The final resting place of Private Kenneth MacDonald in Kinlochewe, Scotland. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Families attached to crosses

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

One of the nearly 260 crosses that sat in the Masterton town square has found a final resting place in Kinlochewe, in the Scottish Highlands.

The cross marks Private Kenneth MacDonald who was born in the village of Kinlochewe but moved to New Zealand around 1910 while in his early 20s.

While here MacDonald took up the role of chauffeur at Brancepeth Station in the east of Masterton.

When war broke out in 1914 the Scotsman signed up for the Wellington Battalion and served as a private in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

MacDonald was killed in the battle for Chunuk Bair on August 8, 1915.

His cross was constructed by members of the Henley Men’s Shed, along with many others for locals who’d fought and died in World War I.

After four years of commemorations the Masterton Returned Services Association offered the crosses to family members of the deceased.

MacDonald’s cross was picked up by Masterton man Hamish Pringle.

In January Pringle’s second cousin from England, who had been visiting, took the cross back to the family cemetery plot in Kinlochewe.

A plaque detailing his service was attached to MacDonald’s cross which was erected in a family cemetery next to the headstones of his parents and siblings.

RSA vice-president Ash Braggins said the story had brought tears to his eyes.

“Here he was, came to New Zealand, joined the army, fought overseas and died for us. It was amazing. What a marvellous person.

“He’s back home in the bosom of his family. It’s a long way to travel but he’s back home. It definitely is an Anzac story because he is an Anzac, not by birth but by right.”

Chairman of the Henley Men’s Shed Murray Campbell said it was a great story. They hadn’t expected the crosses to travel so far.

“People have become really attached to the crosses. We’ve seen families digging up old pictures and attaching them to the crosses.

“From Anzac Day the Men’s Shed will take over the remaining crosses from the RSA, but if any families want to reclaim their family member’s crosses, they just need to get in touch with us.”

ANZAC services

Masterton: Dawn Service 5.55am at the Cenotaph in QE Park (assemble at the War Memorial at 5.30am).

Tinui: Service 10.30 am

Kaiparoro: Anzac Bridge service. A service will be held at the ANZAC Memorial Bridge on SH2 commencing at 2pm. Parking at Miller Reserve, there is a walkway to the bridge. An afternoon tea will be held after the service at Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre ($5 a person).

Carterton: ANZAC parade: 10.45am to noon. Bring the whole family along for the Carterton ANZAC parade – everybody is welcome! There is a chance for general members of the public to participate in both the parade and the wreath laying. Please assemble for the parade at 10.45am outside the Carterton District Council, for the parade which will start at 11am.
The parade leaves from Holloway Street before proceeding up High St to end at Memorial Square for the Memorial and Laying of Wreaths.
Once the memorial service at Memorial Square has been completed, the parade will reform and proceed to the Carterton Memorial Club.

Martinborough: Dawn Service and parade 5.45am. The parade will form up at 5.45am outside Pain and Kershaw on Jellicoe Street and move off to the Square at 5.55am for the Service and laying of the wreaths. Due to the early start a torch is advisable. Coffee and tea will be available in the Supper Room of the Waihinga Centre after the Service.

Featherston: The Service starts at 9am at the ANZAC Hall after which, at 9.40am, the parade will form up to proceed to the War Memorial for the laying of wreaths. At the conclusion refreshments will be served at Featherston Memorial RSA, 57 Fox Street, Featherston.

Greytown: The Citizens Anzac Day Service will be held at the War Memorial, Kuratawhiti Street, commencing at 10.30am with the laying of wreaths. All medals will be worn. The Parade will proceed to the South Wairarapa Workingmen’s Club for a Civic Service, commencing 11am.

Lake Ferry: Parade: 10.30am. The parade will fall in at Flagstaff at 10.30am (or in adverse weather conditions the Lake Ferry Hotel) for the laying of wreaths and the Service. At the conclusion, refreshments will be available at the Lake Ferry Hotel.

Other services: Fountaine Square in Woodville will host a dawn parade at 6.30am, before a 10am civic service; Eketahuna Community Centre – service 10am, followed by wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial; Pongaroa cenotaph – midday.