Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thames (NZ): Roll Call for Tunnelling Company descendants

On Saturday 27 September, there is a ceremony to officially open the Arras Tunnel under the National War Memorial Park at Wellington.

From the NZETC facebook page:

On Saturday 27 September we are taking the Tunnellers to the Capital. We have been invited to take part in the official proceedings on the occasion of the naming and public walk-through of the Arras Tunnel. The new road tunnel runs beneath ...the National War Memorial Park. This occasion is one of huge significance to our Tunnelling Company family. We are delighted that our Tunnellers and their story will be formally recognised as part of this event. Many of the Tunnellers were Public Works Department Civil Engineers and miners. The construction and subsequent naming of the Arras Tunnel is a fitting tribute to these men in particular. We are thrilled to advise that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage will be hosting a gathering of officials and Tun Coy descendants following the tunnel walk-through.
The TCDC area was well represented in the New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company during WWI, so it would be great to see any family members able to represent their family and the area.

Contact Sue for more information, plus full details online.

Further information on the Tunnellers:
TCDC names
At The Treasury: Tunnelling folders WWI
NZETC New Zealand: TCDC men
UPDATE: on opening of the tunnel:
Thousands of people paid tribute to little-known Kiwi wartime heroes today by visiting Wellington's new war memorial park tunnel, named after a forgotten battleground in France.
The Arras Tunnel in Te Aro, connecting the Basin Reserve to Taranaki St, is named after a small French town where 500 Kiwis dug extensive tunnels during WWI.
Alongside the many thousand Wellingtonians curious to see the inside of the tunnel, dozens of descendants of the New Zealand tunnelling company were present, most travelling from other towns and cities for the special day.
"It's a terrific honour," said Paraparaumu man Richard Martin, the 86-year-old son of sapper Bertram Martin.
"It's quite amazing that after 100 years this could happen. After all, they were just humble labourers."