Zealand. His headstone bears his name, rank and serial number, his regiment, the Silver Fern and the words New Zealand.
Footnote from Ed: We couldn't find the answer to your questions either, trying several avenues, but the number of locals who died in the two World Wars can be found on the Gisborne Cenotaph. It lists 575 men from this district who died during World War 1, and a further four tablets were added after World War 2 listing another 474 war dead.
From these numbers we can estimate from the death rate nationally — about 18,000 of 100,000 New Zealanders who served in WW1, and 12,000 of 140,000 who served in WW2 — that around 3195 locals served in WW1 and 5530 in WW2.