Congratulations to you all and everyone around New Zealand, we have made it to Level 1 and currently have no known active cases of COVID-19! It was wonderful to see the way we all united and played our part in eliminating the virus. As the global pandemic continues to grip the world, we are fortunate to be in a position where we can move about more freely and we are excited to restart our Monday morning meetings.
Update to Monday Members Meetings
Monday 22 June 2020 will be our first meeting back at the Devonport RSA and we are really looking forward to seeing you all there.
In order to keep our members safe and healthy, we will be asking everyone to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Welcome Daiana Mose
We would like to welcome our new Food and Beverage Manger, Daiana Mose. Some of you may recognise her from the Devonport Golf Club. Daiana brings a wealth of hospitality experience and will be a wonderful addition to the Devonport RSA. She will be helping to manage the bar and will also help run the table service as we adapt to the new way of operating.
Thank You Bear Brothers
âThe lock down was a difficult time for many local businesses, The Devonport RSA Memorial Trust acknowledged this and took the initiative to offer our tenants a rent holiday. Janet Bingham of Bear Brothers has written a book about her experience of the lockdown and expressed her gratitude to the Memorial Trust and the RSA for their kindness. She would like to show her thanks by donating $5 from every book sale to the Devonport RSA Poppy Trust. This shows true community spirit, we are very thankful to Janet for her kind acknowledgement and donation and encourage you to support her and check out the book.
The book launch is next week on Friday 19 June at 1730 to 1930 in the RSA. The book can also be purchased at her store.
We have received many lovely emails from our members about their Easter care parcels and also about their unique Anzac Day experiences. Patrick sent in this lovely email.
âIt was quite something celebrating the Anzac parade outside one's own front door. I live in a pensioner unit that happens to be opposite two or three naval homes at the bottom end of Preston Avenue. At the time of the parade there were several naval families opposite observing the dawn service alongside us pensioners and with help of the radio broadcast turned in and a small line of participants holding candles on both sides of the Avenue in the darkness it was all rather erie but at the same time very stirring and I must say it brought a lump in my throat during the Last Post.â
Remembrance Army Update
âRebecca Nelson, the Remembrance Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy have been very busy cleaning up the graves at OâNeillâs Cemetery. There are over 200 graves that meet the Remembrance Army criteria including a mixture of military graves and civilians that have ties to the military. You can see some of the amazing results below. Great work everyone!
At our next Executive Committee meeting next week we will be planning for upcoming functions and we will let you know on Monday 22 June of the details. We can be proud of ourselves as New Zealanders. Let us celebrate it.
Your Executive Committee met Tuesday evening, (observing social distancing), and decided that we would wait until we see what level one regulations are binding on us before we return to our Monday meetings. Certainly, we will not recommence before 8 June 2020. Also, there will have to be changes with the way we operate.
However, we do look forward to welcoming you all back to our facilities. We have been thinking of you and via our telephone tree have tried to keep in touch. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are having difficulties that we can address.
Sadly, we lost Jim Williamson, who went for a walk and had a fall and a brain bleed but died before he was got to hospital. Because of COVID-19 restrictions a memorial service has not yet been held and I hope to be able to go to recite the “Ode” for him when we find out when it will be held.
For two years in a row, our usual Anzac Day commemorations have been disrupted by external factors. However, it was wonderful to see so many of our community “Standing at Dawn” as suggested by our national RNZRSA.
We will have participation from school students who will be competing in a speech competition with the prize winners contributing their speech at our Remembrance Ceremony.
This Friday, Rebecca will be overseeing Navy personnel cleaning and restoring the gravestones of soldiers in O’Neill’s Point Cemetery.
In the meantime, go out for a walk in the sun and keep washing your hands.
While we are in Level 4 Lock-down, we cannot commemorate Anzac Day in our usual fashion, and it would appear that we are unlikely to be open for meetings until we are at Level 2 or maybe Level 1.
You can place a poppy or wreath at our Devonport Cenotaph in your own time while observing social distancing.
You are encouraged to place suitable Anzac Day memorabilia in your window or porch or on your letterbox, front gate or fence. If you have a bear in your window, please make sure it is wearing a poppy.
Virtual and Digital Anzac Day Ceremonies
Various organisations are offering virtual or digital Anzac Day Ceremonies and you are encouraged to participate as best suits your daily programme and your degree of technical prowess! Following is a range of options. Please share them with others:
Stand at Dawn:
Navy Band Anzac Day Service:
North Shore Brass:
Auckland Officers’ Club Anzac Service:
Televised Anzac Day Themed Programmes
Various Anzac Day themed television programmes will be screened as follows:
Should nothing on offer appeal then, if you have any flour left, you can bake some Anzac Biscuits. See the recipe below.
We hope you are all coping well with the current situation with everybody in lockdown.
We have set up a telephone tree to contact members to check on your welfare and offer support if needed. You would have heard from them by now. Unfortunately, many of the telephone numbers on our membership list were out of date.
If you have recently changed your details (address, email and/or phone number) We would appreciate it if you could email firstname.lastname@example.org to update our information.
