Rest-home residents' effort marks wartime anniversary

Remembering those who died in the Battle of Passchendaele are Radius Fulton rest-home residents (from left) Maree Dalton (84), Danetta Stringer (78), Jean Russell (74) and Frances Hohaia (83). Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Remembering those who died in the Battle of Passchendaele are Radius Fulton rest-home residents (from left) Maree Dalton (84), Danetta Stringer (78), Jean Russell (74) and Frances Hohaia (83). Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Residents of Radius Fulton rest-home in Caversham have created a special Passchendaele memorial in front of their home.

Danetta Stringer, Jean Russell, Maree Dalton and Frances Hohaia put in several late nights making crosses and replica poppies to honour soldiers killed in the 1917 World War 1 battle.

''It took hours and hours: it might look easy but it's not,'' Mrs Stringer said. ''But it's worthwhile when you see them all done.''

The Battle of Passchendaele took place from July 31 to November 10.

More than half a million men from the German and Allied sides were killed.

On October 12, 843 New Zealanders were killed in a failed advance - the bloodiest day in the country's military history.

The Dunedin rest-home residents have been creating war memorials on the front lawn of their home for some years, initially for Anzac Day but also for other wartime anniversaries. Plans are in place for memorials for 1918 battles, and for a display to mark Armistice Day, November 11.

''It's nice to think that they are remembered, and this is the only way we can do it,'' Mrs Dalton said.

The four women are on the committee of the Residents Action Group, and are known as the ''Ragtimers''.

The group also organises activities to raise money for charities.

''They give up their leisure time for this,'' rest-home recreation officer Beth Sizemore said.

-By Mike Houlahan

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