Nephew remembers lost uncles

By Anne-Marie Emerson;

Their names are on Wanganui's World War II memorial, but now Mowhanau resident John Carson has his own memorial to his two uncles who never came home from the war.

Stanley Carson, 23, was killed in 1943 during a skirmish in Tunisia. His older brother, Adrian, 32, died in England in 1944, when his plane iced up and crashed during a thunderstorm.

Both men are buried in the countries where they died.

Mr Carson said a few years ago he asked one of his cousins about his uncles' war medals. The cousin's wife found them and gave them to Mr Carson.

He decided the men's stories were a piece of family history that needed to be preserved.

With a piece of windfall rimu that he found at Kai Iwi beach, he made a plaque for the two men's photos, some information about them, and their medals. Stanley Carson had four medals, while Adrian Carson had six, including a gallantry medal and the Distinguished Flying Medal.

A secret compartment at the back of the plaque, held in place by screws, contains Adrian's flying diary.

"It took me a couple of years to plan it all and make it," Mr Carson said.

He never knew his uncles - he was just a baby when they went off to the war - but he has gleaned plenty of information about them from his family.

They were from a large family of 14 children, and grew up in Marton, although the family later moved to a farm at Brunswick. There were eight boys, but only two went to war.

Mr Carson said knowing two of her boys were fighting the Germans must have been particularly hard for his grandmother.

"She was from Bavaria, and I always wondered how she felt about her sons going to war against Germany," he said.

Both men died unmarried, but Mr Carson said Stanley Carson was engaged to a Wanganui woman who later married someone else.

"Her first name was Sylvia, and she lived in Springvale, but no one in the family can remember her surname. If she is still around, we'd love to meet her."

Adrian Carson's name is mentioned on at least three war memorials - in Wanganui, Brunswick, and the Chatham Islands, where he worked before joining the Air Force.

Mr Carson said he hopes to one day pass the plaque on to his oldest grandson. Meanwhile, it holds pride of place on a wall in his home.

"This is not about me. It's about my uncles. These are family stories that I felt really needed to be told."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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