Wednesday, April 27, 2016


The e-mail below was sent to me unsolicited and unedited except for the writers name which I have deleted for privacy reasons.   No commentary needed from me ... but you don't need to hold back.   Particularly interested if you were there.

Good morning
In one of my FB groups (Ex RNZN NAVY CLUB) there are reports of City Councillors in at least two places (Hamilton and Carterton) inserting themselves uninvited into ANZAC parades - between the Flag Bearers and the Veterans Platoon.  Traipsing and sauntering (as opposed to marching) these clowns waved to the crowd and took many selfies during the march. In the Hamilton instance the Veterans Platoon almost tripped over the Councillors.
As you are probably aware - usually the crowds applaud and cheer the Veterans Platoon.  Do you - like me -  find it appalling that these cretins are soaking up the applause meant for Veterans (and probably believing it is for them)
Yours aye,
(name removed)
Warrant Officer (Rtd)


Adolf Fiinkensein said...


Isn't that the place where the cretinous one time Mayor inserted himself uninvited into the SAS?

They were just following his example.

Angry Tory said...

Time for someone do deal to them the way traitors and bludgers were dealt with in 1914-1918.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Steady now, AT. However, what a pity a couple of younger veterans did not simply grab them by the scruffs of the neck and frog march them into the gutter, where they belong.

Anonymous said...

"Applause"? .....In 30 years of attending Anzac and Armistice day services all over the UK and Europe I have never heard applause. I find the tone of letter as distressing as the content, fancy someone soaking up the applause meant for him.

It's about a silent tribute to the dead and to reflect on the sometimes political stupidity that made that happen. As I have written elsewhere ANZAC day is turning into a slick entertainment package and I wonder how many NZers would turn up at dawn service if there were no marches, medals or uniforms. We are losing touch with the raison d'etre of the day.

I reflect on the last Armistice day I attended in a small French town. A stroll through the streets by people to the Memorial. No uniforms apart from representatives of the armed forces. No VIPs and certainly no segregated seating, in fact no seating at all. A line of apprentice Pompiers (Junior firemen) stood holding huge bouquets of freshly cut flowers. As the non-religious service commenced the town worthies were called out of the crowd to take a bouquet from a Pompier and lay it on the memorial.

As it turned out I had been standing next to the mayor all along in the sixth row back. They have their priorities right. Cut flowers instead of plastic poppies supplied by the lowest bidder and the dead take priority.

The Veteran said...

Egbut 7.21 ... you've been away from home far too long. Don't know where and when it started but about a decade ago and it may have been the dawn parade in Auckland but there was spontaneous applause when the veterans marched off the parade at the conclusion of the service. I guess it was their way of saying ty to the living ... ex and current. Since then it has taken off nationwide and certainly you experience the same across the ditch.

Clearly the frogs do it different and that is their right. But doing it different doesn't make them better (or worse).

As for the content of the e-mail and no, I don't find it distressing at all. Just a sailors expressed indignation at a bunch of civilians muscling in on someone elses parade and not forgetting that the local body elections are just five months away.

Psycho Milt said...

Nothing says you just watched a piece of entertainment like giving applause. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

It's not Veterans day or Defence day's ANZAC day, a day of remembrance. No applause in the UK either. When you die on active service you are Discharged Dead, you then belong to your family and your community not the army or RSA who seem to be running the whole shebang and to a certain extent it has been foisted on us and the jostling and elbowing behind the scenes is less than edifying...why are the Brownies marching ahead of the cubs....s'not fair! The public must be going soft in the head.

Anzac day is not a day to strut your stuff, do you know that since 1995 the Govt. has minted more medals than soldiers killed in action.

Lord Egbut

OlderChas said...

There is a simple answer I think. The RSA has traditionally run both parades - particularly the Dawn Parade. Let the vets continue to turn out at Dawn and pay tribute to their forbears. Then let them stay in the RSA enjoying each others company and memories while the "civvy civics" run whatever type of parade they like. No RSA involvement at all and certainly not attendance. I feel that had I been in either of the places mentioned I would have exercised my right not to march.

