Today is the 25th April, when we look back and remember all the wars that New Zealand has been involved in. Because of that, I feel I cannot, in all conscience, write about anything else.
Next year it will be one hundred years exactly to the day, since the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey, when New Zealand became a nation, according to general consensus.
I had a grandfather who fought in the Boer war in South Africa, then was deployed to China for the Boxer uprising. By the time he arrived it was all over, however he fought in the Great War 1914-18, and my own father joined the Coastguard Naval Patrol when the Second World War broke out in 1939, and stayed until it was disbanded in 1941. He then went to Egypt from 1942-45, so I do have a fellow feeing for all the men and women who fought and defended us during those difficult days.
This year the book market will be flooded with a plethora of books written about war in all its different aspects. In June, it is the centenary since the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, that caused the spark to set off the First World War.
In our writing group we have some wonderful books dealing with war-related subjects, written by four of our members.
Gabrielle Rothwell has written three enthralling books. The life of Jack Hinton VC, in 'A Man Amongst Men,' 'New Zealand Secret Heroes,' dealing with men behind the enemy lines, and 'The Man with Nine Lives,' the story of her husband Geoff, and his war as a pilot in Europe flying over Germany. I cannot praise them enough, and their bravery is humbling.
Vicky Adin's marvellous book 'Daniel,' is the true story of her husband's great-grandfather, who fought in the New Zealand Land Wars in the 1860's, and the difficult decisions his family had to make with the outbreak of the First World War. A heart warming read that you can relate to.
Jenny Harrison's wonderful book, 'The Lives of Alice Pothron,' is the true story of an American woman of French extraction, trapped in France with her husband and child at the outbreak of war in 1939, and the experiences she went through in occupied France, until the amazing ending, which proves that fact is stranger than fiction. A book you won't forget in a hurry.
Jean Louise Allen has ready for publication her new book 'River At War,' which is a sequel to 'River, River, Raupo, Rye' and is set in her beloved Northern Wairoa, and gives a perfect picture of life for those who lived there, during the difficult days of World War Two. Beautifully written, and it flows, just like the river she loves.
These are all excellent books, and totally absorbing, taking the reader with them every step of the way. I strongly recommend to anyone who hasn't had the good fortune to read them, to get them, either as hardback copies, or on line as e-books, or request them from your local library.
It would be a wonderful world if we knew that peace reigned and war was a thing of the past, but as I write Syria is still in turmoil, Russia and the Crimea are locked in uneasy peace talks, Afghanistan and Iraq are still in explosive situations, while Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria are fighting in civil wars that seem to have no ending. As if that's not enough, we live in the uncertainty of what the glorious leader in North Korea might take it in his head to do in the future!
However, here in New Zealand, we have much to be grateful for. I for one, will certainly remember all those brave men and women who gave us the lasting peace in our country, after those long difficult years of war.
Evan G Andrew