DIY poppies feature of Kiwis' tribute

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 26/04/2013
afghanistan

ON THE SPOT: Former New Zealand soldiers gather together to hold a dawn service at the New Zealand memorial in Bamiyan, Afghanistan on Anzac Day. Former Kiwi soldiers Alpha Kennedy, centre, and Chris Elles, behind the New Zealand flag, paid tribute to fallen comrades with Afghan security forces.

Afghan
ON THE SPOT: Former New Zealand soldiers gather together to hold a dawn service at the New Zealand memorial in Bamiyan, Afghanistan on Anzac Day. Former Kiwi soldiers Alpha Kennedy, centre.

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Former New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan demonstrated a touch of Kiwi ingenuity in their resolve to pay tribute to their fallen comrades in a special Anzac Day service held in Bamiyan.

Kiwis remaining in the Bamiyan province could not not find poppies to mark the loss of 10 peers who died while serving in the region.

So they made their own flowers with red paper and electric cable to pay tribute on Anzac Day at lunchtime (NZ time).

The last of the Kiwi provincial reconstruction team in Bamiyan pulled out from the dangerous northeastern area earlier this month, after 10 years in the province spent building infrastructure, education and health services.

Former Kiwi soldiers remain in the province working for International Strategic Development Solutions on a development project.

Yesterday's service was held at dawn in Bamiyan and was a joint service attended by the Afghanistan National Army soldiers and the New Zealanders still working in the province.

It was held at the site of a memorial unveiled by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae earlier this month. They staged a memorial for those lost in the conflict, in a service particularly poignant for a friend of fallen Feilding soldier Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell.

Former Kiwi soldier Alpha Kennedy remains in Afghanistan as part of the ISDS team.

He had served alongside Lieutenant O'Donnell, who was 28 when he was killed instantly in an insurgent attack in August 2010.

Mr Kennedy had preceded Lieutenant O'Donnell as Platoon Commander in the 2nd/1st Battalion of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, with Mr Kennedy taking on the role in 2009 and Lieutenant O'Donnell taking over in 2010.

Those at the service remembered him and fellow Kiwi servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan - Lance Corporals Jacinda Baker, Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, and Corporals Douglas Hughes and Luke Tamatea, SAS Corporals Leon Smith and Doug Grant, and Privates Richard Harris and Kirifi Mila.

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