Anderton address at Malone Wartime Papers launch
Hon Jim Anderton Progressive leader
5.45 PM Monday, National Library, Wellington
SPEECH NOTES POSTED AT:
This year, as every year, a large crowd gathered at ANZAC Cove to remember what was done there by New Zealanders and Australians.
The crowds are specially large for the major anniversaries.
In this year's service, there was stillness and not a few tears as the crowd was read a short letter written by Colonel Malone to his wife:
In less than two hours we move off to a valley, where we will be up all night and tomorrow in readiness for a big attack which will start from tomorrow night.
Everything promises well and victory should rest with us.
God grant it so and that our casualties will not be too heavy.
I expect to go through all right but my dear wife if anything untoward happens to me there are our dear children to be brought up.
You know how I love and have loved you, and we have had many years of great happiness together. If at anytime in the past I seemed absorbed in "affairs", it was that I might make proper provision for you and the children. That was due from me.
It is true perhaps that I overdid it somewhat. I believe now that I did, but did not see it at the time. I regret very much now that it was so and that I lost more happiness than I need have done.
You must forgive me; forgive also anything unkindly or hard that I may have said or done in the past.
I have made a will and it is in the office in Stratford. I think it was justly drawn. Anyway I intended it so to be.
I hope and think that the provision for you and the children will keep you and them in ease and comfort. I know you will never forget or let the dear children do so.
I am prepared for death and hope that God will have forgiven me all my sins.
My desire for life - so that I may see and be with you again - could not be greater but I have only done what every man was bound to do in our country's need.
It has been a great consolation to me that you approved my action; the sacrifice was really yours. May you be consoled and rewarded by our dear Lord.
Your loving husband
Wm G Malone
This letter expresses the dignity, simplicity and immense courage of Col. William Malone.
There, for all to see, is his toughness, his compassion, his duty and his love.
We can sense the deep and complex emotions he is feeling and the gruff attempts he had made to stifle them.
Here was a man contemplating his mortality.
And in doing so he found that the one thing that really mattered to him was his love for his family and concern for them.
The letter was dated 5 August, 1915.
Within 2 days Malone was on top of Chunuk Bair.
He must have looked down from there at the gleaming waters of the Dardenelles, the military prize the Gallipoli campaign sought.
And then within hours he was dead.
Every year now, thousands of New Zealanders make the pilgrimage to Chunuk Bair.
We stand on that same hilltop and contemplate the soldiers who died there, and on their way up to there.
We go there to honour them.
We think of the sons and brothers, fathers and husbands who were there.
We see them as New Zealanders.
And we feel the long, tight braid connecting us to them.
As the letter from Colonel Malone shows, the papers of the time bring alive to us that moment in the savage cradle of New Zealand's national identity.
Colonel Malone was a New Zealand hero.
Today, ninety years too late, we are finally recognising his heroism with a plaque at parliament.
We need our heroes.
Colonel Malone was one of New Zealand's.
I am very proud that his name is growing in stature with the passing years.
The publication of his papers will ensure his memory and the memory of the New Zealanders who served with him will continue to shape our nation's history.