22 Mar 2015

War Report - 22 March 2015

From New Zealand in World War I, 8:53 pm on 22 March 2015

In 1915 there was no New Zealand navy, but many New Zealanders were serving on HMS New Zealand, a ship we'd offered to pay for. It was launched in 1911 before making a tour of the Empire, including New Zealand, in 1913.

We were still paying it off until 1944, more than 20 years after it was scrapped. The ship survived the war with few casualties, protected they say by the fact the captain always wore a Maori cloak, a piupiu in action. Naval historian Peter Dennerly notes that the ship always had a dog mascot. News items of men being returned from Egypt for health or indiscipline reasons and of the Sutton family of Ashburton with four boys overseas. Alf Simpson of Whitianga recalls the farmer he was working for volunteering and his own decision to join up as well, even though he was under age at 19. However, his parents already had two sons in the army and refused to let him go until he was 21.

Music extracts:

Artist: John McCormack
Song: There’s a Long Long Trail A Winding
Composer: King/Elliott
Album: Oh, It’s a Lovely War Vol 2
Label: CD41 486309.

Artist: Stanley Kirby
Song: When We’ve Wound Up the Watch on the Rhine
Composer: n/s
Album: Oh, It’s a Lovely War Vol 2
Label: CD41 486309