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Victorious day for Charles Upham

Military Day brings in the crowds

​​​Despite the rain and cold, hundreds turned up to see horses, military vehicles and army memorabilia at the Charles Upham’s Military Day.

"We were worried that people wouldn't turn up, but despite the weather it turned out well,” says Charles Upham’s commander, village manager Rachel Garrard.

The morning started with phones ringing non-stop from people enquiring if the event was still on, and 'soldier on' the village did!


Major Karl Maddaford talking to the NZ Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust's Mark Appleton


Major Maddaford speaking to the crowds

Horses and riders from the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust turned up on the day to gain support for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The riders, led by Mark Appleton, informed the waiting crowd about the charity that was set up to represent the brave men and horses that fought in WWI.

Mark went on to talk about the specific equipment for both horses and riders.

“The kit that they wore had a bedroll at the back and possibly a tent, then you had the mess tin for your meals and a horseshoe carrier. You also had two small pouches for personal affects, which was just big enough to fit a pair of underpants in it!” Mark said.

The location for the Last Post also changed to indoors on account of the rain.


Bill Peck playing the Last Post

Major Karl Maddaford of the New Zealand Defence Force opened the event while Bill Peck played the Last Post.

“We are all crammed in here courtesy of the weather, instead of outside in the cold and wet, and it makes a tremendous amount of sense to anyone except an infantryman,” Major Maddaford said to the laughter of the crowd.

The major went on to talk about the legacy of the World War I veterans and why its still relevant in today’s world.

After the opening ceremony, the crowd dispersed to view the memorabilia and the military vehicles, which included double Victoria Cross recipient Charles Upham’s Land Rover. There was also a Sten submachine gun, a United States Army jeep and a troop carrier.

In the foyer of the village residents could view memorabilia from WWI, take their photo at a photo booth, and children could have their faces painted.


Little Athena with her unicorn face paint, about to brave the obstacle course

The village also set up an obstacle course, which the children enjoyed immensely.

“We set it up outside initially but of course with the rain it had to shift inside so we rushed to the Warehouse to get some tarps for the indoor obstacles,” Rachel said.

“It looked great outside but inside still looked good!”

Rachel also had a great idea to show a wartime movie on a loop throughout the day.

“Luckily, one of our residents, Reg Morris, had War Horse and we played that.”

To warm up from the cold, visitors were treated to delicious chicken noodle soup or lamb stew with a green jelly dessert to mark the day.


The mess hall staff worked hard to keep everyone fed

Residents Pam and Gerald Williamson braved the weather and were delighted with the event.

“It’s much bigger than we thought it would be, a great day for the village,” Pam said.

Friends and apartment neighbours, Betty Mitchell and Ethel Minton, ventured out of their homes to have a cup of tea and to see “what’s going on!”

“It's so busy we have to sit closer so as not to shout!”

The day was a spectacular success for the village and Rachel couldn’t be more pleased even despite the weather not playing ball.

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