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Success in identifying a mystery voice from Gallipoli record

Success in identifying one of the ‘mystery voices of Gallipoli’

The hunt to try and put names to the voices of ve Kiwi Gallipoli veterans recorded in a 1969 radio documentary has had some success, with the great-niece of one of the men coming forward to identify him.

The men’s recollections of landing at Gallipoli in April 1915 and the brutal conditions they encountered form a powerful radio documentary simply called “ANZAC”, which Laurie Swindell made in the studios of station 2ZC in Napier in January 1969.

As was sometimes the style in documentary-making in those days, the men taking part in this programme were not named, so Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero have publicised the recording in the hope that someone might recognise the mens’ voices.

Rosemary Steane heard an excerpt of the recording on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report” last month and realised one of the men was her great-uncle, Joseph Gasparich.

Joe was a young Auckland school teacher when World War I broke out and signed up to serve with the Auckland Infantry Battalion. He was wounded three times in the course of the war, serving not only on Gallipoli but also the Western Front, where he was eventually promoted to the rank of lieutenant, before being discharged on account of his injuries and shipped home in April 1917.

In his retirement Joe lived in Hawke’s Bay, which is where Laurie Swindell interviewed him for the radio documentary.In it, he recalls being wounded in an attack in May 1915, which became known as “the Daisy Patch”, when New Zealand troops made several desperate charges across open ground against well-entrenched Turkish machine gun positions.

He also recalls his treatment in a lice-infested makeshift hospital.

Joe Gasparich was also interviewed about his wartime experiences by author Maurice Shadbolt and he appears in Shadbolt’s book, Voice of Gallipoli (published 1988). Joe passed away in Taradale in 1985, at the age of 94.

The full recording of the 1969 “ANZAC” documentary can be heard online on the SANTK website or the New Zealand Film Archive website.

We ask anyone able to contribute further information on this documentary and the men interviewed to please contact SANTK on or (03) 374 8440.

The “ANZAC” documentary is housed in the SANTK collection in Christchurch, where many of the most signicant historic broadcasts by Radio New Zealand and its predecessors are stored.

In October 2012, the Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero were transferred from Radio New Zealand to the New Zealand Film Archive, and the Archives are currently undergoing a Review to establish an integrated national audiovisual archive by July 2014.

In addition to attempting to identify the mystery veterans in the Laurie Swindell documentary, SANTK and the Film Archive are currently working on several other World War One related projects.

An active acquisition and digitisation project is currently underway. This seeks to locate and repatriate at least 100 lm and sound items relating to New Zealand’s participation in World War One from archives in Australia, France, and the UK.

Meanwhile, a joint Anzac website is being developed with the Australian National Film and Sound Archive. This will showcase audiovisual items in a series of thematic sections with contextual text. The site is due to launch in the lead up to Anzac Day in April 2015.


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