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Museum to recreate Veteran Clubrooms

2 March 2006

Museum to recreate Veteran Clubrooms Veterans' Club

The comradeship and memories of Auckland's 21 Infantry Battalion 24 March – 21 May 2006 Pictorial Gallery

Fifty one years ago a group of returned servicemen from Auckland’s 21 Battalion formed an Association. Situated in a clubroom in Mt Roskill, this group came to represent everything we hold dear about ‘mateship’. Soldiers who left New Zealand as naïve adolescents and returned as war weary men. Men who never forgot their mates and ensured that they would all be together to support one another, and their families forever.

In 2005, with the passing of time having eroded their number, the decision was made to sound the Last Post on the Association. By this time the clubrooms had become a cornucopia of memorabilia, souvenirs and commemoration with nary an inch of usable space left untouched by this group’s half century of being a family.

Auckland Museum is honoured to be receiving the contents of the Battalion’s room into its War Memorial Collection and has created a temporary exhibition to celebrate this extraordinary band of brothers. Veteran’s Club features a loving re-creation of the 21 Battalion clubrooms, featuring photographs, mementos and installations as a tribute to the camaraderie and friendships of veterans, and the activities of the Association in and for the local communities. Soldiers returning from war faced many difficulties in readjusting to life in New Zealand.

Veterans' associations provided a place for sharing memories of campaigns fought and for remembering and honouring mates lost. This exhibition offers visitors
a chance to experience the supportive environment of the clubrooms, and discover more about the experiences of the veterans during the war, and afterwards.

Veterans' Club will feature photographs and recorded histories telling the soldiers' stories of World War II campaigns; the hardships and the happy moments; returns and reunions; and the ongoing support of the Association for its members and for all New Zealanders.

In recognition of 2006 Year of the Veteran, Auckland War Memorial Museum will be issuing VIP cards to all veterans of the Auckland Province entitling them to free entry to the Museum for the remainder of the year. They will also receive the Museum’s quarterly publication MQ. Please note that the Museum has never requested that a donation be paid to enter the War Memorial galleries. The waiver of entry donation for the VIP card applies to the rest of the Museum. They never forgot. Neither shall we.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)


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