Anzac tiki nearly found new home on Gallipoli

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A silver tiki engraved with the name of a New Zealand soldier who fought on the battlefields of World War 1 came close to finding a new home this year.

Former army nurse Daphne Shaw gave serious thought to leaving the tiki, which was worn by her grandfather Norman Dickie, on the Anzac battlefield in Turkey.

Some 3000 New Zealand soldiers died on Gallipoli, and thousands more in Sinai, Palestine, and on the Western Front .

Mr Dickie lived to return to New Zealand.

When Ms Shaw discussed the future of the precious memento with her family, she decided it should be passed from generation to generation rather than left on a foreign battlefield.

Ms Shaw, who served for a year in Vietnam during her 27 years in the army, said she had a special affinity with Gallipoli, a place cemented in New Zealand history.

"Just taking it (the tiki) there...it is going to be quite emotional," she said, as she travelled on an air force Boeing 757 as part of the official trip back to the battlefields to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the landings.

"I think a few tears will be shed," she said.

Ms Shaw believed the visit would be tough, memorable and honourable, saying the troops were tough young volunteers who had done what they were told.

"They all volunteered and were anxious to go," she said.

"They were farmers and this sort of thing which was what my grandfather was too."

Her grandfather was born and died near Clevedon, south of Auckland.

She said after her grandmother died he moved in with her parents and she got to know him well.

Mr Dickie died in 1973 but he had refused to talk about the war and the suffering of himself and thousands of others who survived or were killed.

"He was very reluctant. He said it was a time he really didn’t want to remember. He said a lot of it was so horrendous he didn’t want to remember," Ms Shaw told NZPA.

She said ignoring the war was probably his way of coping with the death, the maiming, the dysentery and the disease that he saw while serving with the New Zealand Division.

She said in World War 1 no one recognised post traumatic stress disorder and it was simply not treated.

Many old soldiers were left without help and with dire straights because of their mental condition caused by the trauma of war.

"Now post traumatic stress disorder is well recognised in both military and civilian pursuits."

Ms Shaw said the visit would help honour her beloved grandfather, and the thousands who died or who were wounded at Gallipoli.

Ms Shaw, who visited Anzac Cove in 1969, said that visit had changed her and she expected no less from the visit this year

More than 20,000 people were expected on Anzac Cove this year to commemorate the 90th landings, including Prime Minister Helen Clark.

- NZPA

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