Should we care, or must we care?

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Should we care, or must we care?

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon May 23, 2011 11:10 am

Here lies Trooper Edwin (Jack) Shepherd - a hero of Chunuk Bair.
But the bare plot highlighted by the sunlight in the foreground (Plot D47) is devoid of everything except wild grass. No headstone, no marking for those who follow us to say that here lies a soldier of New Zealand that served - and served well.
Should we care, or MUST we care.
What will you do to help to move the Government or the RSA or the CWGC or somebody to mark the passing of this man?
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby greg » Mon May 23, 2011 6:27 pm

Hi Everyone,

We need to first decide what we need to put there and what it would cost, this would be the start. and after that we will cross the bridge then. What do you all think? I am a starter.

Regards

Greg
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby andy » Mon May 23, 2011 8:02 pm

There are so many heroes of Chanak Bair who have no known grave, where would you stop?
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby hbtoday98 » Mon May 23, 2011 10:06 pm

what do the family know or what?? my mother has looked for graves for somebody in Palmerston North for years. Return service men of the BOER war where has that work gone .We restored a grave of Thomas Tanner he sold land that started Havelock and Hastings the family and fund raising paid for that.Mayor Tim could tow his concrete mixer up from Dunedin but seriously we could cast or machine router a generic headstone at little cost to be placed on graves like this .The work is in finding and getting permisson.
cheers mal
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:15 am

I have left this thread in limbo for a month to see what reactions it would stir - but alas only a slight ripple on a very still pond in a backwater called New Zealand.
As we work up to the Centenary of the Gallipoli landings of 1915 I see a ground swell in interest in Australia and indeed the British Isles - but not even a "little" interest here - in a land that sent over 19% of its population to the Great War.
In Australia there is a robustness and pride of their Anzac heritage.
The reflection of this apathy is in this years paid up membership. Unfortunately membership has dwindled - and I ask again for those among us with a strong interest in all things NZMR to support the Association with a $10 subscription to keep this site running (thank you for the very few of you who have continued to support us this year - we need about $800 to keep this site on-line - we have thousands of gigabytes of material that we could upload if we keep your financial support).

Andy states:
There are so many heroes of Chanak Bair who have no known grave, where would you stop?


The answer to that is - you never stop.
Obviously the body parts that were blown to smithereens at Chunuk Bair are unrecoverable - But memorials to those men who were not recovered are honoured in a fitting memorial on the ridge of Gallipoli's highest point. At the Cenotaph in Auckland. At the National Monument in Wellington.
But what of Jack Shepherd and his barren plot - it is a disgrace - and a disgrace in the real meaning of the word - "without grace".
Once a Nation sends it sons to war it has an obligation besides paying him "a couple of bob" a week. Each man should have a marker to proclaim to those who follow that here lies a New Zealander who served his country.
Because this man committed suicide in a society stuck in a financial depression - and perhaps suffering from post dramatic depression, is no excuse to ignore his service - he was a hero of Chunuk Bair .

But as a picture is worth a thousand words - here below is the grave of Trooper Robert Sands of the 31st Reinforcements who also served - this Government headstone erected on his death in 1944 - Trooper Sands as we can see, had been living another quarter of a century after the Great War - he is put to rest aged 61 years. This military honour is not a one off, there are tens of thousands of these granite headstones erected to old soldiers right across the nation.
Why not the same honour for Jack Shepherd?
Image
Another instance, and there are many of these, is that of the military headstone that the government saw fit to erect on the grave of Trooper Norman Lester of the CMR. Who died of sickness. Trooper Lester did not land at Gallipoli but fell ill on Lemnos, invalided back to Christchurch and died of gastric compilations 1918.
Rightly and correctly Norman Lester was honoured with a military headstone without even seeing the enemy. He served his country with honour.
Image

My question of Jack Shepherds barren grave is still:
What will you do to help to move the Government or the RSA or the CWGC or somebody to mark the passing of this man?
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby John Aitken » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:06 am

HI Steve

Although I have never contributed anything to the forum. I have enjoyed reading those contributions by other members. I am happy to make a financial contribution to the forum to assist in its maintenance. Trouble is, how do I go about it? Keep up the excellent work.

Cheers

John
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby andy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:30 am

Me too.
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:23 pm

Thanks John and Andy for your support.

The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association has two parts to its presence on the web, although both are under the same site they have slightly different addresses. We have the website proper at:
http://www.nzmr.org
and of course the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association Forum here:
http://www.nzmr.org/phpBB3/
To access the main website which holds our records and articles, photographs, maps etcetera it is easy enough to click on the NZMR badge at the top left hand corner of these Forum pages. But perhaps the best reference page to after the updates page is the sitemap at:
http://www.nzmr.org/sitemap.htm
this page gives you a ready view of what subjects are available to read - and hopefully bring about discussion onto the Forum.


To apply for membership go to:
http://www.nzmr.org/members.htm

Thanks
Steve

Members are entitled to all Ebooks free of charge.
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby Biblio » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:24 pm

Steve,

With all due respects, what you illustrate as "Government" headstones is a little misleading. These memorials are subsidised by Vetran Affairs, but must still be paid for. Historically members of the RSA have had the contribution paid for by the Association if the deceased was a member (which often leads to them inaccurately being called "RSA Headstones"). If people wish to have a headstone erected I would direct them to http://www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz/memorials/cost-of-memorials.html . The concept is to provide uniform memorials to ex-servicemen.

I would also suggest before people go errecting memorials on non-family members plots, they make contact with the family. I know it is meant in the most well meaning of ways, but not everyone actually wants a headstone. We have a family member in an unmarked grave at their own request, so if I turned up at their grave to find someone had erected a headstone without my knowledge, I would be deeply offended.

And finally, as to how Australia commemorates their war experience versus New Zealand, I much prefer our New Zealand sombreness to the Australian "celebrations".

Regards
Matt
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Re: Should we care, or must we care?

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:55 pm

Matt
Sorry it has taken me a week to reply.
Your comments are very helpful, I personally was unaware of the process, and this helps.

With regards to family members, it was through contact with Jack Shepherd's daughter a few years ago when she submitted her father's diary for me to transcribe that she told me of her failed efforts to find the appropriate body to erect a headstone on her father's grave that I became interested.

I have personally seen the documentation that she holds in her futile attempts to find a process to have a headstone placed.
She was of course only a few years old when her father died, but was unaware that he had died as her father had separated from her mother in about 1924. She was taken to Australia as a toddler and remained there during all her schooling and early working life. She met and married an Irish maritime captain and and spent her adult married life working the South China seas and Indian Ocean and being based in Singapore until her husband died, I believe in the 1980's.
On returning to NZ she was appalled to find she could find no trace of her father at the Cemetery. From that time she began a campaign by writing letters to many organisations. Each one replied, but each one tried to move the responsibility onto another organisation - Government Minister came and went but their promises to help always seemed to fail - her collection of letters are a testament to her endeavours.
Yes, she would like a headstone, and believes her father is due one for his services - I believe that too.
She has one son who has never lived here, but is a retired serviceman with the Australian Army and lives in Perth W.A.

Thanks for your link.
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