Waitomo News : April 17 2014 ANZAC
> LIKE FATHER: Te Kuiti’s Shane Holder (left) will follow in his father Westy’s footsteps next year when he attends the 2015 ANZAC Day commemorations at ANZAC Cove. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Allies’ landing at Gallipoli. Westy (right) served in Japan (J-Force) from 1946, and Korea (K-Force) from 1951-1953. By todd ward IN OUR DEFENCE Thursday, April 17, 2014 5 FROM P4 Meanwhile the Allies had entered Rome. Our engineers had made a pontoon bridge for us to cross as all the other bridges had been blown up as Jerry reterated. The engineers built Bailey bridges later. CHRISTMAS 1944 We fought our way to the Lamone River which was crossed in the same fashion and entered Faenza, once again in the snow for Christmas. I remember having sardines on toast for Christmas dinner on the 25th of December made on an open fire in a casa while Jerry was shelling the top storey. On the 6th of January 1945 we withdrew to Faenza for a late Christmas dinner and celebrations. The snow didn’t seem quite so cold there as we had reasonable comfort. The Allied offensive was then abandoned for the winter and we pulled back to Fabriano for a rest and training. Volunteers were called to drive a Bren carrier which had been converted to carrying stretchers for the wounded and ammunition. It was thought to be a suicide job and I was the only one to take it on. At least I was on my own. At the beginning of April we launched another attack and after heavy bombing and artillery bar- rage we crossed the Senio River in a pontoon bridge. Many prisoners were taken and Jerry was badly shaken. The Maori Battalion then crossed the Santerno River which was bridged by the engineers. On then to the River Po, the largest of all rivers and a great feat by the engineers in constructing a 150 metre folding boat bridge which seemed to move all ways at once like a swing bridge. That was the breakthrough. From then on it was fast going, mopping up machine gun nests, taking prisoners and capturing enemy equipment and liberating towns. GERMANY SURRENDERS We finally arrived at Trieste where the Germans surrendered to General Freyberg. On the 2nd of May, 1945 Berlin surrendered to the Russians after Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide and all German forces surrendered to the Allies unconditionally. On the 8th of May, 1945 V.E. Day, the war in Europe was over. It was our turn, the Ninth Reinforcement to go home. We were given the option of signing on to go to Japan via a trip to England or go back to New Zealand. I had a skinfull so decided to go home. We waited in Italy to get a passage on a boat and got as far as the Suez Canal where we (four of us) hitchhiked a ride on an Air Force boat back to New Zealand. All of this took time and then we heard that Japan had surrendered. May 15th, 1945 – V.J. Day. All the lights were turned on and no more training. The ship Athlone Castle called into many ports to disembark troops including Bombay in India, where we had four days leave and then to Fremantle and had two days leave. Then to Melbourne for four days leave. HOME AT LAST We eventually arrived in Wellington on January 6th, 1946. What a wonderful sight and feeling after not knowing whether I would ever see home again. We were given immediate leave for two weeks and then had to report for medical and dental tests and return equipment etc. I was tested A grade and placed on indefinite leave without pay. I have since been discharged. I would have been sorry if I had not gone to the war, but next time I will wait my turn. It was caused by one man who wanted to rule the world – HITLER! So much death, destruction and misery. It could happen again when the ‘Anti-Christ’ tries to take over. my EXPERIENCES of World war II EMOTIONS will be running high for Te Kuiti man Shane Holder when he pays tribute to New Zealand’s fallen soldiers on ANZAC Day next year. Not only did his grandfather Walter Bennett fight on the shores of ANZAC Cove in 1915, Mr Holder has been given the opportunity to honour his memory at that very site. Out of 10,000 Kiwis who registered for the chance to attend the AN- ZAC Day centenary commemorations in Turkey on April 25, 2015, Shane was among the 2000 selected. He entered the ballot in October and received confirmation of a double pass two weeks ago. “When I received confirmation of the pass I just couldn’t believe it – I was over the moon,” he says. “Now I’ll be able to see with my own eyes where my grandfather fought on the shores of Gallipoli. “It’s going to be an incredibly moving experience but, one that I’ll never forget. I can feel the tears coming already.” While in Gallipoli, Shane and his daughter Kacie, who lives in Cali- fornia, will attend the dawn service at ANZAC Cove and New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair. FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS When Shane arrives in Gallipoli, he will also be following in the footsteps of his father Westy, who was one of 35 war veterans who travelled to Turkey in 2005 to represent New Zealand at the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Westy joined the Air Force, at the age of 19 in 1946, and was stationed in Japan following the end of World War II as a member of J-Force. Then five years later he signed up with the Army during the Korean conflict of 1950-53. He served two years in Korea as a member of K-Force working in ground transport, food, am- munition and supplies. And just like Westy, Shane will proudly wear his grand- father’s Gallipoli Star and WWI service medals during the ANZAC commemorations in Turkey. He says his grandfather was a mounted rifleman in the New Zealand Army who was wounded in action during the Gallipoli Campaign before being evacuated to England and returning home. “Being able to walk the same ground as where my grandfather fought will be very humbling. “So what I’d like to do when I get there is walk as much of ANZAC Cove as I can to find where my grandfather was stationed and take a moment to remember him. “Then during the ANZAC Day ceremonies it will just be a great honour to be there representing my family and Te Kuiti. I’m nervous and excited but this is a once in a lifetime trip and I can’t wait to go.” Having to pay his own way, Mr Holder says the trip is expected to cost $8000. LEST WE FORGET ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first major mili- tary action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Although this military campaign at Gallipoli in 1915 failed in its objectives, the actions of the Australian and New Zealand troops left a powerful legacy. During the conflict, 8500 Australians and 2721 New Zea- landers were killed. Because of this combined sacrifice, Gallipoli is seen to many as the birth place of what has become known as the ‘ANZAC legend’ and the identity of both nations. In 1916, the date April 25 was officially named ANZAC Day. Many thousands of people now make their way each year to the Gallipoli Peninsula for the ANZAC Day dawn service to pay their respects to those that gave so much. tHE SPIRIT OF ANZAC LIVES ON . . .
24 April 2014
15 April 2014