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Cenotaph Stories

  • The Women's Auxiliary Air Force

    Established to free up more men to engage overseas service in World War II, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force was created in 1941 and saw 4750 women pass through its ranks, freeing up more men for active service.

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  • Anzac Conquerors: world famous in the Second World War

    Soldiers of 18 Battalion, 2NZEF were made world famous as 'Anzac Conquerors' on the cover of Life magazine. Can you help identify the highlighted soldiers in the photograph?

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  • Celebrating two years of citizen research with Online Cenotaph

    We mark the second anniversary of Online Cenotaph by celebrating the achievements of one of our most prolific contributors.

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  • Stuart Alexander Maireriki Campbell

    Much of what we know about Stuart Campbell comes from his brother's stories and poetry. Ella Johnson draws together the threads from these sources to write a history of her Great Uncle's military service.

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  • Staying connected

    Charlotte Macdonald
    History, Victoria University of Wellington

    In 2020 we are learning anew what distance and separation means. Charlotte Macdonald shows us that while distance in war time or distance to stop the spread of disease are two different reasons for separation but in both we turn to all the tools we have to stay connected, to save life as well as lives.

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

    By 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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  • 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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  • Māori Mobilisation: Wartime, Peacetime, Covid-19-time

    Dr Aroha Harris
    University of Auckland, History Department

    Historically, major crises – whether war or disease – that took and disrupted far too many lives also generated unreservedly Māori responses, often paying attention to whānau and community health and wellbeing. Dr Aroha Harris ponders iwi Māori capacity to mobilise throughout the 20th and 21st Century.

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  • Jayforce: 75 Years on

    Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    To mark seventy five years since the arrival of Jayforce in Japan. Gail Romano, shares some of the stories of those who served in Japan in recognition of their service.

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  • Wishes came true for a truly nice person

    Pauline Weeks
    Online Cenotaph Volunteer

    Many women who signed up to ‘do their bit’ in World War Two were also looking for excitement, a career move, a chance to go overseas or wanted to join other family members who were also serving. Muriel Isabella Moss Borthwick (Anderson) achieved all these wishes.

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