Home' Greymouth Star : April 24th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, April 24, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1558 - Mary Queen of Scots, aged 16,
marries the Dauphin of France, the future
1792 - France’s national anthem, La
Marseillaise, is composed by Claude-Joseph
Rouget de Lisle.
1850 - Paul Julius Reuter, founder of the
news agency that bears his name, uses 40
pigeons to carry stock market prices between
Brussels and Aachen.
1877 - American Federal troops are ordered
out of New Orleans, ending the North’s post-
Civil War rule in the South.
1898 - Spain declares war on the US after
receiving US ultimatum to withdraw from
1915 - The Ottoman Turkish Empire begins
the brutal mass deportation of Armenians
during World War One.
1916 - Some 1600 Irish nationalists launch
the Easter uprising by seizing
several key sites in Dublin. The
rising is put down by British forces
several days later.
1953 - British statesman Winston
Churchill is knighted by Queen
Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
1967 - Soviet Cosmonaut
Vladimir Komarov is killed when
parachute straps of his spacecraft get entangled
and he plunges to earth.
1970 - China launches its first satellite.
1980 - The US launches an abortive
attempt to free American hostages in Iran, a
mission that results in the deaths of eight its
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
St Vincent de Paul, French priest and
founder of charity orders (1576-1600);
Edmund Cartwright, English inventor of first
power loom (1743-1823); Anthony Trollope,
English novelist (1815-1882);
Philippe Petain, French statesman
(1856-1951); William Joyce (Lord
Haw-Haw), British fascist and Nazi
broadcaster (1906-1946); Shirley
MacLaine, US actor (1934-); Jill
Ireland, US actor (1936-1990);
John Williams, Australian classical
guitarist (1941-); Barbra Streisand,
US actor and singer (1942-); Jean Paul
Gaultier, French fashion designer (1952-);
Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer (1973-);
Kelly Clarkson, US singer (1982-); Snuppy,
world’s first cloned dog (2005-).
“ We are what we think. All that we are, arises
with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we
make the world. ” — Buddha.
“ Dare to speak the word with greater
boldness and without fear.” — Philippians 1:14
Sports fans on the
West Coast know well
the figure of Larry
Trowbridge. But they
can be prepared for changes as this winter will
see a ‘new look’ Trowbridge. A metamorphosis
in his approach to rugby may see him the
outstanding for ward on the Coast this year.
“ I’ve never trained for any sport. But I’ve been
a lazy b——. This year I am going to give up all
sports but rugby and concentrate on that.”
This change, while a big thing for local rugby
and especially for his club side, Blaketown,
will mean a severe loss to other sports.The
main sport which will lose him is basketball.
Trowbridge was a West Coast representative as
far back as 1960 and last year emerged as the
star performer on a West Coast A side tour of
Although he has not in the past trained for
sport wholeheartedly, Trowbridge finds that his
occupation as a physical education instructor
at the Greymouth High School is a big help.
“It goes a long way to keeping me fit and the
exercise is very good for the body. ”
A special bronze lapel badge with an outline
of Simpson and his donkey and the inscription
Anzac, will be issued to all men who ser ved
with the Anzac forces in 1915. In Greymouth,
there are approximately 14 true Anzacs who
are eligible for the badge.
To apply for the badge, an Anzac must supply
his name and number and be a veteran of the
campaign. A medallion, a design similar to the
badge, will also be available for the next of kin
of deceased Anzacs.
The idea of issuing the badge has been
adopted in Australia as well.
uFood for thought
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Chess set unites family
arry O’Donel Bourke
spoke little of his year in
We might have known
nothing of it had it
not been for his letters
home, and the rich accounts he left in his
It has allowed me to picture, with at
least some small measure of detail, the
hell my great-grandfather endured on the
battlefields of France and Belgium.
Each year on April 25, I think of him,
rugged up in a snow-covered sandbag
dugout, jotting out a quick note to his
mother on Christmas Day, 1917, back
behind the lines outside Polygon Wood in
A makeshift fire is crackling away in
the corner and a cobber named Scotty is
busy writing his own letter home to his
Outside, puddles have frozen over
so thick that the ice can hold a man’s
A dinner of turkey and duff is coming
later, but Harry’s heart is back home with
his family in Hawke’s Bay.
“There is a military band outside playing
When Shepherds Watch their Flocks by
Night, and it is mixing me up a bit,” he
“It seems great to hear carols being
played with the snow falling and the guns
booming away not far off.”
I know he spent one birthday crouched
in a wet shell hole in no man’s land,
listening out for the enemy, and the next
recovering from a blast that killed most of
I try to imagine his horror at seeing a
cobber strike a boot, attached to a body,
while clearing out the bottom of a trench,
or his joy at discovering his brother
foraging up a cherry tree behind the lines.
