Blenheim remembers armistice

22:53, Nov 11 2012
Joan Ferguson
Armistice Day service wreath laying at Seymour Square: From left Joan Ferguson, Flight Leiutenant Mark Henderson, Emma Henderson, Natasha Henderson, 8, and Aaron, 10.

Marlborough may have been humming over the weekend, but for two short minutes in a small corner of Blenheim yesterday, silence reigned.

About 150 returned servicemen and their families along with local dignitaries attended the memorial service to observe the 94th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice at the Marlborough Convention Centre yesterday.

John Forrest of the Marlborough RSA said the first minute of silence was to remember the 16 million people who died in World War I, and the second minute was to remember the families left behind.

"Many men who survived the war also use the time to pay homage to their lost comrades, who never returned," he said.

Emma Henderson, formerly of the Royal Air Force, attended the service with her mother Joan Ferguson and children Aaron, 10, and Natasha, 8.

Her husband is a Royal New Zealand Airforce lieutenant and was Kaikoura MP Colin King's attendant during the service.


Armistice Day in Britain is the equivalent to New Zealand's Anzac Day, where people throng to dawn services to remember those who died in one of the deadliest conflicts in world history. Joan Ferguson said it was important for young people to continue the tradition and take a moment to remember other people's sacrifices.

"If we don't remember, all those lives lost will have been in vain."

People laid poppies and wreaths at the convention centre, before members of the Blenheim Air Training Corps led them to the Seymour Square War Memorial. The RSA decided to hold the memorial service at the convention centre because of forecast rain.

The Marlborough Express