Anzac gunner humbled at Waihi ceremony

By Melanie Camoin

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Former gunner and Waihi man Jack Frewin commemorated Anzac Day at the Waihi Civic Service today. Photo/Melanie Camoin
Former gunner and Waihi man Jack Frewin commemorated Anzac Day at the Waihi Civic Service today. Photo/Melanie Camoin

Waihi marked the centennial of Anzac Day at the Gilmour Reserve this morning.

"We are here to witness to our men's stories, to hear their voice, to pay respect and to remember and maybe, one day, we will understand," Kit Wilson, Chairperson of the Waihi Heritage Vision group said to the audience.

Among those men was local Jack Frewin, sent first to Korea for three years (1951-53) as a gunner when he was 21 years-old. He was then a dispatch rider delivering messages within the troops.

People gathered in Waihi to pay respects at the Anzac Day Civic Service. Photo/Melanie Camoin
People gathered in Waihi to pay respects at the Anzac Day Civic Service. Photo/Melanie Camoin

He recalled the extreme conditions New Zealanders faced.

"The weather was extreme, going to minus 30 degrees. You could not have a sip of water without living your lips stuck on the glass," he said.

Like many veterans, Mr Frewin avoided telling the details of the battle. However he remembered how "humble" he felt when the Koreans praised the New Zealanders for their bravery.

Nearby the Tunnellers Memorial lay 100 crosses that where recently installed by the Fields of Remembrance trust.

Waihi also remembered those 400 men that left town to fight in the WWI; 88 of them were miners.

Waihi RSA president opened the ceremony followed by poet Wendy Joy Baker reading her poem, Brave.

Reverend Marjorie Tyson sent a prayer as the young generation, cultural leader at the Waihi College Ezra Thompson read the ode to the fallen in Maori.

Along with the community singers, official parties were invited to lay a wreath at the foot of the Tunnellers Memorial. Among these were wreaths on the behalf of the Tunnelling Company, the Fields of Remembrance Trust, Scott Simpson, the town of Arras, Waihi Scouts, the Heritage Vision, the RSA and the Women section.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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