By ROBYN BRISTOW
Anzac Day at Amberley will focus on the Battles of Messines and Passchendaele.
It will be 100 years on in October when 846 men lost their lives at Passchendaele, the worst day in New Zealand’s military history.
A play, once again written and produced by James Drewery, which takes us from a local pub in Amberley to the battlefields of Messines and Passchendaele, will take centre stage the the service in the Amberley Reserve pavilion.
It is the eighth production by Mr Drewery, who has a deep historical interest in the ‘Great War’ – the ‘war to end all wars’, and has visited “every battlefield” New Zealanders ever fought on.
The production focuses on two young boys from the Amberley district who leave in 1917 to go away to fight in the Great War. The older brother is a Mounted Rifleman and the younger an infantryman.
The opening scene is at the Railway Hotel where the two young rugby players chat about their upcoming enlistment.
The play then focuses on their family as they farewell them and then moves on to the horrors of battle at Messines and Passchendaele. While Messines was a success, Passchendaele was an “utter disaster”. The New Zealand army at that stage in Belgium, was General Haig’s strongest division and fought with distinction.
The service is organised by the Amberley Lions Club and the Amberley RSA, with the Lions Club once again running its annual poem competition for six local schools.
Anzac Services, April 24:
Ohoka: At 11am onwards at the Ohoka Hall, Mill Road.
Sefton: A Dusk Anzac Service will be held at the Sefton Domain cenotaph at 6pm.
Amberley: The parade will assemble at the carpark by the swimming pool at 10.30am for the march to the Amberley Reserve pavilion for the 11am service.
Cheviot: The Cheviot Anzac parade will start at 10.30 a.m. at the Cenotaph, Seddon Street, Cheviot followed by a Commemorative service at the Cheviot Area School Hall, Caverhill Road, Cheviot at about 11am.
Cust/West Eyreton: A 10am Memorial Service will be held in the Cust Community Centre followed by wreath laying service at Cust War Memorial and West Eyreton Memorial Gates.
Fernside: The Fernside Memorial Hall is hosting an Anzac Day service at 10am on Tuesday, April 25. All welcome to attend and to stay afterwards for a cuppa and a chat.
Hawarden-Waikari: The Hawarden-Waikari RSA Anzac Day service will be held in the Waikari Hall at 10am.
Kaiapoi: The Dawn Service will commence at 6am at the Kaiapoi Cenotaph, Raven Quay while the Civic Service will start at 10am at Trousselot Park, Williams Street.
Omihi: A wreath laying ceremony will be held 9am at the Cenotaph.
Oxford: The Anzac Day service will be held at the Oxford Town Hall at 9.30am followed by a parade to the Cenotaph and the laying of wreaths.
Rangiora: The members and guests of the Rangiora RSA will assemble at the RSA Victoria St at 11am and march with the Pipe Band to the Cenotaph for a service and wreath laying that starts at 11.30am.
Tuahiwi: An Anzac Day parade and ceremony will be held at 2pm.