Despite some close calls — one hunk
of shrapnel tore through his overcoat and
tunic but stopped short of his flesh — he
made it through some of the bloodiest
fighting this country has ever known.
Of New Zealand’s darkest day on
October 12, 1917, when 846 soldiers were
killed in a single day on the Bellevue Spur,
while attempting to capture the Belgian
town of Passchendaele, Harry’s summary
“It was bloody awful and will go down in
history in that way.”
He remained around the Ypres area
before being moved across the country to
Archeux in April 1918.
It was just three months shy of the
November Armistice when Harry finally
His eight-man machine-gun team was
tasked with helping the New Zealanders
capture a small town, “about the size of
Taradale”, he described it, in the Somme
A shell landed in the thick of them,
killing most of them outright.
“ When the smoke and dust had cleared,
one chap and myself were still on our feet.
The rest were all down,” he recounted.
“I had a bit of shrapnel in my eye socket
and was bleeding freely, but I could see all
right. There was another bit in the tummy.”
Stretcher bearers were too busy to take
him out, leaving him to wait another 24
hours and face the prospect of a German
Somehow, he managed to drag his
bloody body several hundred metres
through the mud, back to the nearest
It was little wonder that, after the war,
he chose one of the quietest, most remote
corners of Hawke’s Bay to make a peaceful
life for himself.
His family’s first home was a totara slab
hut with earth floors, built amid a rugged
area of native bush north of Napier, with
little to hear but the song of tui and
In his later years, Harry, a warm,
kind man, loved to spend time with
his grandchildren, and his great-
He died two years before I was born.
But, growing up, I often asked of his
I wanted know about the time he made
his way down from the bush to help out
in the wake of the devastating Napier
Or about his claim of having heard
ghostly voices and the wheels of a
phantom coach rattling along a long-
disused Napier to Taupo road, that had
once passed near the back of his farm.
When my wife and I married at nearby
Lake Tutira, I asked my grandmother to
read one of her father’s poems about the
Baby Harry was born the following
As it happened, I was not the only one
of his descendants who felt a connection
A few weeks ago, I was chatting on-line
with my brother when he pointed me
to an article about a Whitireia design
She had been using 3D printing
to recreate an old chess set a young
soldier had car ved in the trenches near
Accompanying the story was a familiar
There was Harry, posing in his uniform
with that long, haunting stare, ready to
ship out to France with the rest of the 9th
Hawke’s Bay Company.
The first time I met Alice Moore was
We sat down at a little cafe down the
road from Parliament to share stories
about our families and our great-
Just as with our side of the clan, copies
of Harry’s diary had been passed down
through the generations of hers.
She used it to learn to read, covering a
page each night.
But her family also inherited something
even more prized: Harry’s chess set.
It was first given to Harry’s daughter
Rita, then to her father, Tim.
I had been told about the chess set, but,
until now, had no idea of the remarkable
tale behind it.
Out on the line, German raids typically
came at night, leaving Harry and his
fellow soldiers with little to do during the
“ It turned out that we could all play
chess,” Harry recalled.
“There was no hope of getting a chess
set, so I had a go at carving one, with the
help of a sharp pocket knife, and some
willow wood growing nearby.
“We made aboard out of a square of oil
sheet and a bottle of ink, and we used to
play in our spare time. ”
The set should have been forever buried
in France, as he had lost it when the shell
hit his team.
But it somehow found its way back to
him long after the war, along with the
shrapnel-pocked, blood-soaked kit bag he
had kept it in.
All that was missing was a single pawn.
Growing up on a Pahiatua dairy farm,
Alice spent many hours playing games on
it with her family.
They had used a piece from another set
as a substitute for the absent pawn — and
this was something she figured her skills as
a designer could tackle.
In 2012, she used 3D modelling
programmes Maya and Zbrush to digitally
recreate the basic shape and texture of the
missing chess piece, before using a 3D
printer at Victoria University to print it
A few years later, she returned to the
piece with a desire to create a more
accurate model, and did so with 3D
scanners and a full colour CMYK
ceramic 3D printer at Ink Digital in
She wanted every detail of it — the
grooves, the contours — to match
precisely what Harry had fashioned with
his pocket knife in those cold, rainy days
on the front.
“ It ’s a responsibility,” she put it to me.
“ My kids know all about the chess set
and have seen what I’ve done, and they
know I’d like to pass these stories down to
them. We do have a responsibility to the
Alice still has Harry’s kit bag, too.
Seeing those shrapnel holes, and our
great grandfather’s faded blood stains, had
a visceral effect on both our perspectives of
“ In his diary, he talked about death,
but it was a little bit glossed over . . . it’s
why playing chess must have been so
important, because it gave them that break
from it all.”
It must have been so trying, Alice
told me; the rain, the cold, the bitter
homesickness, the ever-present menace of
The untold misery and trauma of the
wholesale slaughter that was Harry’s
The murky, sodden, view, Harry had
remarked in a poem; the mud, the filth,
“ I don’t think any pen, least of all mine,
could do justice,” he said.
