As two countries remember their war dead on Anzac Day, rail commuters in Plimmerton will be reminded of the sacrifices their forebears made by watching a video commemorating the heroism of 18 residents from their community who served in World War 1.
The 12-minute video has been made by Allan Dodson as part of Plimmerton Residents’ Association Project Snapshot and will screen continuously in the Plimmerton Railway Station waiting area from April 14 to 30.
Mr Dodson says the video provides a record of 18 Plimmerton residents who served in the Great War. He says the absence of those who went to serve their country was keenly felt at the time, given the area’s small population. “Porirua had 1400 hundred people in 1918. Plimmerton had a few hundred at most. The First World War had a bigger impact than any other conflict because of the number of people who were killed, injured or away overseas. And being a close community everyone would have known everyone.”
Among those featuring in Mr Dodson’s video are Isaac Plimmer, grandson of Sir John Plimmer the founder of Plimmerton, who fought at Gallipoli and was killed in action at Chunuk Bair in October 1915; and Les Thomson who was also killed in battle and whose father – who also served in the war – erected a memorial to his son on a wall on Sunset Parade.
While most of those who served were men, women played an important role as nurses. Among them was Ina Bennett who served on the western front and whose brother was killed at Passchendaele and whose father moved to Plimmerton after the war and was involved in the building of the Plimmerton pavilion.
Mr Dodson says the video took hundreds of hours to put together, spread over the last 12 months. Much of the research was done at Archives New Zealand and Papers Past and use of the Auckland Cenotaph’s on-line database. “I had support from Wellington College which provided photos of all its old boys and the history of Plimmerton School.” Funding came from the Historic Places Trust.
More information on the video is available at the Plimmerton Residents’ Association website www.plimmerton.org.nz