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 Unfortunately, many of the telephone numbers on our membership list were out of date.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
Blog post coming soon …….
August 2018 | Written by R. J. Nelson
I joined the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Reservist in 2013 after a chance encounter with the Musical Director of the RNZN Band while I was busking on the main street of Devonport. I was asked to tour around the North Island with the band and before I knew it I was signing the dotted line. I had never considered joining the New Zealand Defence Force but now I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I have had so many incredible opportunities including singing at major commemorations in Gallipoli, France and Belgium.
In March this year I travelled to London to sing with The Band of the Welsh Guards for their St David’s Day concert. While in London I arranged to meet up with Roy over a cup of tea and a scone. He casually mentioned that he was arranging an old ship mates’ reunion for Prince Charles later in the year. Half joking, my husband piped up and said “Do you need a singer for that?” We all laughed and then carried on chatting without giving it another thought.
On my return to New Zealand I couldn’t believe my eyes when an invitation arrived, inviting me to sing at Highgrove, the private residence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles for his old ship mates’ reunion. I immediately contacted the team at NGAPONA to share the news and plans were underway to return to the UK.
I was lucky enough to be in London for the RAF100 fly over to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Royal Air Force and what a sight! We had the best view in London watching from the spectacular terrace on the top floor of New Zealand House. Some highlights included 22 RAF Typhoons flying in formation as the number “100” and of course the Red Arrows flying over Buckingham Palace.
The day of the reunion finally arrived and I was so nervous, I think I must have ironed my uniform four times! Once all the guests had arrived at Highgrove we were invited on a tour of the gardens which were just incredible, it was like walking into a fairy tale. The gardens are a culmination of 38 years of imagination and passion from Prince Charles and are maintained by 11 gardeners. I wish I had pictures to share but cameras and phones were strictly forbidden. We then had a champagne reception where I sang for the guests, including Pokarekare Ana. I then met HRH Prince Charles who said he remembered meeting me in France at the Battle of the Somme centenary and was extremely grateful that I had made the trip over from New Zealand. The rest of the conversation is all a bit of a blur, I think I was a little overwhelmed.
A quartet from the Royal Marines provided the entertainment for the rest of the reception and I was able to meet some amazing people including a First Sea Lord, a gentleman who worked as a police officer for HRH, and some wonderful veterans. Many recalled visiting New Zealand on ship in 1974 for the Commonwealth Games. It really was a historic event having personnel from nine ships together: Britannia Royal Naval College, Dryad, Bronington, Jupiter, Norfolk, Minerva, Hermes/845 Squadron, Hermione and Fox. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was such a privilege to attend.
Who would have thought, from busking on the streets of Devonport to singing for royalty at their private estate? And all thanks to the Royal New Zealand Navy. I must make a very special thank you to the team at NGAPONA who helped make this all possible. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had since joining the RNZN, I have so much respect for all those that serve and I am always so proud to wear the uniform.
Author: Rebecca Nelson
Rebecca is currently serving as a member on the Devonport RSA Executive Committee.