On the first anniversary of my brother’s death I visited the Wellington Botanical Gardens where he and I had left small footprints as children, visiting with our parents. And where in the mid 1970’s he left more footprints when he worked there as a gardener.
During my visit I wondered if perhaps had he stopped work and stood and enjoyed this view
Or perhaps he had rested in the summer heat under this Weeping Willow tree
Or trudged up this path amid the greenery
Or cut this long, steep, grassy bank.
And behind me as I took these photographs was A Field of Remembrance.
866 white crosses bearing the names of Wellingtonians who were casualties of WW1 between 1914-15.
This field is but one of many that have been established around our country to commemorate those who lost their lives.
In April of 2015–2018, part of Wellington Botanic Garden will become a place to reflect on and remember those who died World War I. Sited on Salamanca Lawn, towards Salamanca Road, the Fields of Remembrance will feature replica Flanders field poppies and 866 white crosses to commemorate the Wellingtonians who died in service in 1915. We’ve worked with the Fields of Remembrance Trust to make this event possible. 10–28 April.
Gallivanta in Christchurch has posted about visiting the one in her city.
A steady trickle of quiet, sombre, reflective visitors moved amongst the crosses and spent time with their own thoughts, feeling and memories.
What tender memories, Lynley, as you retrace the footprints of your brother. How beautifully located the Field of Remembrance is, and how poignant the losses.
Thank you Juliet. My brother lived a good deal of his adult life out of NZ and died overseas so I searched for a place here to remember him. The Botanical Gardens suddenly came to mind. The Salamanca Lawn in the Gardens is a wonderful place for the Field of Remembrance. Each year more crosses will be added.
OG, what a poignant and beautiful place to go to remember your brother. A day of very mixed emotions, I expect. Peace be with you.
I am very happy to see your photos of the Field of Remembrance, and ever so pleased you linked to our Christchurch Field. Are there names on your crosses?
It took me over a week to fashion up that post. The anniversary was a tough time interspersed with some happy shared memories and interests. We both loved the story “Badjelly, the Witch” so I listened to that as I reflected at home. I wonder if we will see other Fields blogged about. If only war had ended in 1918 as they all hoped…..
If only! I read somewhere that the names of the casualties may appear in several different fields. For example my great-uncle could be in the Wellington Field because he left from Wellington, and was with the Wellington Infantry. He will certainly be in the Dunedin Field because that was his home town. The sad thing that hits me when I look at the Fields is that in this week alone almost the same number of people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, trying to flee persecution and war in their home countries. The world still does war, despite all the carnage and sorrow caused by war over the last 100 years.
Keep strong. 🙂
I see a Field has been opened in Pahiatua. The horror of the people fleeing across the Mediterranean is graphic. Strength to you too 🙂
Are you listening to the Godley Letters on Radio NZ? I am gripped by them. Such a different perspective on the Gallipoli campaign. Also, I am loving the references to Convalescent homes. Where are they now? We still need them. My respite at the Monastery is not going to happen. They had to close immediately because of a lack of funding. They were so apologetic when they phoned me, I ended up wanting to cry for them. All that good work they did; such a shame no one wants to continue to fund them.
No I have missed those Letters. I am so sad to read about the Monastery closing – such an immense loss for all. I presume Convalescent homes were funded by Govt, churches and Philanthropic funds in the past? In a different area of life, our Trash Palace has had to close due to DHB funding cuts and heavy competition from big business in the recycling arena. This means a loss of jobs for many folks who are challenged with mental health issues. I have to work hard to remind myself that there is softness still in the world.
In 1915 Lady Godley needed private donations to support her convalescent homes; she complains of the penny pinching by the Defence Ministry , and the paper work,when it came to funding for convalescence. Governments don’t change much. The penny pinching continues and the only one that profits is Misery.
I to have lost a brother – a time of remembrance
Sending you warm thoughts in your loss.
Thank you for that – it’s been a long time…