New memorial oak for WW1 soldier

A fallen soldier has been remembered with new life, thanks to his great-great-great nephew and niece.

Rio  and Liv  Pringle, joined by family members and Memorial Oaks committee members, planted a new memorial oak tree yesterday, for their great-great-great- uncle Private Fredrick Whitaker, who died in action during World War1, in 1918.

Rio said it was quite special to be involved in the ceremony, in  Towey St, near the intersec tion of Perth St, in Oamaru. ‘‘It’s so we can remember his memory,’’ Rio said.

Rio (9) and Liv (7) Pringle helped plant the new memorial oak tree for their great-great-great...
Rio (9) and Liv (7) Pringle helped plant the new memorial oak tree for their great-great-great-uncle PrivateFredrick Whitaker yesterday in Oamaru’s Towey St. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE
A book created by Pte Whitaker’s family detailed his life and time at war, to pass on the knowledge for future generations. Rio and his sister read the book each year before attending an Anzac Day service and visiting Pte Whitaker’s oak.

In 2018, a  memorial oak for Pte Whitaker, at the southern end of Towey St, was removed due to damage.

Pte Whitaker’s great-niece Julie Pringle said the new location, at the opposite end of Towey St, was perfect as it was closer to where his family lived.

‘‘It’s so amazing really that we can do something like this and the family be part of it,’’ she said.

Memorial Oaks committee secretary Rob Douglas said it was ‘‘fantastic’’ the tree had been shifted and the family wanted to be part of the ceremony.

‘‘I think it’s just tremendous people are remembering the fact that he died 103 years ago.

‘‘It’s important to them, it’s important to the rest of the community to remember these soldiers who died for us,’’ Mr Douglas said.

‘‘I hope this tree will outlive us all — go well.’’


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