Praise for tidy 'true' war graves

Inspecting war graves at Warringtons St Barnabas Church are (from left)  Commonwealth War Graves...
Inspecting war graves at Warringtons St Barnabas Church are (from left) Commonwealth War Graves Commission vice-chairman Admiral Sir Ian Garnett KCB with Rev Roger Barker and Bishop of Dunedin the Right Rev Dr Kelvin Wright. Photo by Alistair Wright.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission vice-chairman has made a whistle-stop tour of the South Island's war graves.

After arriving in Dunedin from Queenstown, Admiral Sir Ian Garnett KCB, yesterday visited the city's Northern cemetery followed by cemeteries at St Barnabas at Warrington, Karitane, Palmerston, Hampden, Maheno, Oamaru, Timaru, Arowhenua, Temuka, and Ashburton.

Adm Garnett arrived in New Zealand last week from Australia where he attended Anzac services and visited Auckland, Wairarapa and Wellington before flying into Queenstown to begin his South Island tour.

"True" war graves are graves of serving members of the forces who died within New Zealand during wartime, or shortly afterwards, from a war-related cause, not those of war veterans buried in the services areas of cemeteries around New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government acts as agent for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in caring for these "true" war graves.

Dunedin's Anglican Bishop's warden Alistair Wright said there were three such graves at St Barnabas - World War 1 Second Lieutenant Norman Alexander Whiting and World War 2 soldiers Ivan Driver Downes and Private James Roger Storey.

"He [Adm Garnett] referred to how tidy and good looking the cemetery was. We were chuffed."

The visit coincided with the annual visit by Bishop of Dunedin the Right Rev Dr Kelvin Wright to St Barnabas and it was the first time Adm Garnett had been met by a bishop on his grave visits, Mr Wright said.

Adm Garrett flies out of Christchurch to Singapore today.

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