Home' Greymouth Star : April 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1124 - Alexander I, King of Scotland, dies.
1500 - Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares
Cabral is the rst European to discover Brazil,
putting ashore in what is today
1760 - A Belgian wears the rst
known pair of roller skates at a party.
(He crashes into a mirror.)
1838 - British steamship Sirius
becomes the rst vessel to cross the
Atlantic from Britain to New York
on steam power only.
1864 - e words "In God We Trust" begins
appearing on US coins.
1915 - German army uses poison gas for rst
time on Western Front in World War One, as
the second battle of Ypres begins in Belgium.
1933 - Death of Sir Frederick Henry Royce,
co-founder of the English car company Rolls-
1994 - Former US President Richard Nixon
dies of a stroke.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Queen Isabella I of Spain, sponsor of
Christopher Columbus (1451-1504); Vladimir
Lenin, Russian statesman (1870-1924);
Alexander Feodorovich Kerensky, Russian
prime minister (1881-1970); Robert
Oppenheimer, US nuclear scientist
(1904-1967); Aaron Spelling, US
tv producer (1923-2006); George
Cole, British actor (1925-); Glen
Campbell, US singer (1936-); Jack
Nicholson, US actor (1937-); Alan
Bond, Australian entrepreneur
(1938-); Peter Frampton, British
"For a man learns more quickly and
remembers more easily that which he laughed
at, than that which he approves and than that
which he approves and reveres." --- Horace,
Roman poet (65-68 BC).
"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you
and that you may be in good health, just as it is
well with your soul." --- (3 John 1.2).
One of Greymouth's
citizens has died. Mr
Kitchingham MBE, OBE, former mayor of
Greymouth and Crown Solicitor, passed away
on Saturday. Mr Kitchingham, who was in
his 79th year, retired from the legal rm of
Guinness and Kitchingham in September last
year, after an association of 54 years.
Born in Greymouth in 1885, Mr
Kitchingham was admitted to the bar in 1908
and returned to Greymouth to his father's
law rm the following year. In 1919 he was
appointed Crown Solicitor, a position he held
for 40 years.
Mr Kitchingham served a long term with
the Greymouth Borough Council, being a
councillor for 12 years and serving as mayor
from 1938 to 1947. Community ser vice played
no small part in Mr Kitchingham's activities.
He was also a founder member and past
president of the Greymouth Rotary Club. A
keen historian, he was a prime mover in the
establishment of the Greymouth Pioneer
Mr Kitchingham is suvived by his wife
Dorothy, a member of the Wylde family.
A prominent Greymouth businessman in
the town's early years, Mr Frank Cargill Wade
died in Christchurch on Sunday. Mr Wade
conducted a cycle business on the corner of
Mackay and Tainui streets --- then known as
Mr Wade married Miss Mabel omas whose
father conducted a Mawhera Quay business.
Mr Wade was a prominent sportsman,
champion cyclist and rugby representative in
his younger days. A contemporary recalled
today how he would cycle from Hokitika to
Greymouth for his matches.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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West Coast Anzac feature
Cobden lads at war
Of the 10 Cobden boys
killed during World War
One, I only found two
who died at Gallipoli.
preferred to be called Allan) was born in
Greymouth on September 9, 1891, the
son of George Gillingham the postmaster
and storekeeper of Bright Street, Cobden.
Allan was keen on athletic sports and went
to work for Herbert Haines and Co, Clyde
Army records state that he was an athlete.
