Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Second World War veterans valuable to history


Second World War veterans valuable to history

An author who interviewed about 100 First World War veterans says New Zealanders should value the memories of living veterans before it’s too late.

“There are only about 12,000 Second World War veterans still alive, and they are about 90,” says Jane Tolerton, author of the new World War One Oral History Archive book An Awfully Big Adventure.

“New Zealand will put a big emphasis on the centenary of the First World War in the coming four years, and when the commemorations are over in 2018, most of them may be gone.

“It is 25 years since the World War One Oral History Archive’s work and about 25 years between the wars. So we’re at the same point now with the Second World War veterans.”

Jane Tolerton says the emphasis on remembering those who died in the First World War, rather than those who survived it, may have got in the way of veterans speaking out about their experiences and attitudes. “They were renowned for not talking about the war – but they said people didn’t ask them about it.
“When the bones of the Unknown Warrior were brought back from the Western Front in 2004, Wellingtonians stood in the street in their thousands, some moved to tears. Many of those people had fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers who were veterans they had never asked about the war. The last veteran had died only the previous year.

“As an oral historian who met a lot of veterans and the daughter of a living Second World War veteran, I know it is harder to talk to family members than to a professional, but if there are significant stories veterans want to tell, now might be the right time to ask. The First World War veterans who did finally speak, got a kick out of putting their experiences on record. They came forward and they said their piece, and they told us they enjoyed doing it. They often apologised for not being better interviewees, even when we thought they were great.

“Second World War veterans can still tell historians the answers to the questions they’ll be trying to answer during the centenary commemorations in 25 years’ time,” says Jane Tolerton. “I’ve recently heard from a man whose mother told him about an incident during her war service when she was on her deathbed. He was so shocked by her revelation he could not find words to ask her what had happened.”

Jane Tolerton also interviewed veterans who responded to her appeals for information on wartime safe sex campaigner Ettie Rout for her award-winning biography published in 1992.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Kakī: World’s Rarest Wading Bird Released In Mackenzie Basin

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the birds will add to the 60 released into the Tasman valley earlier this month, significantly boosting the wild population. More>>

ALSO:

IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland