100 years ago: From our archives

Clyde, on the mighty Molyneux, capital town of Vincent County. — Otago Witness, 11.6.1919  ...
Clyde, on the mighty Molyneux, capital town of Vincent County. — Otago Witness, 11.6.1919 COPIES OF PICTURE AVAILABLE FROM ODT FRONT OFFICE, LOWER STUART ST, OR WWW.OTAGOIMAGES.CO.NZ
The horrors of war

MR Philip Gibbs, the famous English war correspondent, has been telling Americans a few things the British and dominion troops suffered in France and Flanders. Mr Gibbs remembers the poor fellows who suffered from the devilry of the Germans, and the horrors of war they will never forget. He speaks: The danger is that in a generation, or less, the memory of what this war meant in human suffering may fade out, leaving only the remembrance of heroism, touched by romance. The danger is, even now, that when people talk about "the horrors of war", it is but with an abstract idea to them, and that they do not really understand the depths our men passed so bravely, so patiently, so silently. In their letters home they wrote of the brighter side of things for the sake of those who were anxious and afraid; and, when they came home on leave, in answer to questions about their sufferings, they said: "I want to forget all that ... let's go and see a show which will make us laugh. Thank God for laughter." Many soldiers were buried alive. That happened scores of times in Ypres, where platoons of men billeted in vaults below the Cathedral, and houses were entombed by tons of masonry hurled down by high explosives. It was the constant shelling behind the lines, and in the lines, which wore down the nerves of the men and caused that new disease, unknown to man-kind before, called shell shock - the most horrible malady in war. Strangely enough, it affected the stolid, phlegmatic type of man more than the nervous and highly strung, and it had nothing to do with lack of courage, but was a physical disorder of the nervous system caused by concussion. Then came the devilish use of poison gas, first used by the Germans in the second battle of Ypres, when our men did not understand its meaning and retreated before that vapour of death through a wide stampede of civilians in Ypres until many fell, choking and gasping their lives out in the fields around. That was in the spring of 1915, and until the end of the war the Germans and ourselves developed and intensified this most dreaded means of destruction.

Trucks for Dunedin City

At the last meeting of the City Council the question of purchasing motor vehicles for the works department was discussed, and the opinion was freely expressed that preference should be given to trucks of British manufacture. As a result of the discussion Cr Wilson agreed to withdraw a clause in the report of the works Committee recommending the purchase of certain vehicle. The committee now reports that it is obtaining further information with regard to the whole of the tenders for motor trucks, and the matter will be again investigated. In the meantime, it recommends that authority be now granted to purchase the one-ton Ford truck as offered for the sum of 275.

Footpath sweeping unhealthy

The menace to health which is involved in the methods practised by a number if shopkeepers in sweeping the front of their premises was recently brought under the notice of the City Council. In regard to this matter the Works Committee report that instructions have been given to draw public attention to the fact that the dry sweeping of footways in front of business premises is prohibited, and that all cleansing of footways must be carried out in a sanitary manner and without offence to pedestrians. - ODT, 9.6.1919


Just now in 2019 listening to a digital recording of John Stryker Meyer who led missions into Vietnam as Green Beret. The digital will keep the memory of our great ancestors live forever more, and let it bloom. You listen to their cold courage, measure yourself, and am found wanting. These stories of men who fought for our freedom, will get more compelling with time. It is why Anzac grows every year. It is the contrast with the life of ease we have. The life they won for us. But the contrast stands out like green tracer bullets chancing a shot in the dark of the Vietnam night.

I found the date 1919 compelling. Two years after the 1917 revolution in Russia. Starry eyed Bolsehviks had spend 2 years killing. In what was to become an 80 year campaign of terror and 100 million shallow graves.

The old papers seem full of correspondence from real people, no journalist schools back in the day. It's that 99% of great inventions and great people, didn't come from academia, they came from real people.

And well constructed, slanted writing.

You must be aware that the Vietnam War was not fought for 'our' freedom, but for the perceived freedom of South Vietnam to live under an American aligned military regime.