He was in the 8th Southland Co, part of
the Otago Infantry Battalion. He was at
sea from October 15, 1914, arriving in
Alexandria on December 3, 1914. Boredom
set in with most soldiers, and in Egypt on
March 3, 1915 he was given 14 days CB
(con ned to barracks). e o ence being:
not complying with orders, and insolence to
Allan Gillingham was aboard the
ship TS Annaberg that was the rst of
the battalion to land about 2.30pm on
Anzac Day --- April 25, 1915. He was
killed while storming the beach, dying of
shrapnel wounds to the head. His Gallipoli
memorial is at Lone Pine, No 75. Winston
Churchill, the British First Lord of the
Admiralty, in his wisdom --- or lack of it
--- withdrew naval cover of landing troops,
allowing our troops to be slaughtered while
attempting to climb the impenetrable cli s
A fortnight after arriving at Anzac Cove,
some troops were shifted south to the
southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula to
reinforce the foothold that was gained there
on Anzac Day. Up until then, they could
not progress further north than a mile from
With reinforcements, the Brits gave
orders on May 8 to attack north toward
Krithia through a eld of beautiful owers,
that was later named 'Daisy Patch'. e
eld was likened to a golf fairway with
daisies, devoid of cover, except for lines of
r trees on each side, where the Turks were
As with most of the British orders, the
attack was lacking in common sense and
organisation. ey could have attacked at
night, with a lot less fatalities. It was an
unnecessary slaughter of our troops.
Frank George Ross died in this attack. He
was part of the 16th Waikato Company. He
was 23 years of age, the son of George Ross
of Hillside, Cobden. His memorial is at
Twelve Tree Copse
(No 11.1.18). ººº
ere was a continuous New Zealand
push to have New Zealanders leading New
Zealanders in battle.
John Daniel Hinton was such a leader.
Although born in Southland, Jack spent a
lot of his life on the Coast. He played for
the Inangahua Valley rugby team during
the Depression and ran Kells Hotel,
Cobden, after World War Two.
On enlisting for war service in
Greymouth on September 13, 1939,
aged 30, Jack's enlistment address was 21
Herbert Street, Greymouth. He embarked
from Wellington on January 5, 1940, bound
for Egypt. He was awarded the Victoria
Cross for the defence of Kalamata, Greece
It is not surprising that
in Desmond Young's book
called 'Rommel', Rommel
commented on New
Zealanders: "For the New
Zealanders he had a great
and lasting admiration.
ey were, he maintained
to Manfred, Aldringer and
others, the nest troops on
our (British) side --- He
certainly did not hate or
even dislike them: for New
and collectively he had
almost an a ection. He
asked 'Why are you New
Zealanders ghting? is is
a European war, not yours.
Are you here for the sport?'."
From his cottage home at 169 Bright Street, Cobden, Richard Allan Gillingham was transported to the
battle elds of World War One, and there he still lies, killed at Gallipoli on that rst Anzac Day --- April
25, 1915. His great-nephew, RICHARD POOLE, who lives in Auckland and toured the battle sites and
memorials last year, explains what happened to a couple of Cobden boys who went to Gallipoli.
In 1973, when Alexander McCall Smith
was 25, he took his rst job, as a junior law
lecturer, at Queen's University in Belfast.
It was slap bang in the middle of the
Troubles and, as he recalls, "a very di cult
"It was really a low-grade civil war," says
the Scottish writer on the phone from
Edinburgh. "You heard bombs going
o , gun re and what not, and people's
awareness of life was heightened in
the middle of this. I once strayed into
di culty, it was potentially tricky. Belfast
was a very divided city. I took a wrong
turn and discovered I was on Falls Road
(the centre of the Republican movement)
and got caught up in this demonstration
that was confronting the British Army.
" ere were young men with guns under
their jackets and they were yelling on the
loudspeaker, 'If you consider yourselves
true Irishmen, get o the pavement and
into the road.' So I did. e crowd was
shouting at the soldiers and throwing
things and eventually I somehow detached
myself from the crowd and sauntered
through the soldiers and went home."
McCall Smith, now aged 65, still
managed to nd good things during his
year in Belfast, not least of which was a
deep love which has endured all his life:
the discovery of the great English poet, W
H Auden. "I remember the moment when
I was in the library and took Auden's
Shorter Poems o the shelf. It was one
of those moment's in one's life that one
doesn't, at the time, realise how signi cant
it is going to be."
McCall Smith, who has written nearly
40 novels (that have sold about 40 million
copies) over the past decade, including
the hugely popular No 1 Ladies Detective
Agency and the Isabel Dalhousie series,
has paid homage to his poet hero in
a small book as part of the Princeton
University Writers on Writers series,
What W H Auden Can Do For You.
