Readiness and Sacrifice: An Exhibition of World War 1 archives

by Insiders Dunedin

The exhibition highlights the personal and official memories we hold in our archive; documenting the Otago and Southland war experience.

The Exhibition shows:

* Alexander Mee's war diary describing life on the troopship voyage and training in England in 1917

* The letters home from soldiers on the Front to their relatives

* Official communication, such as a telegram or letter, families received informing them that their relatives had died, were missing or killed in action

* The contributions of Kempthorne Prosser (a local drug manufacturing company), Dunedin Medical School and Dunedin Hospital in fitting out the hospital ship ‘Maheno'

* The work of the Otago Military Service Board and the implementation of the Military Service Act 1916; as illustrated by the case put forward by the Dunedin Fire Brigade for firemen to be exempt service (although many firemen did go to war)

* National Film Unit film clip showing the battlefields, equipment, and soldiers' experiences.

There are six letters and war diary included in Alexander Mee's 1917 probate file. The letters were sent to his wife Jessie in Brighton, south of Dunedin. They were married in February 1917 and were expecting a child.

Alexander writes of his war experiences in the trenches and his yearning to return home to see Jessie. He notes in his diary the days when he over the line - on October 10, 1917, he went into the firing line for the second time.

He was killed on October 12, 1917, at the battle of Passchendaele. A later Court of Enquiry found him: 'Missing Believed Killed'.

Relatives of Alexander and Jessie Mee provided us with photographs of Alexander, Jessie and their son.

The Exhibition runs until 24 December 2014. Archives New Zealand is open 9.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Archives New Zealand Dunedin Regional Office
556 George Street 

Phone - 03 477 0404
Email - dunedin.archives@dia.govt.nz

Post submitted by Vivienne Cuff

 

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