Have had in interest in collecting items, both official and un-official, that were used to commemorate the fallen. Think these items are very touching and guess they may have been of some comfort to the family that could not have the body of their loved one back home or who where unable to visit the grave or memorial containing their loved ones name.
In October 1917 it was announced in The Times newspaper that the committee had decided also to issue a commemorative scroll to the next of kin. The scroll would be printed on high quality paper, size 11 x 7 inches (27cm x 17cm).
By January 1918 the wording on the scroll was being discussed. The committee found the choice of words very difficult and asked for advice from numerous well-known writers. Among those approached for suggestions was Rudyard Kipling, whose only son John was missing in action, believed killed, at the Battle of Loos in late September 1915.
The accepted wording agreed by the committee was:
“He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who,
at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.”
The text was to be printed in calligraphic script beneath the Royal Crest followed by the name of the commemorated serviceman giving his rank, name and regiment this time individually written in calligraphic script.
Below is the letter sent to the next of kin to confirm receipt of the scroll. Interesting to note that this acknowledgement letter is printed on an obsolete form. Proof that recycling is not new, or perhaps NZ Defence was ahead of its time :-).
Also the kings condolence slip that was sent with the scroll
The above image is from the service file of Robert William BLAND, the man this scroll commemorates, and shows that this scroll was sent to his mother Annie Maria BLAND in Auckland in 1921.
Robert BLAND died on the 7th September 1918 as a result of wounds received. When he died he was serving as a member of the 12th (Nelson) Company, 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment.
The official history of the Canterbury Regiment, records that on the 5th to 7th September the 2nd Battalion was in the area of Havrincourt Wood. On the 6th September the official history says “At mid-day, patrols from the leading companies of the 2nd Canterbury Battalion were pushed forward to Havrincourt Wood, and reported the enemy was still in the western edge, but that parties were moving back, wearing full packs. By 5 p.m. the western edge of the wood had been made good, and patrols were well in advance. The wood here consisted of very large trees, with thick undergrowth, and great caution had to be exercised by the patrols for fear of ambushes. By 7 p.m., however, the battalion was well into the wood and, in close liaison with the units on its flanks, was working forward. At 10 p.m. the leading companies were in touch with the enemy, whose machine-gunners held a line of trenches inside the eastern edge of the wood and west of the Trescault-Metz road. At daylight on September 7th the 12th Company and the accompanying two platoons of the 13th Company occupied the trenches on the eastern edge of the wood, from which the enemy had withdrawn just before dawn. Fighting patrols were pushed forward at noon (7th September) by the 12th and 13th Companies, and the portion of the wood west of the Trescault-Metz road was secured. During the day the eastern edge of the wood was heavily shelled by big guns, and casualties were numerous.”