RSA has mysteries

16:00, Mar 11 2014
LOST IDENTITY: Do you know who this man is? The picture which is stored in a splendid old wooden frame is just one of many unidentified items at the Howick RSA.
ALL SIDES: This German webbing belt from World War II is a long way from home and has only a tiny bit of information to go with it.
DANGEROUS GOODS: Efforts are being made to correctly preserve and display war relics.
HELPING HAND: From left: Colin Hodge, Patricia Stroud, Joe Pedersen, Neil Priest and Patrick Kelliher are helping Howick RSA members put a collection of war memorabilia in order for public display.
VITAL INFORMATION: Silverdale RSA member Neil Priest says this instrument was used by pilots to calculate their course and speed.

Forgotten war relics in the basement of the Howick RSA have stumped members who need help sorting out what's what.

The haul includes photos of unknown veterans, medals, uniforms and cabinets full of history that have been left to the club over the years.

President Mike Cole says the centenary of the start of World War I is in August so it's time to figure out exactly what is in the collection.

A group of members is trying to start a museum but needs help identifying and cataloguing the items.

"It's the kind of stuff that nobody normally sees," Mr Cole says. "There are a lot of personal items that have been donated by our past members. It is important that our community gets the opportunity to view it. It adds to what is up at the Auckland Museum in a more Howick way."

Silverdale RSA members have already visited and passed on some tips after starting their own museum.


Veteran Patrick Kelliher, who volunteers at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, was keen to see if he could identify anything.

"There are hardly any of us World War II blokes left so it is important for us to help with things like this now," he says.

Silverdale RSA curator Patricia Stroud loves sifting through old artefacts.

She says individual RSA museums play an important role in keeping the war histories alive.

"Some of the old chaps in World War I never talked about it, they took it all with them to the grave so in a way we lost some of those stories."

Veteran Joe Pedersen, from the Silverdale RSA, says there is something missing from the Howick collection.

"I was in the navy and I know there are a lot of navy guys out here in Howick so I would like to see much more of that stuff in here," he says.

Call 534 9702 if you recognise any of the items or have something you'd like to donate.

Eastern Courier