Cambridge veteran prepares to revisit his desert days
JONATHAN CARSON AND SIENA YATES
A veteran of World War II, who was tearing around the Balkans about seven decades ago, will relive some of those memories at Armistice in Cambridge.
Alf Page, 87, who served in the Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) Army and the British-led Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) will ride on board a 1943 Ford GTW jeep, similar to the one he drove during the war, during this weekend's parade.
The former trooper was active in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece - "all along the Balkans".
"I came out in '45 when the war finished.
"But exactly when I went there, I can't remember," he said.
Serving in the LRDG - a reconnaissance and raiding unit - Mr Page spent most of his time behind the lines conducting shipping and road watches, and railway demolitions.
However, he prefers to keep the finer details to himself. "I don't really worry about them anymore. It's forgotten.
"I never really talk about it because the war finished long ago."
Mr Page was born in South Africa, moved to Rhodesia with his father and only came to New Zealand seven years ago to be closer to his daughter and two sons.
He said Armistice Day was "a big thing" in New Zealand and was a time of reflection about the war and the "good pals" he served with.
"You sit and think things you wouldn't normally on any other day.
"As far as I can remember now I'm about the only one left from my patrol. All the rest have gone to happy hunting grounds."
Armistice in Cambridge chairman Rob Feisst said after finding a new home at the Mighty River Domain in Karapiro, the group has been able to bring in of new attractions. A highlight at this year's event is a replica German U-Boat, which will be bombed by a fighter plane on Lake Karapiro.
"The fact that we've got access to the lake here and the scope to have aerial displays, opens it up to all sorts of things in the future. The extent of what we can do, the only restriction is your imagination," he said.
For a full programme list see: www.armisticeincambridge.co.nz/Programme.html
ARMISTICE AT CAMBRIDGE
WHERE: Mighty River Domain, Cambridge
WHEN: Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9am-4pm
HOW MUCH: Adults $10 for a single day, children $5, under 5s and veterans free.
- Waikato Times