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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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  • 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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  • 'So what the hell'

    By Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    During the Battle of Britain there were indeed many New Zealanders contributing in important ways, ‘being New Zealanders’ both on the ground and in the air. By the end of July 1940 New Zealand’s Minister of Defence Fred Jones was noting 710 New Zealand pilots were in the RAF. In this article Gail Romano shares some stories of the New Zealanders who served in the Battle of Britain.

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  • Stranded on Emirau

    Gail Romano, Associate Curator History

    The first large group of New Zealanders taken prisoner during the Second World War were not military personnel but civilians. On Merchant Navy Day, we remember these events in the south Pacific over the turn of 1940-41, as we reflect on the important, risky yet subsequently under-recognised role played by our merchant seamen during the First and Second World Wars.

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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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  • '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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  • 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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  • Niuean Service Personnel

    List of identified Niuean Service personnel who have service with the New Zealand Armed Forces, during both the First World War, Second World War and later conflicts.

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  • An Invisible History: Wāhine Māori in the Air Force during World War II

    By Stacey Fraser and Angela Wanhalla (Kāi Tahu)
    History Programme, University of Otago

    'The Style for you is Air Force Blue' was the recruitment tag-line for the New Zealand Women's Auxiliary Air Force, established on the 16th January 1941. In this article Angela Wanhalla and Stacey Fraser from University of Otago look at the formation of the WAAFs and Wāhine Māori who served in the Air Force during the Second World War, who's history has largely been invisible.

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