Siblings' tales of wartime memories

WARTIME MEMORIES: Patsy McKenzie and her brother Wynne Raymond.
WARTIME MEMORIES: Patsy McKenzie and her brother Wynne Raymond.

War-time memories of a Timaru childhood come to life in a new book being launched to coincide with Anzac Day.

Barbed Wire on the Bay, written by Patsy McKenzie, tells the story of her and brother Wynne Raymond growing up in Timaru during World War II.

The book is a result of their collective memories - shaped and moulded in story form.

At the end of the war, no-one talked about their experiences so her children did not hear any of the stories, said McKenzie.

"Most were written quite a long time ago for my grandchildren. I used to tell my eight grandchildren stories of my childhood. My youngest grandchild's mother, Fiona, suggested writing in the first person so they could be put together."

The book has two parts to it - Timaru and Te Moana Gorge - and is put together by Patsy's two daughters, Fiona and Jane McKenzie.

"Both girls played to their strengths to produce the book - with Fiona in charge of the pictures and Jane in charge of the production side of things," Patsy said.

A family friend Simon Cameron has drawn maps depicting Caroline Bay and other places the youngsters frequented during World War II.

The McKenzie sisters are thrilled with the book and its depiction of a world of rationing, a Home Guard, and a dug-out in the back garden as seen through the eyes of Patsy and Wynne.

The book will be launched at a function in Timaru on April 23.

It will be available from the South Canterbury Museum, Paper Plus in Timaru and selected outlets in Geraldine.

The book also has a Facebook page for those keen to get updates and more information on the book itself.

The Timaru Herald