Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Off on an adventure?

I'm sitting here quietly enjoying a cup of coffee in the peaceful surrounds of home. Just the radio is on quietly in the background.

And I'm trying to imagine something.

Trying to imagine what a 20 year old drug store assistant from Henderson, Auckland would have been feeling about now.

That drug store assistant is Horace Dyason and, about 2 months ago, he joined the NZ Expeditionary Force (later being assigned to the NZ Medical Corp) and is now in a field ambulance section ('B' section).

He is my great-grandfather.

On this day, 100 years ago, he would have be sitting on troopship (Star of India) in the Wellington harbour with the rest of the main NZ force about to depart to fight the Hun (or so they thought). A young man looking back across the harbour at home like so many other young men before the ships depart tomorrow (16th Oct 1914).

I'd imagine he'd be there, maybe with old mates, maybe with some new mates, but maybe also feeling very alone. Perhaps he sees at as an adventure. But, family history says he was a conscientious objector, so I doubt this is an adventure. More of a duty as he didn't want his mother to receive a white feather, but he refused to hold a weapon.

But I really can't imagine what it would feel like 100 years on.

It was only due to an article here on the WW100 site that I realised the significance of this week in relation to NZ's part in WW1.

There is an image in the article I've linked above of a mother saying goodbye to her son. Someone has colourised it. Creates quite a powerful image.

Having a copy of the war records for my great-grandfather. It got me thinking and after a look through them again, I noted that his "foreign service" started on 16/10/14. Early 1900's handwriting is hard to decipher, so it's hard to follow his service, but still it's interesting to try and piece it all together.

Does get you wondering just what they must have been thinking or feeling.

Lest we forget.