Plaque unveiling to begin WWI tributes

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014

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The South Canterbury RSA will start its World War I commemorations on August 16.

RSA general manager Michelle Brown said it marked an important date in South Canterbury's history.

"August 16 is when the 8th Regiment (South Canterbury) New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) left our shores to join the war effort and to commemorate that, we will be unveiling our plaque on the date, at the Phar Lap Raceway."

The plaque was originally located on RSA grounds and is dedicated to the men and women of the Mounted Rifles and reads, "In memory of the horses of the 8th Regiment NZMR that died in the Great War 1914-18."

The public is invited to attend the unveiling, which Brown said would be a festive occasion rather than sombre.

"We are inviting the public to come in period costume. It is about building up the awareness around World War I. The unveiling would commemorate when the troops left to go to Lyttelton. It is not commemorating the start of the war."

Brown said the occasion will be ceremonial and the mayor and members of the Defence Force would attend. The unveiling will begin at 2pm. Parking will be available and entry to the raceway is just off State Highway 1.

The gathering is among South Canterbury events being run by the Timaru World War I centenary committee, which Brown chairs.

On Monday, August 4, the Waimate District Council will join the rest of the nation in lowering the New Zealand flag to half-mast.

The outbreak of war was announced in New Zealand on August 4, 1914. It will be marked with a 100-gun salute in Wellington and a catafalque guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The Last Post will be sounded and the Ode read.

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- The Timaru Herald

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