Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is today attending commemorative events in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, which was the site of the No.1 New Zealand General Hospital in the First World War.
The hospital opened a hundred years ago this month to support New Zealand troops serving in the war, and by 1919 21,000 patients had been treated there, with another 27,000 patients treated at the No.2 General Hospital in Walton on Thames.
The events include a Service of Commemoration at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Brockenhurst’s St Nicholas’ Church, where 93 New Zealanders are buried, and the unveiling of a new stained glass window in the church to provide a lasting memorial to the hospital and to the local communities which hosted New Zealand troops. The stained glass window was commissioned by the New Zealand government and co-funded by the High Commission and the New Zealand expat community.
“ANZAC Day services are held every year in Brockenhurst and Walton on Thames to honour the New Zealanders treated at the hospitals, and today’s events allow us to remember them, the doctors, nurses and orderlies who supported them, and to pay tribute to the UK communities who looked after our troops,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Descendants of those who nursed troops and of those who were treated in the New Zealand General hospitals will also be in attendance, as we celebrate the continued friendship and strong bonds which tie us together.
“It is a real honour to represent New Zealand on such an important day.”