Caricatures, shell casings, diaries, medals and even bayonets
came out of their cupboards and cases this weekend as their
keepers hoped to nab a spot on the Tony Robinson's Tour of
Duty television series.
The television star known for his role as Baldrick in
Blackadder was in Dunedin filming the series this week.
As part of the series, people were invited to bring in their
wartime memorabilia to a community event at Otago Boys' High
School yesterday and share their families' war stories.
Many people took him up on the offer and took the chance to
talk to New Zealand Defence Force senior adviser heritage
Mr Buck said people had brought along an ''incredible
variety'' of material including photographs, paybooks,
caricatures soldiers did of each other, and other material
brought home from war by their grandfathers or
While he expected material from Word War 1, people had also
brought memorabilia from the Boer Wars in the 1880s and
1890s, including a bandolier or ammunition belt, as well as
from World War 2.
A story that stood out was the Bible carried by a man in the
Crimean War, then carried by his great-grandson in World War
''It's been fascinating. Hugely enjoyable.''
Many wanted to know how to look after the memorabilia and his
advice was to keep it in the family, as it was their family
''It means more to families, more than sitting in a museum
case or, God forbid, an auction house.''
If a museum was preferred, keeping it in Otago, as it was
part of the region's history, was a good place to start, he
Neil Armstrong brought along his grandfather's war badges and
German-engraved shell casings from North Africa and said he
was glad of an opportunity to find out more about them.
Sir Tony was filmed during the event talking to a range of
people whose stories might appear on the programme, including
that of Waikouaiti resident Pat Heckler (92), who appeared in
the Otago Daily Times when her late father's World War
1 paybook was discovered in the Reed Building.
The story that stood out for him from yesterday was that of a
Gallipoli soldier who wrote home on a piece of wood asking
for more paper.
''He ran out of paper and this was a postcard to his sister
and it came all the way back to Maori St.''
The 10-part series will air on the History Channel next year.