It could just as easily be dubbed "What
Alexander McCall Smith Can Do For
You". A quietly re ective survey of how
Auden, who wrote verse about the rise
of fascism in Europe in the 1930s, has
remained relevant in today's world, it also
o ers McCall Smith's concerns about
how we lead our lives and where we are
heading. As with his novels, McCall
Smith manages to impart subtle wisdom
in his writing, without being preachy.
He explains in the book that Auden's
poetry responded to "the salient challenges
of his times ... and now many of us feel
that we are living in a time of heightened
ux and crisis".
"I think we do feel that," he a rms.
"After the end of the Cold War people
thought that the greatest threat to
humanity had been removed and we were
entering a period of mutual understanding.
en the world changed. Obviously there
was a major change when New York was
attacked, then we had the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan and now we see some
of the old tensions have come back with
Russia getting jumpy and annexing part of
the neighbouring territory. We see many
of the things that Auden saw when he
witnessed the rise of European fascism.
"Of course, there is always crisis
somewhere in the world but this is
something quite depressing --- seeing a
Russian leader who regrets the loss of
the Soviet empire. I think that is very
McCall Smith brightens when he
recalls the day he was on a break from
Belfast and saw Auden give a reading in
Edinburgh. It was shortly before the poet's
death in September, 1973. "He had a very
compelling voice, an interesting accent,"
he says. "His ies were undone, he was
very dishevelled, his suit was covered in
cigarette ash, he wore carpet slippers. A
major mess, ha ha, but that didn't matter."
McCall Smith says he becomes alarmed
when he learns of countries where the
school curriculum no longer includes
poetry, such as Australia, where he toured
last month. "I had a conversation with
people complaining about how poetry
wasn't being taught. It's such a terrible
thing. Poetry learned as a child gives us
a reference point, a way of seeing the
world. When I was
learn it and that
was a wonderful
thing to have done
in retrospect, so
what are people
When I suggest
it might be because
the people shaping
the curricula may
regard poetry as
having no market
value, he explodes.
who writes about
three books each
year, is scarily
from the Auden
book, he has just
14th No 1 Ladies
Detective saga, e
Beauty Salon, and
a one-o novel
called e Forever
Girl, a rather
curious tale about
"I never thought I
would get up to number 14, no, de nitely
not," he says, "and here I am writing
number 15 at the moment, e Handsome
Man's De Luxe Cafe ... the pleasure hasn't
palled at all, so I just continue."
He used to be heavily engaged in roles
with the Human Genetics Commission
and the Bioethics Commission of Unesco,
but has retired from all of that, now
focusing on a pleasurable mix of writing,
travelling and sailing his yacht around the
Caribbean. It is a good life.
"Writing is what I do now," he says,
happily. "I have various projects like
charities and a very big project over the
last couple of years doing the Great
Tapestry of Scotland, the longest tapestry
in the world. I am chairman of that. It
is such a beautiful tapestry, stitched by
volunteers and showing the history of
Scotland. Never a dull moment, really."
McCall Smith won't reveal his stance
on Scotland's vote for independence in
September. "I am not expressing views
on that. I don't get involved publically in
politics, it's almost like an abuse of the
authorial position. Why should my views
be of any greater interest than anyone
But he can reveal, in the parlance
of his traditionally built No 1 Ladies
heroine Mma Ramotswe, that his beloved
Tonkinese cat Gordon, often featured
in photos with the writer over the past
decade, is "late".
Oh no! In the words of Auden's Funeral
Blues (recited by John Hannah during
the funeral scene in Four Weddings and
a Funeral): "Stop all the clocks, cut o the
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy
Silence the pianos and the mu ed drum,
Bring out the co n, let the mourners come."
Not quite. McCall Smith is looking
on the bright side. "We now have his
successor, Augustus, who took his job," he
purrs. "He is related to Gordon and is one
of the great cats of his generation. He is
wonderful." --- New Zealand Herald
Richard Allan Gillingham
Alexander McCall Smith: e bright side of life
Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith spent a year in Belfast in the middle of e
Troubles. Amid the bombs and blasts, he discovered a great love.
Alexander McCall Smith
e Lone Pine memorial
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