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... again, you demonstrate just how much you are removed from contemporary NZL. ANZAC Day in NZL is about remembering ... those who served and those who are still serving. And if the public choose to demonstrate their support for veterans as they march off then who are you to say that's wrong?

As for your contention that somehow it's wrong that the RSA should be involved in helping to orchestrate the event then, if they don't, who does ... politicians?

And the answer to that is the point of this post.

Anonymous said...

Applause is just one step away from that awful American habit of whooping at everything that is even slightly interesting. It means standards are slipping and we are moving away from the sanctity of the day itself.

Remember that ANZAC day is not just about Australasia, it took the place of Armistice day in our remembrance calender. My contention is not that it is wrong that the RSA organise it as it was done well in the past but as the event is becoming more media focused and RSA presidents are no longer combat veterans we are losing grip of the event.

It actually doesn't need organising. The service starts at XXXXhrs be there. If you wish to walk with the veterans from X point please feel free to do so. Phsyco is right applause is about expectations met.

The point of your post is that we bring it on ourselves by VIP segregation and seating and all the wannabe politicos want in on the act. A French Mayor has more power in his little finger than half a dozen NZ mayors, he is the main man for a huge area around a town yet he stood there unknown and quite humble to to pay his respects in the middle of the crowd.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... sorry, ANZAC Day didn't and doesn't take the place of Armistice Day in our remembrance calendar. Armistice Day is still there and is celebrated as such throughout the Commonwealth ... just that it's not a statutory holiday (and neither is it in the UK).

ANZAC Day IS about 'Australasia'. Many on both sides of the ditch see it as a day when we not only honor those who served but as also a day which marks our coming of age as a nation.

Great on your French Mayor ... those local body politicians in this country could learn a lot from him. But again, if the civilian public want to honor those served and serving then far be it for you or me to tell them they're wrong.

Again, I invite you to focus on the point of the post and, while I know you like a good argument, I suspect that you really find the behavior of the 'pollies' who inserted themselves into the parade and their antics as disgusting as I do.

Anonymous said...

Yes...They are quite beyond the pale and should be shamed. You have made my point for me. Very few turn up on Armistice day because it only for those who who wish to reflect and pay their respects..there is no marching, veterans with medal clinking, no bands or gold braid, no dignitaries and hopefully no politicians. It is not for those who expect to be diverted by a grand occasion before spending the afternoon watching rugby and drinking beer.

At least you and I have earned the right not to wear a poppy if we wish because of PC.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Noel said...

I'm in favour of this new promotion of "they made the ultimate sacrifice so lets us sacrifice an hour on the day towards community service".

Then off to the Cenotaph to sing the National Anthem gumboots and all.

For those wanting a formal service get up at 5.30.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... endorsed.

Anonymous said...

For the senior rate whose email occasioned the post, and for his shipmates who marched; A poem by an old matelot.


Armistice Day

Charles Causley

I stood with three comrades in Parliament Square,
November her grey freights of fire unloading,
No sound from the city upon the pale air
Above us the sea- bell eleven exploding.

Down by the bands and the burning memorial
Beats all the brass in a royal array,
But at our end we’re not so sartorial
Out of, as usual, the rig of the day.

Dinger is wearing his split Pusser’s flannel, r
Rubbed as he is by the regular tide;
Oxo the ducks that he ditched in the Channel
In June 1940 (when he was inside).

Kitty recalls his abandon-ship station,
Running below at the Old Man’s salute
And (with a deck watch) going down for duration
Wearing his oppo’s pneumonia suit.

Comrades, for you the black captain of carrachs
Writes in Whitehall his appalling decisions.
But as was often the case in the barracks,
Several ratings are not at divisions.

Into my eyes the stiff seahorses stare,
Over my head sweeps the sun like a swan.
As I stand alone in Parliament Square
A cold bugle blows and the city moves on.

Heisenbug said...

Hamilton City Council's Facebook page has pictures clearly showing the mayor and at least another couple of hangers-on in the front rank behind the flags. They're not in step, but at least no sign of them interacting with the crowd in attendance.