Today, 25 April, is Anzac Day, a commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand forces who served and, and who lost their lives, in World War One and other conflicts.
In May 2019 the ‘Nga Tapuwae’ New Zealand memorial was unveiled by the Great War Hut at the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre on Marquis Drive.
The ceremony involved the exchange of a flag, mirroring a ceremony from a hundred years ago when the New Zealand troops, stationed at the Brocton Camp on the Chase in WW1, hoisted a flag at Stafford Town Hall as they left Britain to return home. The flag said ‘Kia Ora – We Will Not Forget You’.
One of the attendees at the ceremony was Mark Frickleton, who was the grandson of Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton who won a Victoria Cross in 1917 for acts of bravery at the battle of Messines in Belgium.
The deputy Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Colonel Christopher Comport, was present at the ceremony as was Sir Jerry Mateparae, the New Zealand High Commissioner for the UK and also Commander Tony Masters of the New Zealand Defence Force.
In the audience was former soldier, 93-year-old Ron Mattison of Essington, who arrived in authentic uniform, with his own nurse to look after him, also in vintage uniform!
The event was organised by The Chase Project working alongside the New Zealand High Commission and Staffordshire County Council.
The Nga Tapuwae (which is Maori for ‘The Footseps’) memorial represents the sacrifice made by the New Zealand troops at the time of conflicts, and also represents the 100-year friendship between New Zealand and the people of Cannock Chase and Stafford.