2011 Trans-Tasman Anzac Day blog challenge review

Another Anzac Day has been and gone, and our desire to remember our people who served in the Wars doesn't seem to be waning.

With much pride, I watched my 10-year old twin daughters parade with their Cub Scout Pack at the citizens Anzac commemoration in Browns Bay. It was a cold wet morning, and despite this, there were just as many people of all ages this year, as there have been in previous years' when it was fine and dry.

At the end of March, Twigs of Yore blogger, Shelley, and myself, issued a Trans-Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge to get people to share their stories of their loved ones and their sacrifices.

Like the Anzac Day parade, I was humbled to see how many people wanted to pay tribute and remember their family members. Naturally, most bloggers were Aussies or Kiwis, but we also had bloggers from UK and the US, sharing their family stories of their own Anzacs.

Not all the stories are of Kiwis or Aussies who died during one of the Wars. Some of the stories are of survivors - but bloggers felt that they wanted to honour the courage and the sacrifice and share their families' stories.

Death during war, is the "ultimate sacrifice" for your country. But all those who served made huge sacrifices. They returned completely different people from the ones that left, lives altered forever. The families that had been left behind also sacrificed much.

Participants in our blog challenge were to:
  • Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history.
  • Publish their post by 25 April 2011
  • Post a comment with the URL on this blog, or under discussions on the Auckland Research Centre's Facebook page

Shelley and I received 22 wonderful family stories between us. These then are the stories:

Sarndra Wilson: Private William PERREAU 40633 - returned serviceman and Leonard Edward MOSS - plane was shot down in World War II on 28 August 1942

Wallace James Kirkpatrick: Many KIRKPATRICK family members lost

Shauna Hicks: Charles Douglas SPENCER - returned serviceman

Merron Riddiford: Arthur Leonard HOLMES - killed in France in 1918

Sharon Brennan: Alan Seabrook MITCHELL - killed over Munich on 2 October 1943

Michelle Patient: Eric Hugh BARKER - killed at Messines Ridge, on the 7th June 1917

Anne Coppell: A family changed by war

Helen Violet Smith: George Howard BUSBY - returned serviceman

Julie Groucher: Edward ELLIS - returned serviceman

Aillin O'Brien: George Brown FULLERTON, DCM - died on 12 June 1917 from wounds received during the Battle of Messines and Harold Heathcote Hayes CHAMBERS - died at Gallipoli of wounds received between 25 and 28 April 1915 and Stanley CHAMBERS - killed in action, on September 23, at the Dardanelles

Margaret Gaffney: Peter Michael GAFFANAY - died 5 April 1918 from shell wounds to face and neck

Jill Ball: John Bertram CHATFIELD - died 3 May 1917 Battlefield at Bullecourt

Alison: Hugh O'BRIEN - killed in action 23 July 1916

Rosemary: Reginald Sydney MERRETT - killed in action 9 April 1917

Cassmob: William Rudolph KUNKEL - wounded and missing in action, presumed dead (Korea), on 16 November 1952

Shelley: Aircraftman Leonard John Couper LEE - returned WWII serviceman (Japanese POW)

Tanya Honey: James (Milton) SIMMONS - killed in action at Pozieres 29 July 1916

Vicky Kingdom: Ernest Henry Noy and Leslie Cyril Noy - both died Battle of Bullecourt on 11th April 1917

Noleen Sutton:- George Ogden - invalided home in 1917 and died in 1919

You can read their blogs on our Facebook discussion page.

A special mention needs to go to Helen Vail, for her "100 NZ WW1 Memorials 1914-2014" blogsite. Helen's goal is to personally visit and collate information from 100 New Zealand World War One Memorials throughout New Zealand by August 2014 to commemorate the 100 year Anniversary of the start of World War One and to honour those who paid the ultimate price. My thanks for Shauna Hicks for sharing this blog with us via Twitter. We wish Helen well on her personal challenge.

Thanks also to the National Archives of Australia, who left their link to information about their Shellshocked Exhibition and some of the personal stories that they have collected.

Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their family's stories with us.

Thank you all for participating by reading their stories.


For the Fallen
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.
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)