Southern military history
It happened in the space of a single minute. Eight German fighter pilots, flying over France on August 9, 1943, had been paying attention to what was around and below them.
2010 marks 150 years since the formation of the first militia units, the forerunners of the army, navy and air force, in Southland and Otago. We take a look back at the southern experiences.
The messy demise of a cow in Invercargill's Thompsons Bush had significant implications for both world wars.
Gore's Edmund Bowler was the whistleblower the military never forgave.
Ronald Bannerman, of Gore, was a World War I air ace who recorded 17 kills – 16 German aircraft and a balloon.
A man doesn't want to seem ungrateful, and Arthur Diack wasn't, but after the Prince of Wales pinned his Military Medal on to his chest, he found himself in a bit of a predicament.
"Call yourself the cream of New Zealand?" barked the sergeant major. "Good God, I wouldn't like to taste the milk!"
To the headhunters of Borneo, in 1943, Southland soldier George Edlin was a real puzzle.
The initial Anzac Day commemorations were "a man's do" in the late 1920s and early 1930s, recalls 86-year-old former WAAC Doreen Heffernan.
Late autumn, 1943, two German officers, a young Frenchman and a silent Southlander shared a dining table on a train bound for Toulouse in occupied France. It was a polite, not unfriendly, but exquisitely dangerous meal.
Neil Hogan they called Father. Even back then he'd fuss over the others a bit.
Peter King invaded German-occupied France in World War 2.
Irwin Gillies did memorable things with metal, when he turned it to his will.
Geoffrey Cox was an intrepid reporter at the start of World War 2, sneaking into a Hitler Youth camp for an insider's view, and later getting thumped by Brown Shirts, on their way to one of the infamous Nuremberg Rallies, for keeping hands in his pockets when all around him were returning Nazi salutes.
How stroppy colonial disrespect brought the highest honour
Jack Hinton had had enough of this retreating malarky. It was April 1941 and in military terms the Greek campaign was already lost.
Jeremy Robinson talked to Invercargill man Stuart Craig and Bluff's Ronnie Beaton after their commemorative trip back to South Korea to see how the country compared with the battle-zone they once knew.
Compulsory Military Training: a time when New Zealand's ardent young men were required to do some soldiering. Southlander Leo Ward reflects on the experience.
Sergeant Pilot Jim MacIntosh was caught up in the capitulation of Java and taken prisoner by the Japanese. In 1946 he testified at the War Crimes Tribunal about the way he and other prisoners of war were treated. This is his account.
Jack Pritchard is not the classic war hero, yet his modification to the field telephone was adopted by most Allied forces in North Africa in World War 2. Jared Morgan spoke to the Riverton man and found heroes often go unsung.
"I suppose the poor (German) devils who ran away would tell their cobbers we were savages," Lance Corporal Charles Kerse, from Gore, wrote after the capture of Circus Trench.
When he saw the Christmas tree, outside on a cold Glenorchy day, Gilbert John McMeeking turned to his two young daughters in a state of distress that shocked them.
How many times can a heart break?
James Douglas Stark was the sort of soldier who seemed at equal risk of Victoria Cross or a firing squad.
The main body of Southlanders to head to the Boer War were in a contingent known, pleasingly to modern ears, as the Rough Riders. Time has subverted the dashing and rakish connotations of the other popular nickname – the Dandy Forth.
One-time Southlander Dick Travis was a capable killer, at home on the battlefields of World War 1. Read any account of his war history and the anecdotal evidence suggests he was the archetypal strong and silent Southlander who got on with the job.