100 Riders for 100 years ANZAC Memorial Service at Waikari

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe service at Waikari went off without a hitch (as far as I could see).  Horses and riders had breakfasted at 4.30am for their dawn service at The Peaks Hall then ridden 20km on paved roads to parade past the Hawarden Memorial and on to Waikari for our late morning service where they were joined by the local pipe band.

The effort put in by the volunteer riders and supporters in drilling, arranging kit and just pulling it all together really paid off.  52 riders were in full WWI kit (52 of the Mounted Rifles from Hawarden/Waikari remain in Gallipoli, Palestine or France), 5 riders were provided by the Australian Defence Force and participants came from near and far, at least one horse and rider from Auckland.

Something went wrong with my exposures but for what it’s worth there is a selection of photos below and following links to TV coverage.

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As most of the viewers of this blog aren’t in Australia or NZ a note on flags.  Australia extends north of the equator and the flag has both the S0uthern Cross and the Pole Star on it, NZ has only the Southern Cross.

TV coverage here: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/saddling-up-in-north-canterbury-special-anzac-service-video-6277559

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Glenroy war memorial and Mt Somers

A note on memorials, there are over 900 war memorials around New Zealand, most are in the obelisk form and like this one at Glenroy in mid-Canterbury (yesterday) many are in the middle of nowhere marking what 100 years ago was a town, village or central area to a tight-knit rural community.  They represent a national out-pouring of grief at the loss of 20% of a generation in the ‘stiff upper lip”  British culture of the time.  A few are sculptures and for more information on individual memorials and where they are, go to the NZ war memorials register here and here and here. While most were erected after WWI (and include the Boer War) they have been added to with names from WWII, Korea, Malay Insurgency and Vietnam.  A handful may have now been amended to include Afghanistan and Iraq.

The only poem/song about a war memorial I am aware of comes from Australia where ‘the unknown warrior’ seems to be a common image.

John Williamson “Forty Years Ago”

“A Digger stands at the end of the street his rifle upside down.
He died when a woman could walk alone anywhere in town.
If she’s not safe in years of peace why did he go to war?
What was the purpose?
What was the glory?
What was he fighting for?”
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