Here at Kiwibank, we’ve been thinking a lot this week about what ANZAC day means to us. Alongside the collective feelings of pride in our nation, patriotism, appreciation of those who gave their lives, and taking a moment to remember our history, we also created a space on our intranet (that we call OurSpace) for our people to tell the stories from their families.
Here is a glimpse into some of the stories that have shaped the lives of our people.
Catherine Taylor, our Group Manager of People, told the story of her Grandfather who served with the Scottish Gordon Highlanders in WW1, she said:
“He was stationed in France during this period and he was fortunate to survive despite being shot twice.”
Her uncle served with the RAF in WW2 and died in action over Germany. Catherine continued,
“He and the crew are buried together in a war cemetery in Hannover Germany. The Bomber Command is now recognised with a memorial near Hyde Park in London.”
Karen Howarth, one of our Internal Communications Specialists, told the story of her Great Grandfather, Arthur ‘Bill’ Gaskin, said: “He was with the Wellington Regiment and served in WW1 at Gallipoli and later at the Somme. He sustained shrapnel wounds at the Somme, which evidently troubled him for the rest of his life and was shipped out to London to recover.”
Life then took a different turn for Bill as during his covalence he met his future wife. Karen recalls fondly, “It was a happy ending for Bill; he met my great grandmother, Janet, who was a nurse at the hospital.”
Moyra Poipoi, our Underwriting Manager, had many family members to remember, including her father, uncles and her mother who served as an Army Telephone Operator in WW2. The legacy of her family’s war efforts is still remembered today and Moyra said, “My granddaughter will wear miniatures of all her ancestor’s medals at the dawn parade in Wellington tomorrow with her Guide Group. I’m so proud of my family.”
Jill Shipp, Team Leader Reconciliation told us: “My great grandfather, George Hudson, fought in WW1. He left behind his wife and unborn child, who would become my grandfather, in Glasgow, and died of his wounds at Gallipoli, never having met his son.”
She added, “It's made Anzac day even more poignant for me since I moved to New Zealand 7 years ago.”
Bryan Lambert, a senior manager in Reporting and Analysis, told us of his great uncles; brothers who fought in WW1. He said, “The younger brother enlisted when he was 18 and was a part of the 2nd reinforcements as a gunner in the artillery and fought at both Gallipoli and France. He died of his wounds in France in September 1916 during the battle for the Somme. He was 20.”
“The elder brother was a Major in the Artillery and went to France with the 5th reinforcements and survived the war, earning a DSO (Distinguished Service Order).”
To learn more Bryan visited Gallipoli in 1999, “We were part of a bus tour with the usual mix of Kiwis, Aussies and South Africans. The day we went was a clear blue sky, warm in the sun. It looked beautiful - very much like today in Wellington. I knew the history, so to see where they landed, fought, the graves, the names and ages of the soldiers from both sides who never went home, was very sobering. I will remember them.”
There are many more – stories of the bravery and heroism of those who went to war, and the resilience and hardships faced by the families they had to leave behind. Real stories from our people, of those they will not forget.
We created a wall of remembrance, where people could write messages, and share experiences, particularly from those who had had the opportunity to visit Gallipoli. Our IT team organised a bake sale on their floor to raise funds for the Wellington RSA. The beautiful poppy themed cakes and biscuits raised $1,283 and gave our people another place to share stories, remember and donate to this very worthy cause.
Our Kiwibankers will be standing alongside you at the dawn services in the morning. Along with the rest of New Zealand, we will remember them.