Tuesday, November 15, 2016


of small town and rural New Zealand.   While I have lived all over the world I identify strongly with the sense of identity you find outside of our major urban areas ... a respect for others, a respect for values, a willingness to go the extra mile to help when help is needed.

And so it was that last Friday I attended the Armistice Day service in Russell (pop 750) just across the water from Paihia where I live.   This is small town NZL at its best.    I guess there were upwards of 90 people at the service was held at the entrance to the Russell School.   On the pathway leading up to the classrooms there are ten plaques each bearing the name of a soldier from the area killed in WW1.   Each plaque was 'guarded' by two senior pupils one of whom wearing the medals of that soldier (an initiative of the Russell RSA).    The service was simple and lasted not more than twenty minutes.   The speeches were short and to the point ... we remember and honor the fallen.     The reading of the Roll of Honour was left to the students ... nice touch.

Great to see Ray Tait, DFC, in attendance.   Ray is the Patron of the Russell RSA and one of the few surviving members of Bomber Command.

Afterwards the RSA put on a roast meal (roast meal ... midday!!!!!) for all those attending the service.
You went away secure in the knowledge that Russell knows and respects its history and does what is right.

Well done Russell, well done the Russell School, well done the Russell RSA.


Shelldrake said...

Well done Vet!

Farmer's son said...

Could Ray Tait DFC possibly be the same Ray Tait who was a Stock Agent in the Putaruru/Tokoroa area for Wright Stephensons (as it was then) in the 1950's, and subsequently bought his own farm in the Te Whetu area?

The Veteran said...

Farmer's son ... yes, he told me that after the war he went farming in the South Waikato.

Anonymous said...

He is the Ray Tait from that area. He was friends with my uncle Colin McDonald and my father Tui Roberts who both farmed in that area.

Farmer's son said...

After reading your post yesterday I found this photo of Ray Tait DFC so was confident it was the same Ray Tait that I described.
I was born after WW2 so was a child when Ray Tait visited our farm. He was a jovial fellow and very popular in the district. After he had bought his own farm I would see him on sale day at the Putaruru Saleyards. I don't think I have seen him for over fifty years.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.