“The overall picture is pretty grim, but it
had its bright and sometimes humorous
spots, and I suppose we tend to remember
these . . . and forget the more ghastly
ones.” — NZME-New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Whitireia lecturer Alice Moore and reporter Jamie Morton, with chess pieces carved by their great-grandfather Harry Bourke in Belgium, 1917.
Obama re-emerges in city where it all began
Former United States President Barack
Obama tonight makes his first major
appearance since leaving office, having
chosen Chicago, the city where his
political career started, to emerge from a
three-month hiatus from the public eye.
Obama will meet youth leaders and
promote community organising near the
same South Side neighbourhoods where
his own activism blossomed and propelled
him to two terms in the White House that
ended with Donald Trump’s inauguration
on January 20.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who
ser ved as Obama’s first White House
chief of staff, said that he was proud that
Obama picked Chicago to make his last
speech as president and the first in his
“I think it reflects his emotional, as well
as his intellectual, commitment to this city
and seeing this city as his home,” he said.
Obama’s continued connection to
Chicago is important to the city, which
has global aspirations as well as a palpable
insecurity about its place in the world.
During the last year of Obama’s second
term, Chicago laid claim to its share of
his legacy by beating out Hawaii and New
York as the site of his presidential library.
Obama, who still owns a home in
Chicago, was raised in Hawaii. The
former president and his wife Michelle
are expected to move from Washington
to New York once their younger daughter,
Sasha, graduates from high school.
David Axelrod, a former top political
adviser to Obama, said the decision to
house the library in Chicago should have
eased any concerns that its residents may
have had about the former Democratic
president ’s commitment to the city.
But tonight’s event, he said, is another
important sign of the former president ’s
strong links to Chicago.
“ He’s going to be more visible moving
for ward,” he said. “ I think this is clearly a
Reverend Michael Pfleger, a social justice
activist who heads a large South Side
Catholic church, said a prominent Obama
presence could help the nation’s third-
largest city confront some of the thorny
problems it faces.
Chief among them is a spike in gun
violence, an issue that Trump has
highlighted as a sign of lawlessness and
the failure of the Democratic politicians
who have long run Chicago.
“ It ’s his life, and he’s not in elected office
right now, so he can do what he wants”
Pfleger said. “ But I’d love to see him
engage in his home of Chicago. He could
make a huge difference. ”
Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson said
Obama could use his powerful platform
to address stark inequalities in Chicago
schools, housing and employment, and
to advocate for reinvestment in blighted
The event is to take place on the South
Side campus of the University of Chicago,
where Obama once taught constitutional
law. It is intended “to encourage and
support the next generation of leaders
driven by strengthening communities”,
according to a statement.
Since leaving office, O bama has kept
a relatively low public profile, taking
vacations in Palm Springs, California
and the British Virgin Islands, where he
indulged in the sport of kite-boarding
while vacationing with British billionaire
Sir Richard Branson.
Together with his wife, who grew up
on Chicago’s South Side, the former
president recently struck a two-book,
$65 million memoir deal. He is expected
to travel to Berlin to meet with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.
Weight swings risky for heart patients
Losing and regaining weight repeatedly
may be dangerous for over weight heart
patients, a study suggests.
Heart attacks, strokes and death were
more common in patients whose weight
changed the most over four years.
For some, weight changes might have
reflected yo-yo dieting, which some
previous studies have suggested may
be unhealthy for people without heart
problems. That means a hefty but stable
weight might be healthier than losing but
repeatedly regaining extra pounds.
Big weight fluctuations in heart patients
studied could also have been unintentional
and a possible sign of serious illness that
would explain the results, the researchers
and outside experts said.
Doctors not involved in the study called
it interesting but not proof that “yo-yo”
weight changes are risky for over weight
Regardless, the recommendation
from New York University cardiologist
and lead author, Dr Sripal Bangalore,
echoed standard advice for anyone who’s
over weight: “Lose weight but try to keep
that weight off.”
The study was published this week in the
New England Journal of Medicine. It is an
analysis of about 9500 patients involved
in a different study that did not examine
reasons for weight changes. Weight was
measured an average of 12 times over
four years and some patients lost and
regained several pounds in between each
Among the 1900 patients with the
biggest weight changes, 37% had fatal
or non-fatal heart attacks, strokes or
other heart trouble during the study. That
compared with 22% of the 1900 patients
whose weight changed the least.
Dr Clyde Yancy, cardiology chief at
Northwestern University’s medical
school in Chicago, said there was no clear
biological explanation for how yo-yoing
weight might cause harm and that the
study results could be merely due to
“The takeaway? Simple messages still
prevail,” Yancy said.
“A heart-healthy lifestyle both prevents
and treats cardiovascular disease.” — AP
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