“Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning,
We will remember them.”

To commemorate the 100th anniversary since the beginning of WWI, selected students have had the opportunity to personalise the names on our Rolls of Honour by joining outstanding history tutor Angela English to research one individual serviceman, finding out who they really were. Farmer, teacher, baker? Oldest brother or youngest son? Local rugby star or promising musician?
We learnt about World War I, the battle in which the servicemen and women gave their lives, discovering where in the world they have been laid to rest. We aimed to bring these names, permanently etched in granite and marble around Central and Western Southland, alive once again.

On the first day we began by thinking about what ANZAC Day is and the icons associated with ANZAC day, such as poppies and ANZAC biscuits. We brainstormed reasons why it is important to remember fallen soldiers and those who served in WWI. We analysed two famous poems about WWI. Read them here.
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War Memorials
IMG_1551.jpgWe talked about war memorials, which are an important way that communities keep their promise to remember. There are local memorials. We visited the local memorial in Otautau and talked about the location. It is on the main street with a good view. There are also national memorials, including the grave of the unknown soldier found at the National War Memorial in Wellington, and Australian monuments. Then there are international memorials and battlefield graveyards. We discussed the difference between “living” memorials and “static” memorials. Town halls, swimming pools & libraries with cenotaphs are examples ofliving memorials.
Our Research about WWI Soldiers From Our Communities
We brainstormed potential research questions, deciding what we would like to find out about the person we’d like to research. Our questions included:
i) Sports person? Occupation? Hobbies? Where did they live?
ii) When did they enlist?
iii) Who did they serve with?
iv) Which battles did they serve in?
v) Where did they lose their life?
We discussed that we might be able to find the answers to all these questions but we might only be able to find the answers to some of our questions. We used lots of avenues for our research, including the Library, Memorials, community people and the Internet.
Internet sites we used included
• Commonwealth War Graves Commission
• Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum
• Papers Past
Ministry of Culture & Heritage
We used this matrix to help us gather information about the names from our local war memorials using the Cenotaph database.

WWI Slang
As we researched, it was fascinating to learn some slang that had been used in WWI and to find out what it meant. Here are some examples:
• Baby’s head was meat pudding, which we call steak and kidney pie.
• Dutch cheese was battleships and margarine was guns.
• Army biscuits were army beds.
• Tommy is slang for British soldiers, while digger was an ANZAC soldier.
• Bango was a spade and coffin nails were smokes. Fly bog was jam.
We also learnt that
• The Western Front was in France and was a line of trenches between 700 and 1,000 km long.
• The exact time when WWI ended was 11 a.m. on 11 day of the eleventh month, 1918
ANZAC biscuits last a long time and, along with poppies, have become an iconic symbol of remembering the soldiers of WWI.

How WWI Started
IMG_5061.jpgI was interested to know why World War One started. Tauru explained, “World War I started because someone from Serbia in Austria had shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Austria, Hungary. That’s like someone shooting Prince William or someone in the royal family today. The war went from 1914 to 1918. It ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The British Empire had already made a treaty with Belgium agreeing to help them if ever they needed it. Germany declared war on France so they decided to go through Belgium, so Britain came in to help Belgium. The other countries became allies with either Germany or the British Empire. Germany was really good friends with Turkey, so when Germany got attached, Turkey helped them. Gallipoli is in Turkey and I think the ANZAC’s landed on the beach so they could take over the sea and take over the supplies, and if they took the Turks down, they would have access to getting supplies to Russia, which would be a lot easier. New Zealand got involved because they were part of the British Empire, along with Australia, France, and most of Europe.”

At the end of the war soldiers from WWI were presented with certificates. If they lived through the war, the certificate is coloured red. If they died in service, the certificate was coloured purple and presented to their families. Purple was hard to make and a royal colour, so it was chosen to honour the dead. The animals on the certificate represent countries. The lion represents Great Britain and the lion cubs represent the countries for the British Empire, which included New Zealand and Australia. The unicorn represented Scotland and the dead eagle represented Germany.

Some other resources about WWI
IMG_5102.jpgIMG_5103.jpgAngela showed us a most interesting “pop-up book for adults.” It was a real treasure and we could have spent hours reading it! Check out your local library to see if there is a copy.

New Zealand and the First World War 1914-1919
by Damien Fenton with Caroline Lord, Gavin McLean and Tim Shoebridge in association with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
Penguin is the publisher. ISBN 978-0-143-56975-6

You may also like to check out these links.

Here is a record of the soldiers from Southland that we have researched, along with a link to online information about them.

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Private Henry Leake Angus 8/2834 from Otautau
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Corporal Christian Fraser McIntosh 7/1113 from Fairfax
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Private John Thomas Gibson 49887 from Invercargill
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Trooper William Guttery 11/850 and 9/705 from Nightcaps
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Lance Corporal John George Laidlaw 8/4159 from Otautau
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Private Oliver J McBride 9/315 from Nightcaps
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Morgan John O’Brien 56949 from Blackmount'brien&c_firstname_search=morgan+john
The posters we made summarising our research
are our way of remembering and honouring the soldiers who gave up so much for us. The ultimate conclusion to our research project was for our research to be presented at our local ANZAC day services, sharing our work with all members of the community, fulfilling the pledge, “we will remember them”.

Here are our reflections about coming to REAP WestGATE ANZAC History.

If you are interested in studying history further…
Here are some links to universities in New Zealand that offer a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History.

As a history graduate you can have a career in...
government, the public service, teaching, museums and libraries, and as researchers with the Waitangi Tribunal and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage/Te Manatu Taonga. Others continue with postgraduate study of History at institutions such as Harvard University and Oxford University.