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Cenotaph Stories

  • Return from War: The Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on First World War Veterans

    Matthew Nickless
    Collection Technician - Research Support

    As New Zealand's servicepeople returned home from the First World War they were faced with the rise of an influenza pandemic. It killed thousands of New Zealanders, and many soldiers. These are the stories of two of those men.

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  • New Zealand Nurses in Samoa

    Sophie Elborough

    When the Expeditionary Force Advance Party set sail from Wellington to Samoa on 12 August 1914, they became some of the first New Zealand troops to see active service. Among them were six, soon to be seven, New Zealand nurses whose unusual service fundamentally shaped New Zealand's contribution to the war effort.

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  • 'ATA-Girls': The Fab Five of New Zealand Aviation

    Dr Gabrielle Fortune

    They were called 'ATA-girls' (attagirls) female pilots who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War. During the war 168 women served with the ATA, including five New Zealand Women who paid their own way to England for a chance to fly.

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  • Three Generations of Service

    Nelson Bennett
    Collection Technician - Research Support

    This article is about the McFarlanes, a family that, like so many others, was marked by the horrors of war through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their story gives us insight into the struggles of so many New Zealand families in this period.

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  • Pamela Todd in Singapore

    Victoria Passau, Online Cenotaph & Enquiry Service Manager

    The New Zealand Army had a long-term presence in South East Asia. Including the 1st Battalion (1RNZIR) base in Singapore post-Vietnam up until 1974. Online Cenotaph has very few records for this period of service and so we jumped at the chance to interview nurse Pamela (Pam) Todd who had served in South East Asia in 1972.

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  • Serious business: Women in the Army

    Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, War History

    July 2022 marked the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. Formed in July 1942, it was the last of the three women's services to be established. In this article, Gail Romano (Associate Curator) discusses the history of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps from its inception.

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  • 80th Anniversary of the Women's Royal New Zealand Naval Service

    By Hannah Pym and Madison Pine

    In celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the Women's Royal New Zealand Navy. We have highlighted the many roles of Wrens during the Second World War, and the legacy of their service post-WWII.

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  • World War Voices

    By Sarah Johnston
    Sound History Researcher (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rākaipaaka)

    During the Second World War the National Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit recorded interviews and reports about the fighting and the day-to-day business of war, as well as thousands of simple messages home from servicemen – and a few women. Sound History Researcher, Sarah Johnston explores their stories.

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  • May Palmer

    By Georgina White
    Curator, Cenotaph Galleries

    Determined to offer her services during the First World War, Nurse May Palmer travelled from Wellington to France, where she joined the French Red Cross, nursing in Hospitals in Northern France and Belgium. Here is the story of May Palmer a truly remarkable nurse.

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  • Anzac Day 2021

    This year we highlight the contributions made by servicewomen in World War II and after. 2021 marks two significant anniversaries involving servicewomen: the establishment of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (formed 16 January 1941) and the landing in Japan of the main body of Jayforce (March 1946). The legacy left by these women paved the way for the thousands of women serving today.

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