National Army Museum

Issue 56: August 2016

August Despatches

50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

A Day in History: 4th August 1916, The Battle of Romani

ANZAC: A Photographic Exhibition by Laurence Aberhart

Artist Rebecca Holden Visits the National Army Museum

The Legend of Arthur Porritt – WWII Veteran and Olympic Medallist

Recent Acquisition: WWII Scrapbook Reveals Connection to Wellington 'Trammies'

Boosting Morale on the Western Front: The Digger Pierrots

Kidz HQ Day – Celebrate Spring with an Action-Packed, Family Day Out!

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

Online Shop

50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

New Zealand Troops in Vietnam

New Zealand Troops in Vietnam.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and the Battle of Long Tan which took place on 18th August, 1966. New Zealand's involvement in the Vietnam War lasted from 1963 -1975. Of the 3000 military personnel who served in Vietnam during this time, 187 were wounded and 37 were killed. Among the 200 civilian aid-workers and medics who took part in operations, two lost their lives.

Waka huia presented to the NZVVA in 2008

Waka huia presented to the NZVVA in 2008.

He Waka Eke Noa – We Are All In This Canoe Together

This waka huia was presented to the New Zealand Vietnam Veterans Association (NZVVA) by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark in 2008. The war in Vietnam created a brotherhood for those who served that still endures today. The waka huia symbolises that bond and reinforces the ideal that many veterans are in fact ‘in this canoe together'. It contains RSA poppies and leaves including Kawakawa that were left by the veterans. To honour commemorations for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, this precious taonga has been placed on display within the National Army Museum gallery.

A Day in History: 4th August 1916, the Battle of Romani

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment on patrol near Romani, 1916

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment on patrol near Romani, 1916.

"The Turks attacked Romani this morning but did not come to our little camp as we expected. They attacked at twelve o'clock last night, and we were ‘standing too' from them until daylight." Excerpt from the diary of 13/2054 Trooper Leslie Angus McInness, Auckland Mounted Rifles.

0n 4th August 1916, following an Ottoman attack which began in the middle of the night, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade took part in a 2-day conflict in the Sinai Peninsula that became known as the Battle of Romani. The Battle of Romani was part of the larger Sinai Campaign during WWI, which aimed to secure the Suez Canal against the danger of Ottoman attack. The confrontation marked the beginning of an offensive that eventually saw the Ottoman Army retreat to Palestine.

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ANZAC: A Photographic Exhibition by Laurence Aberhart

Isla Bank, Southland, New Zealand

Isla Bank, Southland, New Zealand.

ANZAC, a photographic exhibition by acclaimed New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart, brings together sixty photographs of World War I memorials in New Zealand and Australia. For over three decades Aberhart has been photographing these structures, travelling to cities and small towns in both countries to search out and identify material. Aberhart is regarded as one of New Zealand's most important photographers. For close to forty years, he has produced a body of work unrivalled in its intensity, richness and layers of cultural and photographic history.

ANZAC has been developed by the Dunedin Art Gallery and opens at the National Army Museum on 26th August.

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Artist Rebecca Holden visits the National Army Museum

Sand in the Apricot Jam artist, Rebecca Holden

'Sand in the Apricot Jam' artist, Rebecca Holden.

On Sunday 21st August, artist Rebecca Holden hosted a talk at the National Army Museum touching on the inspiration and creative process behind her exhibition Sand in the Apricot Jam. The talk offered guests a fascinating insight into Holden's journey, from the research involved to her personal inspiration - grandfather and trooper 13/316 John (Jack) Culleton of the Auckland Mounted Rifles.

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The Legend of Arthur Porritt – WWII Veteran and Olympic Medallist

Arthur Porritt's uniform is held within the National Army Museum collection

Arthur Porritt's uniform is held within the National Army Museum collection.

Following up on the Olympic fever that has recently swept through the country, we've rediscovered the story of former New Zealand track star Arthur Porritt, an Olympic bronze medallist who served during World War II.

Arthur Porritt took part in the legendary 100m final at the 1924 Olympics in Paris against Harold Abrahams and Jackson Scholz. Porritt earned the bronze medal for New Zealand during the race, later immortalized in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. When World War II broke out Porritt served in the British Army as a Brigadier, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. Porritt went on later in life to become the 11th Governor-General of New Zealand from 1967-1972.

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Recent Acquisition: WWII Scrapbook Reveals Connection to Wellington ‘Trammies'

A scrapbook connected to the Wellington Tramwaymen's Overseas Comfort Committee during WWII

A scrapbook connected to the Wellington Tramwaymen's Overseas Comfort Committee during WWII.

An interesting scrapbook from World War II illustrating a connection with Wellington Tramways has recently been donated to the National Army Museum. Although the creators of the scrapbook are unknown, Archivist Dolores Ho has been busy ‘putting the puzzle pieces together' to understand the curious story it tells.

The newly obtained scrapbook contains references to the role of Wellington Tramwaymen's Overseas Comforts Committee, its secretary Mr. A. A. Burns and his wife Mrs Burns. The assortment of ephemera and correspondence from men of the Wellington Tramway who served overseas is thought to have been collected through the regular communication, committee members maintained with their former colleagues away on active service. One clipping from the New Zealand Free Lance dated November 1st 1944 states that over 4 and a half years the Comforts Committee had sent a total of, "1,406 parcels, 932 letters, and 11,895 periodicals," to the ‘trammies' serving overseas.

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Boosting Morale on the Western Front: The Digger Pierrots

The Digger Pierrots in full costume

The Digger Pierrots in full costume.

The curiously titled Digger Pierrots were a collection of like-minded soldiers from New Zealand who established themselves as a performance group in the northern French base camp of Etaples in 1917. Although they began as a haphazard collection of amateur performers, by the end of the war their shows had evolved into polished and highly-entertaining concerts. The performance costume of Sergeant Major Alick Donaldson of the New Zealand Engineers is currently on display at the National Army Museum as part of the exhibition Farewell Zealandia: Forgotten Kiwi Songs of WWI.

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Kidz HQ Day – Celebrate Spring with an Action-Packed, Family Day Out!

Join us for our annual Kidz HQ day on Saturday, October 1st

Join us for our annual Kidz HQ day on Saturday, October 1st.

Children are invited to become Kidz HQ members and join us with their families for our annual Kidz HQ Day on Saturday 1st October. With lots of cool activities and excellent tours arranged by the Museum's Education Team, children will be treated to an entertaining day out while learning about our military history. Kidz HQ membership costs $5.00 per year and non-members keen to participate are invited to come along and join on the day.

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Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

Somme Silk Road – Opens early September

A series of oil paintings by Christchurch artist David Woodings based on embroidered postcards from World War I. Wooding's paintings use existing and fabricated card imagery to visualize the narrative of an unidentified soldier's experience during the Battle of the Somme.

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Kidz HQ Day – Saturday 1st October

An entertaining day out at the National Army Museum for our dedicated Kidz HQ members. Take part in an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour at the nearby Waiouru Army Camp and learn about our military heritage.

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The Online Shop

The National Army Museum has recently opened a new online shop that sells a range of military books, DVD's, gifts and memorial related products. Check out some of the great products on offer featured below!

Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill. Illustrated by Marco Ivancic

Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill. Illustrated by Marco Ivancic.

Hand-Painted Wine Glass with Poppy Print

Hand-Painted Wine Glass with Poppy Print.