Detours has been contacted by several readers who want to
know which is the correct side for wearing military medals
and memorial poppies.
Mosgiel Memorial RSA board of trustees chairman Noel Graham
says the protocol for wearing medals is ''if you have won the
medals yourself, you wear them on the left side''.
If you are wearing a relative's medals they go on the right
There is ''no hard and fast rule'' for wearing poppies.
''I always wear mine on the left, but some wear them behind
their RSA badge, which always goes on the right,'' he says.
Trying to find common ground on which side the poppy is worn
is ''like herding cats'', he says.
The BBC published in 2009 a guide to poppy etiquette which
states ''Some people say left, as it's worn over the heart
... others say only the Queen and Royal Family are allowed to
wear a poppy on the right, which isn't true. Then there is
the school of thought that says men should wear theirs on the
left and women on the right, as is the traditional custom
with a badge or brooch ... there is no right or wrong side
other than to wear it with pride.''
Former Royal New Zealand RSA official historian Dr Stephen
Clarke says the poppy has become the international symbol of
remembrance thanks to the work of Madame E. Guerin.
''Madame E. Guerin conceived the idea of widows manufacturing
artificial poppies in the devastated areas of Northern France
which then could be sold by veterans' organisations worldwide
for their own veterans and dependants as well as the benefit
of destitute French children. Throughout 1920-21, Guerin and
her representatives approached veteran organisations in the
United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and
urged them to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance,''
• While we are on the subject, Dunedin's Doris Anderson
wrote to us about Anzac Day, and her late brother going off
to World War 2, and raised a poignant point: ''I think of all
the young men and wonder what they must have been feeling
sailing into goodness-knows-what.''
He enlisted at the outbreak of war, at the age of 23, and
went overseas with the 27th Machine Gun Battalion.
His diary entry the day he left Dunedin on Friday, January 5,
1940, read:''Reveille at 4.45am. Up and gear packed by
5.20am. Breakfast at 6.30am. It's a funny feeling, packing
for the last time in New Zealand. Light lunch 1000 hours. At
10.45am, we assembled on battalion parade and left for
railway station. Entrained and, after the usual interminable
wait, train pulled out. We got a great reception at the
places we passed through, with cheering, waves, etc.''
He was wounded at the Battle of Orsogna on December 7, 1943.
''He had to walk with two sticks and a splint on one leg for
the rest of his life, but was able to hold down a responsible
job and retired as chief mechanical engineer of the New
Zealand Railways,'' Mrs Anderson said.
''One regret he has was that because of his injuries he was
not able to have children; which is just another of the
horrible effects war has.''
• Cromwell reader Alwyn Landreth was interested in last
week's item about the location formerly known as Pleasant
View, in Waikouaiti. Reader Mel Littlejohn discovered a
Pleasant View reference in a 1885 Otago Daily Times birth
notice to ''the wife of Geo. R. Fry, a son''.
Mrs Landreth's grandmother, Mary Fry, was also born in
Pleasant View. She grew up with her parents, John and Helen
Hallum, on a Waikouaiti farm known to all as ''Maybank''.
''My grandmother was Mary Jane Fry and she was born at
Pleasant View, which was probably the name of the farm,'' Mrs
''Several properties around Waikouaiti had these types of
names, instead of being just `Smith's' or `Brown's'. Examples
were Ocean View, Lamb Hill and Maybank.''