As you will be aware our Anzac Day service has been disrupted for the second time in two years. Chris Mullane and others are working on a virtual service for members and the community. We will not be laying out the Field of Remembrance for Anzac Day. However, we hope to make Remembrance Day on Wednesday 11 November 2020 a much more fitting commemoration this year so that members and the community can participate in a meaningful way.
RSA National has set up a volunteer delivery service, they can pick up groceries and pharmaceutical products for you. There are protocols in place to keep the volunteers and you safe, and they will be considered essential services. Please do get in touch if you would like any help.
Stay home, stay well and wash your hands.
In these uncertain times we need to take stock of what we are doing in the light of the current COVID-19 virus pandemic.
It is clear that older members are at greater risk if they develop the infection. Currently, we do not appear to have community spread of the infection. However, we do not want to run the risk of transmitting the virus should it become a community spread disease.
We have received direction from RNZRSA National Office to the effect that Anzac Day services will not be held and that Poppy Day has been postponed. However, we are in the process of developing a virtual program which people can log into and participate in. This will be made available to members and also to the Devonport community.
Also, we have considered the risks we run in having our usual fortnightly Monday member meetings. With fewer people attending it may mean that it is not worthwhile running them. The Executive Committee have decided that we should not continue with the meetings. Until further notice the Monday meetings will not be held. They will recommence when appropriate and we will advise you when this is to happen. However, we will try to keep people informed by electronic means and by letter. If people know of someone in difficulty, please let us know so that we can do the best we can to help. A regular phone call to five other members is a reasonable thing to do.
For all of us, please keep in touch by phone or email so that social activity continues although in a different form. Visits to older people are being discouraged and we are following the advice in the New Zealand Herald today. Wash and dry your hands and stay healthy.
We are excited to announce we have upgraded our premises! The Devonport RSA before and after photos are below. We have painted new wall colour, we were able to remove some of our light beams when we upgraded our lights. The stage was removed to create a bigger space, upgraded our kitchen to be able to use for events and painted our entrance.
More photos below of the transformation. Thank you to everyone evolved with the project!!
Article from The Devonport Flagstaff, dated 19 April 2019.
For the first time in a century, war veterans will not march down Victoria Rd and neither will there be a solemn service of remembrance at the Devonport cenotaph.
Police instigated the cancellation of Devonport’s Anzac Day ceremonies due to security concerns in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.
At a meeting of the three North Shore RSA presidents and police, it was decided to hold just one service in Browns Bay. “I was disappointed, of course,” said Devonport RSA president Howard Mace. “But we have to be pragmatic, and the advice we received from police is Browns Bay was the best place to secure.”
The Devonport cenotaph is surrounded by several roads, which makes security more
problematic, Mace said. The Anzac Day parades are of more concern to police than gatherings, such as concerts, because they take place on the streets and in public places, he said. “You could have an idiot terrorist drive a truck through it.”
Asked why defence forces couldn’t provide security, Mace said it wasn’t just a question of personnel. Auckland Council would also need to be involved, for example, providing concrete barricades and other barriers.
An informal gathering will still take place at the Devonport RSA at Devonia Hall, 61
Victoria Rd at 10am. It has capacity for 150 people. “The Devonport RSA will hold a small service inside, because it can be secured,” Mace said. The Navy band will be missing, but a Navy bugler and chaplain will attend, with Mace also saying a few words. The Devonport cenotaph will still have a rack for floral wreaths and poppies.
Anzac Day services and commemorations have been held in New Zealand since 1916, when the Anzac Day holiday was gazetted. Mace is unsure when the first Devonport service was held, but it was almost certainly before the Devonport RSA was set up in 1927. Devonport’s druid Chris Mullane will act as MC and two Takapuna Grammar students will speak at the Browns Bay ceremony.
• A dawn parade will leave from the Browns Bay police station at 5.30am and proceed to the beach cenotaph. At 8.30am, the civic service will start with a second parade following the same route. People are advised to go early, as there will be road blocks and security checks.
November 2018 | Written by H. M. Mace
Howard Mace recently returned from a trip to UK and France. While there he followed up on his great grand father on his mother’s side, Benjamin Ralph Jackson.
On 25 July 1862 he married Elizabeth Isabella Spearing in Rowner, Hampshire. Their union was blessed with the birth of four children one of whom was born in Camo Curragh, Kildare in Ireland. Later in 1871 he was serving at the Citadel Barracks, Western Heights, Kent as a Colour Sergeant.
They lived for a time in Hill Street, Thames and Benjamin died in Richmond Street, Thames on 3 September 1914 and was buried in the Shortland Cemetery PUB-PLOT-3551 on 4 September 1914.
The New Zealand Division was a leading light in the advance to capture the bridges over the River Sambre to the East of Le Quesnoy. The plan was to spare the town from bombardment because of the safety of the inhabitants and possible British prisoners of war in the town.
New Zealand War Memorial Museum link www.nzwmm.org.nz
Howard is a current Executive Committee member