Remembering local service men and women

Field of poppies in Hawea Flat. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

Ahead of ANZAC Day, Wanaka Genealogy Group president Louise Primrose talks to the Wanaka Sun about local book “Courageous and Free - Stories of our Upper Clutha WW1 Soldiers & Nurse, who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live free”.


From Wanaka Sun (page 9)  20 - 26 April 2017

Remembering local service men and women

On ANZAC Day our thoughts turn to remembering the soldiers who died in World War One.

Have you ever read the names on the war memorials around our area and perhaps noticed some familiar local names but it is too long ago now for us to know much about them?

The centenary of the beginning of World War One prompted volunteers from the Upper Clutha Historical Records Society and Wanaka Genealogy Group to research the names on local war memorials and answer the questions, giving faces and personalities to the names.

Our book, “Courageous and Free - Stories of our Upper Clutha WW1 Soldiers & Nurse, who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live free”, is the result of two years of research.

It not only relates the stories behind the names listed on Upper Clutha War Memorials but also uncovers the names and stories of many other soldiers not previously recorded.

One of the young men mentioned on the Wanaka War memorial is Private Coll Campbell Drake Service No. 8/564, 4th (Otago) Company, 1st Otago Infantry Battalion, NZEF. Coll (known as Cam) was employed on Mt Pisa Station by Willis Scaife.

Private Coll Campbell Drake Service No. 8/564, 4th (Otago) Company, 1st Otago Infantry Battalion, NZEF.

He took part in the landings at Gallipoli on 25 April and was killed just one week later. An excerpt from the book follows:

“Cam enlisted on 26 August 1914 in Dunedin, just 18 days after the Declaration of War. …Cam joined the 4th (Otago) Company, Otago Infantry Battalion and after initial training he embarked on HMNZT Ruapehu on 15 October 1914 bound for Alexandria, Egypt. On 12 April 1915 he embarked on SS Annaberg bound for Gallipoli via Mudros and took part in the landings on 25 April at about 2.30pm.

By 5pm his company was established on Plugge’s Plateau. “Seven days later on 2 May 1915 the Otago Battalion lost 400 out of 800 men, including Cam (only 57 men from the 200 of the 4th (Otago) Company answered the roll call next morning).”

Another soldier, Private Robert John Sullivan, Service No. 8/1342, 10th (North Otago) Company, Otago Infantry Battalion, NZEF was also involved in the landings at Gallipoli.

“Robert enlisted on 20 October 1914 with the 2nd Reinforcements. So keen was he to enlist that he and a friend cycled at night from Hawea to Clyde; taking turn-about to ensure they arrived in time to board the train to take them to Dunedin to catch the Troop Train.”

Find out if Robert and his friend made it, and discover the stories of 47 soldiers and one nurse by reading the book which will be on sale outside New World on Friday and Saturday (April 21 and 22).

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the R.S.A. Benevolent fund for welfare purposes.


ANZAC Day services

Dawn services at 7am at Lake Hawea on the peninsula by the dam, and in Wanaka beside the log cabin.

There will be an ANZAC service in the Lake Wanaka Centre at 9.30am followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial on Chalmers Street.

The collections for RSA Poppy Appeal, which raises vital funds to support New Zealand veterans and their families in time of need, will be held on Friday and Saturday (April 21 and 22) outside Paper Plus and in New World, with a collection also outside the Post Office on Friday. 


Read the Wanaka Sun Online here

Earlier editions of the Wanaka Sun here


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