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Cenotaph Stories

  • Serious business: Women in the Army

    Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, War History

    This month marks 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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  • Always in my thoughts

    By Nelson Bennett
    Collection Technician Research Support

    "You are always in my thoughts" was how Richard Grace signed off one of his letters to his dear friend Alice. Their emotional letters exchanged during the First World War was featured in our recent Love & Loss exhibition, this article shares more about the experiences of Richard and his two brothers who served for New Zealand during WWI.

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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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  • Records of the Fourth Force

    Madison Pine
    Collection Technician, Research Support

    Between November 2021 and February 2022, Online Cenotaph had two dedicated transcribers working on the Records of New Zealand Seamen, also known as the Merchant Navy. Here, we share their work, and our efforts to include this fourth force in Online Cenotaph.

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  • Death in the Spring

    By Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    In this article, Gail Romano writes on the life of Private Lemuel John Bagnall known as Jack, and the Bagnall family of Auckland. Jack served with the New Zealand Railway Engineers in Samoa, and then later with the Auckland Regiment, during the German Spring Offensive.

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  • A collie for the service corps

    Gail Romano, Associate Curator History

    On this Purple Poppy Day, Associate Curator, Gail Romano acknowledges the contribution of the mascot Sam. Sam was ‘a handsome English collie dog’ gifted to the Canterbury section of the New Zealand Army Service Corps during WWI.

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  • A Poem for Passchendaele

    Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    To mark this year's anniversary of Passchendaele, Gail Romano writes about acts of remembrance of New Zealand's darkest day. Through poetry, featuring New Zealand poet and writer Kevin Ireland's A Fine Morning at Passchendaele and the temporary memorial Coming World Remember Me, an installation to commemorate the 100th centenary of the First World War.

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  • September Somme

    Martin Collett and Shaun Higgins
    Collection Manager Documentary Heritage and Curator, Pictorial

    On 15 September 1916 New Zealand soldiers joined the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the time. Letters and images from those involved tell us of the horrors.

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  • Passchendaele

    Kristen MacFarlane

    Find out why this major World War One battle took place and how it led to two of New Zealand's greatest tragedies amid dreadful conditions.

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  • Dear Mother this war is a bugger

    Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    When Private Donald Melville Wood Brown wrote home in June 1916, quoting a fellow soldier, he had changed his mind about soldiering. Sadly, his war ended when he was killed in action three months later on the Somme.

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