|At marae throughout Aotearoa young men were mourned. Some of our finest future leaders never came home from war.|
Alister Te Ariki Campbell lived just up the road from us in Pukerua Bay, he wrote about war:
"The light of adventure that shone so brightly in our eyes when we set out was extinguished that day. Young men from the farms, the mines, the cities, the public schools, we died in a vast quagmire of blood and broken bodies. No one told us it would be like this."
|Animals played a big part in the war. As well as providing more practical service, they also provided emotional support and comfort.|
Pte. T P Noonan, Auckland, with the mascot NZASC Bruno of the No 1 Platoon. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: PA1-q-305-0071. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22780140
|Bess, one of only four horses of the 18,000 who went to WW1 who returned home after the war.|
There's a great interview at this link about the four horses who returned, Bess, Beauty, Dolly, and the unfortunately named Nigger. All belonged to officers, and Bess was the only horse who returned from the Middle East. Bess led a parade of honour at the Carterton Agricultural and Pastoral Show wearing all the medals and ribbons of her much decorated partner, Colonel Guy Powles.
|Bess on the banks of the Jordan river in 1918|
|Moses, an Egyptian donkey, mascot of the NZ Service Company in France, 0n 20 April 1918|
The Great War 1914-1918 - For the Fallen
Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
|An image of Christ on a war grave in Fricourt, 1916 Odette Carrez/Reuters|
“If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitised. This is why we are given war's perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war's consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining…
The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war's refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honour, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.”
― Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class